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5 Tips to Help You Spring Forward Safely

2 Mar

This year daylight saving time begins on March 11 at 2:00 am. While the extra sunlight is welcomed and allows us to get more done and fit more exercise into our days, it also comes with a little inconvenience; we lose an hour of sleep. That might not sound that serious, but experts warn that disrupting sleep patterns comes with a few risks. For example the number of heart attacks increases and the number of traffic accidents is higher the day after the time change.  Don’t worry though; there are some things you can do to avoid getting hurt so that you can simply delight in the fact that more sunlight is on its way!

  1. Try to go bed 15 minutes earlier for  few days leading to the time change – this will give your body a chance to get used to the  change gradually
  2. Be alert on the road – sleep deprivation is common after the time change and it can lead to traffic accidents
  3. Put the phone down – don’t drive, bike, or walk distracted
  4. If you have the option, work from home after the time change – this way you avoid distracted drivers and avoid being a drowsy driver
  5. Exercise with care – if you have chronic heart disease and have been inactive for a while, take it easy, start with a slow 30 minute walk

Daylight saving time is also a great reminder to tune up your bike for spring – check your tires, gears, nuts and bolts, or take it to a shop for a tune up. And a great reminder to check your smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, and get rid of unwanted medicines.

Stay safe and stay tuned!

 

Sources:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/simple-tips-to-help-you-spring-forward-smoothly-daylight-saving-time/
https://www.insurancehotline.com/spring-forward-driver-safety-tips/
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/10/14883576/daylight-saving-time-2017-start-spring-forward
http://www.nsc.org/learn/Pages/safety-events-spring-forward-with-safety.aspx

 

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National Wear Red Day

2 Feb

Today, February 2, is Go Red for Women Day, wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and help save lives. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But heart disease is preventable, and by increasing awareness, we can make a difference.

In addition to knowing your numbers (total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI), being physically active helps prevent heart disease. There are many ways to stay active while going about your day. Here are a few ideas:

Staying active while commuting

Studies have shown that active commuting is positively associated with fitness in both men and women, and walking is seen as the most accessible way to increase physical activity.  Also, research shows that active commuting increases adherence to activity recommendations.  When walking or biking the entire commute isn’t possible try incorporating these activities by walking or biking to transit to help achieve your physical activity goals.

Commuting alone is stressful so try joining a carpool or vanpool to reduce the stress of your commute and meet new people.

Staying active around the house

Cleaning your house, doing dishes, gardening, washing the car, carrying groceries and organizing them in your pantry and other chores can help you keep active.

Kids and families activities to keep active 

Kids need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy.  It is best if they can go outdoors and play, bike, hike, and other activities. Allowing your children to walk to school is an easy way for both you and your kids to be active every day. But there are many fun ways to stay active indoors as well – use a Wii Fit to play tennis, baseball, etc., hula hoop, freeze dance, scavenger hunt, balloon volleyball, and more.

Seniors staying active

Walking is a great way for seniors to keep active, but other activities such as swimming and water aerobics can be beneficial for people who can’t walk.

We hope you can incorporate some of these ideas into your daily routine. If you need help finding new ways to incorporate more activity into your daily commute, let us know, we would be happy to help.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2736383/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16905031/

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/15-ways-to-keep-kids-active-indoors-even-if-you-dont-have-much-space/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ActivitiesforKids/Activities-for-Kids_UCM_304155_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Family-Fitness_UCM_462373_Article.jsp

Hello 2018!

19 Jan

And good bye 2017! Like most years, 2017 was filled with many good things along with some of the not so good things. Under the good things category, we have seen the expansion of the Princeton bike share, increased awareness for driver education to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, complete streets adoption in many towns, and the launch of a comprehensive resource for commuters, the njrideshare.com website, among others. But the increase in traffic deaths in NJ, the need for more bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the poor state of our infrastructure, are some things we would like to see improve.

