RideWise, an affiliate of the Somerset County Business Partnership and Somerset County's transportation management association, has announced that nominations are being sought for participation in the New Jersey Smart Workplaces program.

The New Jersey Smart Workplaces program honors organizations and individuals who help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. The program was developed in 2006 by the New Jersey Department of Transportation working in conjunction with New Jersey's Transportation Management Associations.

Smart Workplaces recognizes the achievement of New Jersey employers who have developed and implemented significant and innovative alternative commute programs that attain the State Standard of Excellence. The program honors employers that provide commuter benefits to help employees address limited or expensive parking, reduce traffic congestion, improve employee recruiting and retention, and minimize the environmental impacts associated with drive-alone commuting.

Designation provides the employer the opportunity to position itself as a leader in employee benefit and environment leadership while enhancing the public's perception as a quality workplace. The public good is served by reducing commuting costs, providing alternatives to driving to work alone, and reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

Among the requirements for nomination are hosting on-site commuter events or van and carpool information meetings; designation of a point of contact at the workplace; distribution of commuting information; dissemination of traffic information. The requirements may be met with the assistance of RideWise staff.

RideWise staff is accepting applications for entry into the program until Friday, March 12, 2010. Forms are available by contacting Linda Rapacki, Employer Relations Manager at RideWise, 908-704-1011 or by email at linda@ridewise.org

Previous Somerset County recipients are sanofi-aventis, Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson ITS, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Philips, Qualcomm, Somerset Medical Center, Verizon, ImClone, National Starch,, Akzo Nobel, Montgomery Township, and the Spaulding Group. The next NJ Department of Transportation recognition event will be held in May of 2010.

"It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts," stated Melissa Feltmann of sanofi-aventis. "But it is through these efforts, with the valuable assistance of the staff at RideWise, that we have enhanced the quality of life for our employees and our Somerset County neighbors."