Council passes initiative encouraging telecommute efforts


by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 6 at 11:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Go ahead and mark your calendar on February 8, 2013. That's the day Austin City Council has recognized as an experiment of sorts. All you have to do is stay busy and just stay at home.

It stems from the question Austin traffic prompts too many times.

"Why does everybody have to go home at five o'clock," said Austin driver Mike Harrell.

Coming or going, it's a battle Gabby Huerta summed up as,"Awful! Especially here on I-35."

With roughly 130 people moving to Austin every day, cutting that commute down or avoiding it altogether has never looked better.

Now Austin workers have their shot. Come February 8th, Austin City Council is encouraging everyone to trade traffic for the telecommute. The idea came from Social Good Summit Austin, a group of tech leaders dedicated to the environment.

Glenn Gadbois with Movability Austin said the day focusing on improving the air we breathe brings lots of other perks.

"It's air quality, it's quality of life, it's health," Gadbois said. "The more time you sit in a car the less time you have to exercise, be with family, all that sort of stuff."

Gadbois said if just ten percent of downtown workers put in a day or two at home, the freed up space could make attracting customers much easier.

Austin already ranks tenth in the nation for telecommuters. The main purpose behind all of this remains reducing air pollution. On February 8th, members of Social Good Summit Austin measurements will be taken on the drop in carbon emissions and miles saved on fuel.