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IBM Westchester Region, New York, recognized as commuter and clean air champion

Awards recognize employee commuting initiatives at IBM's Westchester, NY, sites

31 Aug 2008 -- IBM's Westchester sites (Corporate Headquarters in Armonk, NY, North Castle, NY, and Somers, NY) were recently recognized for their employees' participation in ridesharing and comprehensive alternate employee commute programs.

MetroPool's Earth Day Race to the Finish Challenge

IBM's Westchester Region received three awards for its participation in MetroPool's Earth Day 'Race to the Finish' Challenge, a year-long competition for companies and organizations in the greater New York/Connecticut metro region to increase their employee participation in ridesharing using NuRide, an online ridesharing community, which also tracked their performance. MetroPool provides free commuter services to employers and commuters with the support of the Connecticut and New York Departments of Transportation.

In all, more than 10,000 commuters participated in the event and shared 138,800 rides resulting in approximately five million fewer miles driven and the prevention of 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Awards were presented to participants in four categories including total number of ridesharing trips, participation rate, total enrollments and number of new enrollments. IBM was recognized with an award in three of the four categories. The company had a first place finish in new enrollments, with 30 alone between March and April of this year. The company also received second place awards for total number of ridesharing trips with its 2,179 NuRide trips during the month of April, and for total enrollments, with 60 new employees enrolling in NuRide during the past year.

In partnership with MetroPool, IBM began deploying NuRide, an Internet-based ridesharing system, at its Westchester sites in 2006. The company currently has 135 employees enrolled on NuRide. In addition, 50 employees at IBM's Somers, New York, site are ridesharing as a result of a company sponsored ridesharing initiative that predates the deployment of the NuRide system.

IBM also was recognized as a Clean Air NY Champion, along with seven other organizations. Sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation, Clean Air NY is committed to working towards improved air quality for all New Yorkers. Upon joining Clean Air NY, employers can elect to participate as a Clean Air NY Champion, which requires a higher level of commitment. Champions are employers who go beyond disseminating information to their employees about how they can help improve air quality by proactively spreading the Clean Air NY message both internally and externally, as well as driving and supporting initiatives that encourage employees to integrate alternate commute options into their everyday life.

IBM was one of the first companies to adopt telecommuting as an option for employees and its robust commuter choice program balances the needs of the business with the work-life needs of employees, while limiting impact on the environment. Work locations provide services to employees (e.g., cafeterias, ATMs, sundry shops, etc.) that enable them to remain on site, thereby eliminating unnecessary single-occupant vehicle trips during the business day. Carpooling, vanpooling, intra-location shuttle service and telecommuting are key components of IBM's comprehensive commuter choice program.

Regional Commuter Choice Award

IBM Westchester Region, along with eight other Westchester employers, received a 2008 Regional Commuter Choice Award. The company was recognized with an Outstanding Achievement Award for its comprehensive alternate employee commute programs . The Regional Commuter Choice Awards are coordinated annually by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council through the Metropolitan Mobility Network. The awards recognizes employers that provide commuter benefit programs that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality and are given to employers in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties and also New York City.

IBM pioneered programs to reduce employee commuting and has sustained them for nearly two decades.Two key contributors to this effort are IBM's work-at-home program, which allows employees' "work" office to be in their homes, and IBM's mobile employees program, which enables employees to work from home a designated number of days each week. These important aspects of IBM's work/life balance programs help its employees better balance their personal and work responsibilities. They also benefit the environment.

In the U.S. alone, IBM's work-at-home program conserved approximately 7.75 million gallons of fuel and avoided more than 64,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2007. More than 2,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions were avoided in the same year by employees using other commute-choice programs such as carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, and walking, etc.

Globally, many IBM locations provide support for the use of public transit systems, including shuttles from locations to mass transit stations, and alternate transportation or "loaner" cars for business trips during the work day. Where IBM provides leased vehicles for employees, the company continues its effort to move to more fuel-efficient vehicles.