Air pollution and climate change are two of the greatest environmental challenges to public health. Transportation is a major contributor to both. The choices that each of us makes about how to get to work or school impact the quality of the air in Baltimore and the quantity of greenhouse gases released that contribute to global climate change.
Recently, a survey conducted within the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicated that 72 percent of faculty, 61 percent of staff and 44 percent of students drive alone to work/school. These statistics are likely similar in other divisions throughout the university
In accordance with President William R. Brody's call to reduce the university's footprint on the environment, the Environmental Stewardship Committee continues to work with the university and health system to increase environmentally friendly options for transportation to work and school. The committee has used the May 2001 survey results to direct some priorities and activities. Barriers cited that prevented people from using existing alternative transportation systems included lack of convenience and safety of Mass Transit Authority buses and trains and absence of incentives for not driving.
Johns Hopkins already offers some services to help employees and students reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips. For those who use mass transit, the cost of MTA passes can be deducted from pretax income, thereby reducing your total income tax. This requires a special form, which is available from the Benefits Office at 2021 Monument St. in East Baltimore. Also, special benefits are available for those who wish to carpool. Details can be obtained by calling the Parking Office at 410-955-5333.
The shuttle system operated by Johns Hopkins is a great way to ride between the Homewood campus, Pennsylvania Station/Henderson House, Peabody and the East Baltimore campus. There's no charge for the shuttles, but riders are required to show their Hopkins ID card. Schedules can be obtained from the stand just inside the Monument Street entrance on the East Baltimore campus and at the Homewood Security Office.
Information about alternative ways to get to work or school is available on the Greening Initiative Web site at:
Once there, click on "Greening Initiative" and then "Transportation" to find information about how Americans get to work and some links to other useful sites, including Rideshare, an online carpool matching service. Those interested in biking to the East Baltimore campus can join the list serve at email@example.com.
Reducing climate change and improving air quality are two of the most important challenges to public health. Trying to limit the number of miles we all ride solo in our cars is an important step to do our part to make the air healthier to breathe for everyone.