Love your Commute

Commuting can be one of those items that fall way down on the list of things you love to do.  And you are not alone.  The average travel time for working New Jerseyans is 31.2 minutes, which is almost seven minutes longer than the average US commute.  So what can we do to make your commute better?

Commute Smarter.  Sounds silly, right?   Before you click away, let us explain.

Our staff can help you find a commute that not only maximizes your time spent commuting but also do so in a way that is sustainable for both your wallet and the environment.  We manage a host of databases that can match you with a carpool or vanpool partner.  We can connect you with transit-friendly solutions and provide you with tools that make biking to work an option if that is something you think you would like.  We even have a free NJ Traffic app you can download and customize to your commute! And if all options are not available for you, we can recommend the best podcasts or apps to accompany you on your commute.

Don’t spend one more moment dreading your commute.  Let us help you love your commute.   Reach out to us.

We’d be happy to help!

Snow is the Forecast…

Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. Winter storms or other severe weather conditions can cause serious damage. This winter season it is important to think about winter weather approaching and most importantly to be prepared for it. Here are some tips to help you get through the cold this winter:

 

 

 

 

Prepare Yourself

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully and cautiously on snowy, icy walkways.
  • Stay dry. Wear winter essentials like a hat, gloves, scarf, and jacket as a way of protection against the cold.
  • Check your homes heating system. Make sure that it is properly working.
  • Be aware of the current weather forecast. Know of any changes with the weather that could possibly make it worse.

Prepare your Car

  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, do not travel alone.
  • Clear snow off from the top of the car, headlights, and windows.
  • Top off antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas, and oil before you begin your journey.
  • Make sure your tires have enough tread.
  • Keep bagged salt in the trunk to melt ice or for emergency purposes.

The winter season can sometimes be a scary one. This is why it is important to be prepared for any type of weather condition winter may bring. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Holiday Driving Safety Tips

Tis the season…Christmas and New Years is a time where many people gather to enjoy the holiday season with their loved ones and friends. Gatherings and celebrations are filled with grand meals complete with turkey and all the fixings, ugly sweater parties, mistletoe, and eggnog.

Unfortunately, this time of year can also be one of the deadliest due to impaired driving. One of the deadliest and most often committed crimes is drunk driving. It is a serious safety epidemic in our country and across the world. During the holiday season, the number of drunk drivers on the road grows rapidly and more fatalities occur during this time.  Let’s change that this year.

Here are 5 tips to share with young drivers, family members, and friends before going out to celebrate the holidays:

  1. Be responsible. If you know that someone is drinking, do not let that person get into a car and drive away.
  2. Have a designated driver. A good way to figure this out is to decide who’s going to be doing the driving before you go out. Also, make sure that person doesn’t drink any alcoholic beverages.
  3. Call a taxi or Uber as a backup. Sometimes you cannot rely on all designated drivers.
  4. Take the keys. You shouldn’t be afraid to take someone’s car keys if you know that they have been drinking and that you are going to save their life.
  5. If you know that you have had too much to drink, stay put, and sober up.

Do your part this holiday season by staying aware, staying sober, and staying safe.  Happy and Safe Holidays to you and yours!

Tis the Season… Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping

Now that the holiday season is in full swing,  many of us will be checking our lists and heading out to the malls and town centers for holiday shopping. To help you shop safely, we’ve put together some Holiday Shopping tips.

  1. Before heading out to the big sales, map out the stores you plan to visit by trip chaining.  This not only saves on fuel, but it is also a most effective use of time.
  2. Something a lot of people forget when shopping is their own health. Have plenty of water and snacks with you in case your shopping takes longer than expected. Bring hand warmers for long outdoor lines.
  3. Parking lots are where most of the danger occurs during the holiday season. Don’t park between large vehicles. This might obscure your vision when you pull out and shoppers may not see you. Wear reflective clothing to make you visible in busy parking lots.
  4. Leave your car at home and take mass transitNJ TRANSIT serves many of the malls in Middlesex County and provides frequent stops.  Leave the driving to them and enjoy your shopping.

Wishing all of our friends a safe and joyous holiday season.

Car Seat Inspection Week

Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children during a car crash, yet these crashes are a leading cause of death for children all over the world. This is mainly due to the improper placement of car seats and the use of the wrong size. Many parents and guardians have a lack of understanding of what car seat is right for their child.

Follow these important safety steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly, and keep your child safe at all times.

  1. Rear-Facing Car Seat: These are designed for newborns, babies, and young infants. They have a harness and, in a crash, cradles, and moves with your child to reduce the stress on their body.
  2. Forward-Facing Car Seat: Come with a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash. As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster.
  3. Booster Seat: Boosts the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly and provides neck and head support. This is ideal for vehicles that don’t have headrests or high seat backs.
  4. All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and to a booster seat as your child grows. Since it is used with children of various sizes, it allows children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  5. Seat Belt: Once your child outgrows car seats altogether, seat belts become their protector. The seat belt should lie across the upper thighs, be snug across the shoulder and chest of your child. This way it will properly restrain your child safe during a crash.

Remember, it is the driver’s responsibility to take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers in their car- especially when it comes to children. This week, you will have the opportunity to examine your child’s car seat during National Car Seat Inspection Week. It is very important to choose and use the right car seat for your child because after all, they cannot make the decision for themselves.

Subway System – 25 Years in the Making

Recently, I visited my Mother in Isfahan, Iran.  Isfahan, my hometown, is a metropolitan city in the center of Iran with a regional population of 3.5 million.

