Northbound Trolley at Iris Avenue
A northbound trolley at the Iris Avenue Transit Center in Otay Mesa. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Some of San Diego’s top companies have been honored for their efforts to encourage employees to carpool, take transit or otherwise reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.

The awards, from the San Diego Association of Governments, come in advance of Monday’s kickoff of Rideshare Week, and Clean Air Day, on Wednesday.

Nearly 150 companies and public agencies received iCommute Diamond Awards for their work on programs that benefit employees who choose alternatives to driving to work alone.

Top tier honors went to Illumina, San Diego State University, Sempra Energy, the San Diego Convention Center, Sharp Healthcare and UC San Diego.

Others honorees include AleSmith Brewing, BAE Systems, Irvine Company, Legoland California, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, San Diego Gas & Electric and Scripps Health.

“Choosing an alternative to driving alone just once a week can make a big difference in reducing traffic and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. ”I encourage everyone to join the many commuters who will take transit, carpool, or vanpool next week and all year long to create a more sustainable future for the San Diego region, a key goal of the draft 2021 Regional Plan.”

SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan seeks to address traffic congestion and meet state mandates for greenhouse gas emission and a reduction in vehicle miles traveled.

Employee options include carpools, vanpools, biking, walking, transit, telework, and compressed workweeks. Some organizations also provided incentives, subsidies, or pre-tax deductions to encourage employee participation.

Companies can join in during Rideshare Week and earn points while receiving tools to help move their employees leave their cars at home. Commuters, meanwhile, may enter contests by submitting photos of their carpool or other Rideshare Week experience on social media.

Prizes include a weekend Tesla rental and a weekend stay at an eco-friendly local hotel.