RideFinders, the regional organization that promotes ridesharing, is urging motorists to be mindful of driving habits during the summer when air quality must be closely monitored.
Along with longer summer days come warmer temperatures, more sunlight, more ultraviolet radiation and more stagnant air. This causes ozone pollution, which is formed by chemical reactions, and has the potential to increase risk for allergies, asthma, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
Drivers can minimize those hazards, says RideFinders spokesman SJ Morrison, by decreasing automobile emissions.
“Committing to carpool or vanpool helps make breathing easier and our region’s many vibrant, outdoor summer activities more enjoyable,” said Morrison. “Commuters have many transportation options, such as carpools, vanpools, mass transit, biking and walking. They should think about ways they can help to get more cars off of the roads in order to protect our valuable resources.”
RideFinders works with the Clean Air Partnership in the fight for cleaner air in the St. Louis region. The Clean Air Partnership is best known for its daily air quality forecasting. These forecasts take place over the summer months and utilize a color-coded system designed to keep area residents informed about ozone pollution levels in the region, and how those levels can affect their health.
The Summer of 2016 has the potential to have more poor quality air days than last year since the Environmental Protection Agency recently strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb), down from 75 ppb.
“With the EPA’s stronger ozone standards in effect, our area could experience more orange and red poor air quality days this year,” said Susannah Fuchs, director, Clean Air, for the American Lung Association in Missouri, and spokesperson for the Clean Air Partnership. “The time you spend behind the wheel affects air quality. By making the choice to drive alone less often, and, instead, to use alternate modes of transportation, you are reducing transportation-related emissions, improving our air quality and protecting the region’s overall health.”
RideFinders operates as a free public ridesharing service, organizing and promoting carpools, vanpools and schoolpools, for employers and commuters working in St. Louis City and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties in Missouri; and Jersey, Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois.
The organization is operated by Madison County Transit and is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program with support from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
For more information about RideFinders, go to http://www.ShareTheRideSTL.com/