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At first glance, transportation issues may not appear to be pertinent to the day-to-day operations of a lodging facility. However, this could not be further from the truth. Guests, staff, suppliers, vendors and contractors all use some type of transportation to arrive at their destination and during their stay. During these travels, not only are vital natural resources consumed, but numerous air pollutants are released into the air during each mile that is traveled. Many visitors to Florida arrive by automobile or use some form of automobile transportation during their trip, whether it is a day trip to the beach or to drive from one location to another in our beautiful state. On an average day, more than 44,000 automobiles enter Florida just through the I-95 and I-75 corridors.

Air toxics, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are all areas of concern when discussing transportation-related issues. According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation sources accounted for roughly 29 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2006. Further, transportation sources are the fastest growing segment of GHG emissions in the U.S., accounting for 47 percent of the net increase since 1990. CO2 emissions from transportation are the largest component of GHG emissions. Examples of the general type of air toxics that are directly related to transportation include carbon monoxide, various hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These emissions are the byproducts of fuel combustion and evaporation.

Transportation emissions not only hurt the environment but also impact human health. The health effects from transportation emissions can include problems such as increased lung damage, aggravation of existing conditions like asthma and can possibly contribute to a higher risk of developing cancers.

It is important to find ways to reduce the impact of transportation emissions in both our personal and professional lives. The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) highlight some ways to reduce these impacts.

Transportation BMPs

Develop policies outlining the facility’s commitment to reduce transportation-based emissions.
The transportation policy or policies should include current areas of concern, specific action-based goals and a detailed plan of achieving success. Also, the policy should include topics championing ways employees can make a difference at home.

Purchase company vehicles and equipment that are hybrid-electric, run on biodiesel, ethanol (E85) or other non-petroleum based products.
Moving toward a more sustainable transportation fleet will not only reduce the total emissions and related effects, it can also decrease costs.

Encourage guests and staff to walk, bus, car pool and bicycle to and from the hotel.
Promote ways guests and staff can assist in reducing the facility’s transportation footprint by posting bus schedules, providing reduced-rate transit passes and distributing maps of pedestrian and bicycle friendly routes. Carpooling ideas should be discussed and encouraged in staff meetings. Rewards can be given to employees that actively participate in carpooling, i.e. special parking places for carpool vehicles only, public recognition, etc.

Promote use of shuttle services instead of individual taxis cabs for airport travel.
Using shuttle services can lead to reduced pollution, increased guest satisfaction and a lower vehicle count on your property.

Provide bicycles for guest use/rental.
Bicycles can be offered as an extra amenity or can be rented to generate income. Promote the use of bicycles for short trips through town or to nearby locations. The benefits include decreased emissions, increased guest satisfaction and possibly extra revenue generation.

Provide incentives for fuel-efficient transportation options.
Provide preferred parking spaces or free valet services to guests and employees that use hybrid-electric, biodiesel, E85, electric or other energy efficient vehicles. Providing preferred parking services rewards guests and employees for driving fuel-efficient transportation. It also publicizes to others that these individuals and the facility have made a commitment to environmental protection.

Offer guests and employees information about reducing or offsetting their transportation and carbon-based emissions.
Provide guests and employees information on ways to reduce the carbon footprint. Publicize creative ways that other guests and employees have reduced their footprint. Include ideas such as participating in National Arbor Day, carpooling, purchasing green tags or carbon sequestration techniques.

Find innovative ways for the facility to offset any carbon emissions. Work toward becoming climate and carbon neutral.
Demonstrating carbon and climate neutrality is one of the leading ways to show environmental commitment. Neutrality can lead to increased publicity, exposure and marketing opportunities while reducing environmental degradation. To become carbon and climate neutral, a facility must either reduce emissions which have been linked to global climate change or purchase carbon credits and green tags. Carbon credits and green tags can be purchased through a variety of not-for-profit organizations dealing with reforestation and renewable energy issues.

Enact a no-idling policy on facility property. Convey policy to guests, employees, suppliers, vendors and contractors.
Idling transportation equipment not only wastes fuel, contributes to increased air emissions but also raises the ambient temperature around the facility and inside covered areas. Many states have enacted maximum time limits that commercial vehicles are allowed to remain at idle. Post copies of the no-idling policy in heavy traffic areas and loading zones. Provide vendors, suppliers and package delivery operators with written copies.

Industry Information

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Last updated: July 01, 2015

  Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Green Lodging Program, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, M.S. 30, Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-2100 (phone) / 850-245-2159 (fax)  
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