GMTMA staff hopes for 2018

So, filled with hope and positive outlook, we proceeded to ask the people in our office what would they like to see happen in 2018 and they had a few things to say. Here are some of the things we would hope to see happen in 2018:

  • Fewer cars idling, particularly in cars warming up, people on lunch break  (try not to use your car during your lunch break)
  • more employers promoting vanpooling as a way for their employees to commute to work
  • More women sign up for our Bike to Work Week challenge ( May 19 – May 23, 2018)
  • More children walking and biking to school
  • A NJT bus route from Little Egg Harbor Township, Via Manahawkin, Toms River to Princeton/West Windsor (OK, this one seems like a personal request)
  • A Vision Zero policy for any county or municipality or NJDOT
  • More complete streets projects implemented
  • The last unbuilt section of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail to be completed (won’t be 2018, but maybe by 2020)
  • A Mercer County trails plan
  • Princeton’s (Zagster) Bike Share system expanded into West Windsor and Plainsboro
  • Bike Share in Trenton
  • A Complete Streets policy for Ocean County
  • Fewer aggressive drivers!

We could go on, but we’d like to hear from you!  Let us know what your hopes are for 2018, send us an email or leave a comment on social media.

Happy and Safe New Year!

Gobble, Gobble, this Thanksgiving Don’t Get in Travel Trouble

17 Nov

The AAA report is out and it looks like a record number of people will be travelling this Thanksgiving weekend, 50.9 million to be more exact. With so many people on the roads we wanted to share a few driving safety tips and other helpful information regarding public transit and area airports.

If you plan to drive this Thanksgiving weekend here are some safety tips:

  • Get plenty of rest before you start your trip
  • Make sure that everyone is buckled up
  • Keep your focus on the road, and don’t drive distracted
  • Expect traffic and be patient
  • Make sure your car is ready, tires inflated, windshield wipers work, have a tune-up before you plan to travel
  • Check the weatherroad and traffic conditions
  • Keep a first aid kit in your car
  • Carry an emergency kit in case of inclement weather, flashlight, bottled water, blankets, food, flares, snow shovel, jumper cables, ice scraper

If you are planning to travel by train or bus, these are the Thanksgiving schedules:

Northeast Corridor Rail will be operating on Weekend/Holidays Schedule. Rail Schedule available here.

Mercer County Bus Service

The following buses will operate on a Sunday Schedule: 600, 601, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, and 613.

There will be no service on 611, 612 will operate on weekday schedule, 619 on Saturday schedule, and 624 on Holiday schedule.

NJ Transit bus schedules are available here.

NJ Transit early getaway service information available here.

FreeB Commuter and FreeB Neighborhood will not operate on Thanksgiving Day

Ocean Ride

Will not operate on Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day

Riverline will operate on a Sunday Schedule.

SEPTA

Thanksgiving Day – Thanksgiving Parade

Buses, Trains, and Trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule due to the holiday

Black Friday

City Transit Routes will operate on a Modified Weekday schedule Friday, November 24
Black Friday

SEPTA schedules available here.

PATH

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saturday Schedule

Journal Square-33 Street (via Hoboken) and Newark-World Trade Center lines in service.

Day after Thanksgiving – Friday, November 24, 2017

Modified Weekday Schedule*

All 4 lines operate on a 10-minute schedule during daytime and early evening hours.

PATH schedules available here. 

Amtrak

Special Northeast Thanksgiving schedules available here.

Airport Information

Newark Liberty Airport or on Twitter @NY_NJAirports

Philadelphia International Airport  or on Twitter @PHLAirport

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Source: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/11/nearly-51-million-americans-travel-thanksgiving-highest-volume-dozen-years/

 

Greater Mercer TMA Awards Businesses, Schools and Municipalities for Leadership in Sustainability and Safety and Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh at the Annual Meeting and Luncheon

30 Oct

Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), the Regional Transportation Management Association for Mercer and Ocean counties held its Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, Oct 27, 2017. During the event, GMTMA recognized 23 businesses with the 2017 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and Municipalities and Schools with the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Recognition Award.

