Timed to the annual celebration of Earth Day, Panasonic Corporation of North America recently unveiled its new plans to boost public transportation use by its employees at the company’s Newark headquarters and Harrison (NJ) Technical Center, by renewing its employee-commuting subsidy.
The company also revealed its new goal of increasing employee use of mass transit up to 75% of total employee numbers — with the aim being to reduce fossil fuel use amongst its employees (as well as greenhouse gas emissions).
As it stands now, around 57% of Panasonic employees currently working in Newark and Harrison use public transportation to get to work — according to 2014 study by NJ TRANSIT. Which is up from ~53% in 2012 — a pretty big rise for such a short period of time, and one that corresponds to roughly 430 cars being taken off the roads during peak commuting hours (really taken off the roads).
Altogether, this relates to reduced traffic congestion, approximately 144,250 gallons of gas not combusted, and around 1678 tons of green house gas emissions being prevented.
A recent press release provides more:
In 2013, Panasonic moved its headquarters from a corporate campus in Secaucus to Newark one block from Newark Penn Station, one of the nation’s busiest transit hubs with rail, light rail and bus service. To encourage employees to see for themselves the advantages of mass transit, van or carpool, Panasonic announced a 24-month employee subsidy program, covering half the monthly cost of employees’ public transportation costs.
The company has decided to extend the commuting subsidy for an additional year to encourage even greater use of public transit.
In addition to its commute subsidy, Panasonic offers bicycle parking and changing rooms. In 2014, Panasonic’s headquarters became the first newly built office tower in Newark to earn both Platinum and Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. Its 48,500-square-foot Harrison Tech Center earned LEED Silver Certification in 2014–Harrison’s first.
“Panasonic puts a high priority on achieving a sustainable future and we’re delighted our employees are increasingly choosing to use eco-responsible public transit which is so readily accessible to us in Newark,” stated Panasonic Corporation of North America Chairman and CEO Joseph M Taylor. “NJ TRANSIT tells us we already have the highest employee use of public transit among large companies in the city of Newark and Essex County. Now we are aiming to be able to make that claim for the entire state of New Jersey.”
Mass transit use around the country has been rising in recent years, so these moves by Panasonic are clearly part of a broader trend. Good to see regardless, though, and it seems that Panasonic is genuinely a leader in this realm.
From my view on the ground, I’d say it’s a mixture of cultural/generational changes that are moving us in this direction, and simply the reality that mass transit is generally much cheaper (something that matters to many considering the ongoing economic problems here). I’m expecting this trend to continue for some time.
Image Credit: Panasonic
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