Reaping the rewards of green transportation

For many systems, an unexpected benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic was greater adoption of remote work, hybrid work and telehealth, all of which cut down on carbon emissions from cars.

Providence is seeing this impact play out first-hand. Of Providence’s 120,000 caregivers, 13,000 in administrative roles are working fully remote or in a hybrid model, according to its 2021 sustainability report. The system also has commuter subsidy programs, which offer discounts to those who carpool or ride their bikes to work. A 70% decrease in business travel in 2021, compared to 2019 levels, saved the system $10 million.

Furthermore, the 2.9 million telehealth visits Providence conducted in both 2020 and 2021 avoided an estimated 58 million in miles driven and reduced 23,442 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“Increased telehealth utilization has been huge, and we want to ensure that through the policy structures currently in place, we maintain the ability to keep that increased access to telehealth,” Santore said.

Looking ahead, Providence has a goal for 50% of new fleet vehicles to be hybrid or electric by 2025, and to keep business travel down by 50% compared to 2019 levels.

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