Guest speaker at the event was Gary Toth, the director of transportation at the Project for Public Spaces. He has 45 years experience in transportation engineering and planning, 34 of them with the New Jersey Department of Transportation.  Toth talked about placemaking and transportation’s role in supporting people and place in our communities. To learn more about placemaking, go to https://www.pps.org/about/

Also speaking at the event, GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes highlighted GMTMA’s work over the last year.

Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh for his dedicated service and the following Schools and Municipalities for their efforts to implement SRTS programs with the Safe Routes to School Recognition:

Golden Sneaker Award:  Bay Head Elementary, East Windsor Township, Johnson Park Elementary, Riverside Elementary

Silver Sneaker Award: Hopewell Elementary

Bronze Sneaker Award: Maurice Hawk Elementary, Ocean Road Elementary

GMTMA awarded employers who demonstrated leadership by providing and promoting quality commuter benefits to their employees, therefore reducing congestion and improving air quality with the prestigious New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards. “It’s is impressive that so many of our awardees, even those already at the Platinum level continue to add more options for their employees,” said Kastrenakes.

The 2017 awardees are:

Platinum Level: A-1 Limousine Inc., Albridge an affiliate of Pershing LLC, BNY Mellon, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational testing Service, Horizon NJ Health, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, Munich Re America, Inc., Municipality of Princeton NJ Department of Transportation, NRG, Princeton University, SRI International, The College of New Jersey.

Gold Level:  University Medical center of Princeton at Plainsboro, REI Princeton

Silver Level:  Greater Mercer TMA, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Whole Earth Center

Bronze Level: Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals

Exhibitors at the event included Enterprise Rideshare, Zagster Bikeshare, DVRPC, NJTPA, AAA MidAtlantic,  and NJTIP@Rutgers, and Greater Mercer TMA.

Thank you to all the attendees and congratulations to the awardees.

 

 

Start September with 5 Commuting Updates and Useful Information

1 Sep

 

  • NJ Transit restores full service. Phase One of Amtrak’s track renewal project is complete and NJ Transit will restore full service to and from Penn Station New York, starting September 5, 2017.  The alternate travel options, cross-honoring, and discounted fares will no longer be in effect after this date.  Cross-honoring with private bus carriers, NY Waterways, and Path will end on September 2, 3:00 AM.  New rail schedules are expected to take effect on September 5, 2017 and are available at njtransit.com. The freeB Commuter and Bank of America shuttle schedule changes will be available at gmtma.org starting September 2, 2017.
  • Avoid back to school traffic by carpooling. Check out the largest ridesharing network and register for FREE at njrideshare.org. After you register, sign up for the emergency ride home with your local TMA. Mercer and Ocean county residents can go to gmtma.org.
  • How to save about $2,000/year when you commute? Pack your lunch. Here are some lunch recipe ideas to keep your lunch box and your wallet happy.
  • Speaking of saving money, what’s up with the E-Zpass NJ-NY controversy?  Some commuters with E-ZPasses issued by other agencies other than MTA and travelling into NY were surprised to see they were not receiving a discount and were charged cash rates. MTA have a disclaimer on their website ( “E-ZPass rates apply only to customer tags issued by a New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (CSC), including MTA Bridges and Tunnels, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York State Thruway Authority, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Peace Bridge), and New York State Bridge Authority. Non-NY CSC customers will pay cash or Toll by Mail rates. Anyone, regardless of residency, can apply for a New York Customer Service Center-issued E-ZPass tag”) informing customers of this, but as it were the case, many NJ commuters were not aware of this because they purchased their passes with other agencies.  So, it looks like if you are commuting into NY from NJ, having an E-Zpass issued by MTA can save you money.  Transit, carpooling and vanpooling will save you even more.
  • NJ Transit cops are now wearing body cams when on patrol. According to an interview given to nj.com, an NJ Transit official said the cameras “will provide more transparency” and “de-escalate situations, minimize confrontation, and reduce civilian complaint.”

