48-98 Proposal

Benefits: Commuting

Cut Commuting in Half—Simply put, the 48-96 schedule cuts all commuting in half. Half the number of days and hours spent on the road, half the mileage put on the personal vehicle each year, half the cost of gasoline, half the wear-and-tear, and half of the expenses incurred for tires, brakes, oil and other such items. Auto insurance rates may also be reduced, as most companies base rates, in part, on formulas factoring in miles traveled to work.

Environmental impact—Using the departmental “alpha roster,” the committee estimated the commuting distance from home to work for each member. Currently, the average commute distance for an L.A. County firefighter is about 68 miles.(6) When the commute distances for all members are added up, it totals 826,000 miles per month, or almost 19.8 million miles of driving per year. This is the equivalent of driving to the moon and back over 41 times!

But if the number of days spent commuting were cut in half, it would save 9.9 million miles of driving on Southland freeways. What would this mean to the local environment? According one source at the South Coast AQMD, the amount of air pollution we produce per year under our current schedule is 9,384 tons of carbon dioxide, 119.4 tons of carbon monoxide, 12.2 tons of oxides of nitrogen, 10.3 tons of reactive organic gases, and 4.77 tons of small particulate matter.  And, as the AQMD representative remarked, “That’s a hell of a lot of air pollution.” These amounts will be reduced by 50% since the number of days spent commuting will be cut in half. Such a program may even qualify for funding set aside to help reduce emissions. For more information, see AB2766 Subvention Fund Program.

Clearly, the 48-96 schedule would have a measurable positive impact on our local environment.

(6) These are estimates only and were made by determining each employee’s home and work site zip codes, then using Mapquest.com to calculate distances between the two zones. Also note that, in an effort to more closely reflect the typical commute and avoid skewing data upward, commutes of 230 miles or more were not factored in. The actual mathematical average would be higher.