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Commutes to work probably look a little bit different these days. The hustle and bustle of morning traffic probably more appropriately describes who is able to reach the kitchen coffee pot first. Remote workers have taken to bike "commutes" around their neighborhood before returning home to work. And, as for getting kids ready for school and out the door while more and more school districts are opting for virtual learning, much uncertainty remains.
It should be no surprise, then, that across the U.S., transportation patterns look different. For much of the spring and early summer, vehicle miles traveled were way below the norm. Transit agencies continue to report lower than average ridership, even as they return to more regular schedules. People are out riding bikes and taking walks not only to get to places but to get physical activity, improve mental wellbeing and spend much needed time out of the house or with loved ones. And they are doing so on streets that have been repurposed to do just that safely.
Transportation safety efforts look different now, too. While NSC and the Road to Zero Coalition remain committed to their mission of achieving zero roadway deaths by 2050, getting people safely to where they need to go is a much broader conversation. It’s especially urgent as we continue to see high crash and fatality rates across the U.S.
That’s why the transportation subgroup of SAFER, a multifaceted, comprehensive effort aimed at helping employers prioritize safety, has been working on tools and resources to help employers and employees address commuting and traveling safely in the time of COVID-19. These are aimed to provide guidance and recommendations, offer ways to communicate with employees and help make the transition to a traditional workspace safe and comfortable for all when the time is right. Visit the SAFER website to download our transportation playbook that has recommendations for safety to, from and at the workplace, or to share checklists on safe commuting and travel with employees.
In addition to these resources, we encourage you to check out other information and guidance that might be of interest to you, your employees and their families. The Centers for Disease Control has regularly updated guidance on topics related to COVID-19 and transportation, including specific recommendations for taking public transit. For those with children, the Safe Routes Partnership has put together a terrific resource that covers safe routes for three types of schooling: remote programming, in-person programming and hybrid programming.
Whether your commute these days is to a room in your home or workplace across town, make sure that you are taking steps to be safe. Transportation safety is not only a commitment to being safe on our roads and during our commutes, but a commitment to doing our part to combat COVID-19. Let’s get there safely, together.
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