Photo courtesy of SANDAG

The San Diego Association of Governments on Monday announced the honorees of its Diamond Awards program that recognizes San Diego County employers that encourage employees to choose sustainable transportation options.

SANDAG presents the Diamond Awards through its iCommute program, which supports and encourages transportation alternatives to using fossil fuels in local jurisdictions around San Diego. Participation in the iCommute Diamond Awards program saw a year-over-year increase of 40 percent from 2017 to 2018 according to SANDAG. The awards are separated into four tiers — platinum, gold, silver and bronze — that are based on a points system that scores multiple factors of an employer’s efforts to get employees to change their transportation habits.

“These employers enhance commuter benefits by adding bike racks, showers, dedicated carpool and vanpool spaces, and subsidies or pre-tax incentives,” SANDAG Chair and Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “We applaud their outstanding efforts to promote alternative transportation choices to their employees.”

The Diamond Awards platinum tier includes UC San Diego, which launched a bikeshare program on its campus, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals for its internal programs that offer subsidies to employees who use public transit and other approved transit options like the ride-booking service Lyft. Gold tier awardees include Naval Base Point Loma, Naval Base San Diego and the Port of San Diego.

“We are honored to be recognized by SANDAG for our efforts to encourage Port employees to take alternative and environmentally friendly modes of transportation,” said Rafael Castellanos, chair of the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners. “Among our many Green Port initiatives, our participation in the iCommute Diamond Awards Program is a no-brainer. Not only does it mean cleaner air for the San Diego region, but it will also help us meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals established in our Climate Action Plan.”

In total, SANDAG recognized 94 employers around San Diego County in its 2018 Diamond Awards program. The program included 67 employers in 2017 and 63 in 2016.

— City News Service