Enjoy the long weekend and be safe!

 

Sources:

http://www.njtransit.com/sf/sf_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=TrainTo

https://www.themuse.com/advice/52-creative-and-easy-lunch-ideas-thatll-make-your-coworkers-jealous

http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2017/08/how_to_save_money_during_the_e-zpass_border_war.html

Time to Nominate an NJ Smart Workplace

4 Aug

Attention NJ Businesses Offering Commuter Benefits to Employees – You May Be Eligible for NJ Smart Workplaces Awards

 Applications are now being accepted for the 2017  New Jersey Smart Workplaces (NJSW) awards. NJSW recognizes and honors employers who help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by providing commuter benefits to employees. Employers of all sizes are eligible to apply. Applying is easy and chances are that employers already provide some of the things that qualify them for this designation. Employers are recognized at one of four levels of achievement: bronze, silver, gold or platinum based upon the programs offered at the worksite.

There are no costs associated with this prestigious designation and all awardees will be featured on our website and recognized at Greater Mercer TMA’s Annual Luncheon in October.

These are some of the things we are looking for:

Bronze Level

  • Establish and maintain a relationship with a local Transportation Management Association (TMA).
  • Designate an on-site point of contact for employee commute inquiries.
  • Place alternative commute information in new-hire packets. (Contact us at tma@gmtma.org to receive alternative commute information)
  • Encourage employees to register for TMA traffic alerts or 511NJ.org or disseminate traffic alerts to your employees.
  • Provide access to a site-specific commuter information display.
  • Regularly promote commute options and TMA incentives through regular memos, postings, e-mail, Intranet or other employee communications.
  • Encourage employees to register their alternate commute with a local TMA.

Silver Level

  • Host or sponsor TMA events/programs such as National Bike to Work Month, National Walk Month, Car Free Week, or Distracted Driving Awareness Week at the worksite.
  • Provide financial or staff assistance for TMA-sponsored community events.
  • Host two or more on-site vanpool/carpool formation meetings.
  • Provide a designated outdoor bicycle parking area or an appropriate indoor area.
  • Provide employees access to basic bike maintenance tools.
  • Provide preferential parking for vanpoolers or carpoolers.
  • Offer a formal flextime program.
  • Offer a formal telecommuting program.
  • Offer a formal compressed workweek policy.
  • Provide pretax payroll deductions for commuting cost for employees (vanpool, transit and/or bicycle commuters).
  • Provide Emergency Ride Home for employees who have exceeded the maximum number of TMA-provided rides.
  • Provide on-site amenities such as food service, dry cleaner, ATM/bank, sundries or showers.
  • Implement a teleconference policy.

Gold Level

Achieve FIVE Bronze Level activities and five Silver Level activities.

Platinum Level

Achieve Gold  level and implement a comprehensive site-specific alternative commute program such as:

  • Telework or compressed work week program that reduces commute trips by 3%.
  • A monthly employer subsidy toward transit passes.
  • A monthly employer subsidy/benefit for employees who carpool or vanpool.
  • Partnering with local gyms, Ys, or other groups to provide off-site showers.
  • Supplement parking by partnering with local organizations to create private park and rides.
  • Provide fleet of bicycles for employee use or rental.
  • Provide an employer-subsidized shuttle.
  • Provide electric vehicles for employee business use.
  • Provide electric vehicles and charging stations for employee use.
  • Contact your TMA for more suggestions.

The program is a partnership of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Association and the state’s Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). Greater Mercer TMA is the program’s coordinator in Mercer and Ocean counties.

Go to www.gmtma.org  to register online. If you are not sure you qualify or you have questions about the program, please contact us at tma@gmtma.org.