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Commute Champions: UCSD, Scripps Rated Top Employers by SANDAG

Rideshare Challenge in 2012 included a record 48 companies, with 87,000 employees.

UC San Diego and the Scripps Research Institute of La Jolla were among a half-dozen area companies honored Tuesday by the San Diego Association of Governments for encouraging employees to use alternative forms of transportation for their commutes.

Other winners of the third annual Rideshare 2012 Corporate Challenge were MaXentric Technologies LLC, which makes products for wireless devices; the local office of Parsons Brinckerhoff, a planning and engineering firm; RECON Environmental, an environmental services company; and the Port of San Diego.

Companies were categorized by number of employees—with UCSD being the biggest at 5,000-plus employees and La Jolla-based MaXentric the smallest (fewer than 25 employees).

The challenge this year included a record 48 companies, encompassing 87,000 employees. About 2,700 workers logged 42,000 trips on bicycles, car-pooled, walked or took public transportation in October, according to SANDAG.

“We applaud the winners for rising to the challenge,” said SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos. “They are not just helping to reduce traffic congestion; they also are supporting a healthy lifestyle. Walking or biking to work or to transit is a great way to get exercise.”

Each winning company receives a commemorative plaque and recognition in an advertisement in a regional newspaper and the iCommute website.

In October, SANDAG also sponsored a Commuter Challenge aimed at the public, inspiring 2,700 people to take an online pledge to try a sustainable commute. These participants tracked their alternative trips online and were able to monitor their environmental and monetary savings.

By logging their trips, they were automatically entered into weekly prize drawings. Overall, iCommute partners gave out nearly 300 prizes, including bikes from Electra Bicycle Company.

The Rideshare 2012 Corporate and Commuter Challenges helped achieve significant environmental benefits, SANDAG said.

A total of 300,000 alternative trips were logged. That translated into 11.7 million vehicle miles not traveled; 508,290 gallons of gasoline saved; 10.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions avoided; and $2.2 million in fuel and vehicle maintenance costs saved, SANDAG said.

Partners of Rideshare 2012 included Suki Day Spa, SuperShuttle, U-T San Diego, Enlace, San Diego Business Journal, Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, Caltrans, Electra Bicycle Co. and vRide.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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