The day before I was scheduled to return to the US, I decided to walk downtown and observe the changes that had occurred since I immigrated to the West 22 years ago.  I really wanted to check out the city’s subway system.

From 1982-1992, I was the Deputy Director of the State Transportation Department and Chairman of the Board of Isfahan Traffic Organization.  I was part of the team that worked on the feasibility study for the subway system.

It started with a group of volunteer professionals, including myself, willing to devote our personal time to the dream of a modern transportation system in our town.  We compiled data which documented the urgent need for a subway to supplement the existing but inadequate public transit system, the limited capacity of city streets, and increasing traffic congestion.  With enthusiastic community support, we believed it could happen.  In fact, the National Traffic Council and the Congress supported the project and allocated funding for its construction.

But then, the geopolitical landscape changed.  There was no money to move forward.

I had heard that the subway had finally been completed and opened in October 2015.  The subway system stretches along 7.5 miles of track with 10 stations.  Currently, there is a plan to add about 25 miles and 3 more lines.  Now, I was ready to see it for myself.

The train was on time, and the ride was so quiet and comfortable. The stations look clean and pleasant with beautiful designs of cultural artworks, escalators running to and from the street, good signage and guide maps, and other amenities for riders.  With a feeling of great accomplishment and a little pride, I bought a ticket and took a ride on the subway I never thought would be constructed.

As I rode, I thought of my colleagues, our work, our vision, and our determination all those years ago.  And, I remembered an old saying “Every Accomplishment Starts with the Decision to Try.”

 

Written by Morteza Ansari, KMM Transportation Planner

Sharing the Road ~Together

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – We all use the roads and we’d each prefer to do so without the other in the way.

Sometimes our own actions or the actions of others around us can put us in danger, especially when it comes to sharing the road. Although it is often unintentional, forgetting basic road etiquette can cause yourself or another harm and injury. Here are some safety tips that every motorist should know about sharing the roads:

  1. Drivers look for pedestrians when making turns, right? So why not take a couple extra seconds to look for a cyclist? The cyclist has the right of way if they are going straight and the driver is turning right.
  2. Pedestrians have responsibilities too. They should always avoid walking distracted.  Keep earbud volume low enough to hear oncoming traffic and do not text and walk.
  3. If you are a driver approaching pedestrians and/or cyclists, wait to pass them until you have a clear view ahead and are sure there’s no oncoming traffic. A little bit of patience could save your life.
  4. Signal your turns and do it in plenty of time. Using turn signals is not only a law for drivers but for cyclists as well. By using hand signals to determine which way you are turning, this can alert drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians when they see you coming.

When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, riding a bike or motorcycle, driving safely should always be your top concern. It’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.  This will ensure that everyone can travel and stay safe together.

Stop! Before you go!

Doesn’t it seem that everyone on the road is in a rush to get somewhere?  Some are in such a hurry that they even disobey stop sign laws!

Recently, we have been noticing (and commuters have shared with us) that drivers are not completing full stops when approaching stop signs.  Many drivers tend to approach a stop sign, slow down, and then round off the turn without completely stopping. This is illegal and extremely dangerous!   Stop signs are put in place for everyone’s safety. Not only for the safety of the driver but for the safety of pedestrians, cyclist, and all others as well. Driving or rolling through a stop sign endangers everyone at the intersection.

Need to brush-up on stop sign laws?  Here is what you need to know:

  1. Come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The law specifies drivers need to stop “within five feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street.”
  2. Yield to the person on the right if you both arrive at the intersection at the same time.

It is everyone’s duty at the stop sign to follow the laws set in place.  Reaching your destination, despite how late you are, is not worth an accident.  Come to a complete stop at a stop sign.  For your safety and the safety of others!

Happy National Selfie Day!

June 21st is National Selfie Day! It’s a cinch to participate in this holiday. Just pose, snap, and post.

But most importantly, take that selfie safely.  Here’s how:

If you take a trip to the beach, getting the waves crashing behind you is a great way to show how you are spending your summer day.   Be sure to scan the area for any riptides and heed any lifeguard warnings.  Hold on tight to your phone too.  That wave crashing behind you can be far stronger than you think!

If you are going for a bike ride, the possibilities are endless of what you can share – action shots, landscapes, and your very cool bike gear.  While all these shots can be epic, it’s smarter to pull over and snap that picture than to take the picture while biking.

Spending the day walking with co-workers for lunch or dinner alfresco with friends? There is plenty to capture and share too.  Just remember to not snap and post that perfect selfie while walking.

Most importantly be aware of your surroundings.  That big smile you’ll post on social media for all to see should be fun and worry-free.   So snap that pic, and Get your Selfie on!

Summer Pet Safety

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you just spent part of your day tossing tennis balls to your furry friend at the park. Heading home, you realize you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket; it should only take about five minutes. Sure, the sun is shining and it is about 80 degrees, but it will only be a few minutes, so there is no harm in leaving your friend in the car, right?

WRONG. You never leave your pet in a car on a warm day.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion as a result of being left in parked cars on warm days.  On a 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can climb to 110 degrees in only minutes. In 20 minutes on a 90-degree day, the same car can get up to 130 degrees inside which is unsafe for humans and animals. You may think cracking the windows will help your pet, but the truth is that opened windows make very little difference to the inside temperature of your car.

Heatstroke is the main danger for pets in hot cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. If they are stuck in a hot car, the cool air they receive is little to none and makes cooling down much harder.

Like most busy pet parents, you may be pressed for time and think that surely it’s okay to leave your pet for just a few minutes. The excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” do not amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a car.

If you love your furry friend as much as they love you, rethink leaving them in the car the next time you are out on a warm, sunny day.