Celebrating 30 years of excellence and service in northern New Jersey.

President John F. Ciaffone Celebrates 17 Years with TransOptions
This month marks 17 years of leadership and service to TransOptions for President John F. Ciaffone. John became president of TransOptions, formerly Morris County Rides (MCRIDES), in November 1999, following 20 years in New York State and City government. 

Born and raised in New York, John admittedly will always have a soft spot for NY. John has a bachelor's degree from Fordham University, a law degree from Fordham Law School and a Masters of Science in Management from New York University, for which he received a New York City Mayor's Graduate Scholarship.

- What are your fondest memories of working with TransOptions? 
I would say it would be starting Junior Solar Sprints (JSS) and watching it grow so much over the last 15 years. Working with the kids, watching their imaginations run wild as they build their cars and witnessing their joy as they see their creations cross the finish line is always fun. My other fondest memory is meeting the people I've worked with at TransOptions as well as those I have met and worked with  through TransOptions over the years. 

- How has TransOptions changed over the years? 
I think it's changed in two ways. First, there's been a change in technology as far as trip planning and the way information is spread and then the onset of social media. And the other aspect that has changed is the realization that a Transportation Management Association (TMA), can be a really effective communicator and advocate for road safety.

-Has TransOptions' Board of Directors changed as well?
The Board has definitely evolved since I started. It's a smaller group than when I started and everyone is much more engaged and supportive. They have been a valuable resource in guiding the work that we do. I would say it's a much better Board than it was 17 years ago. 

- Throwing in something different! What one word would describe you best?

- What are some of the biggest life lessons you've learned along the way these 17 years?
Community matters. People care. Change is always incremental. 

- That was very to the point!
I said I was focused, didn't I?

- What experiences best prepared you for this position?
My prior experience as a manager in the Parks & Recreation Department of New York City definitely prepared me. This position was community-oriented and was one that both required and improved managerial skills. 

- What do you like most about TransOptions?
I like that a small shop has had such incredible accomplishments. 

- What has been the most challenging part of your job?
I think funding and the ever-changing political environment is the most challenging part when you have an organization that is dependent on resources from various levels of government. 

- What qualities do you hope your future successor will possess?
Along with the obvious, which includes being smart and dedicated, I think the most important qualities include caring for the staff and caring for the mission of TransOptions. 

- Where do you see TransOptions in the coming years?
I see TransOptions as being in the forefront in this industry. My hope is that TransOptions will continue to grow not only in size but also in relevance and importance. 

- What do you look forward to most moving forward?
I hope to be able to build on the successes of past years and find new areas in which TransOptions can make its mark. 

Congratulations John on reaching this incredible milestone in your career!
"Fund a Kit, Fund a Kid" Today!

This year, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, we are inviting you to "Fund a Kit, Fund a Kid"! This effort is a part of TransOptions' celebration of #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. 
Each spring, TransOptions hosts an event for middle school students known as the Junior Solar Sprints (JSS). Students design, build and race model solar cars as part of their STEM education program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The goal is to inspire the scientists of tomorrow to pursue education in these fields, especially girls. We have almost 5000 students participating in some aspect of this program each year. All of the materials are supplied to the students for free so that there is no cost to any student to be a part of this great event.

Your tax-deductible donation of $11 will provide a child with a kit to participate in JSS. Of course, if you're feeling extra heroic and would like to help more than one child, we won't stop you! The larger the donation, the larger the impact! And we have hundreds of students who could use your help.

 “The percentage of STEM jobs across the country is on the rise, yet few students pursue STEM education. Giving Tuesday is an excellent opportunity for the community to help us change that by providing students with access to valuable education aligned with Next Generation Science Standards,” said TransOptions President, John F. Ciaffone.  “It is our hope that participation will inspire the next generation of our country's engineers, scientists and environmental advocates.”

"It was really interesting to try to build a car and overcome problems because we don't usually do projects like this in school," one student participant said of JSS. 

Teachers have called this competition “21st century learning at its finest” and a "highlight" of their academic year. JSS fosters life skills that not only impact their career trajectory but also have a direct effect on the energy-related decisions they will make as adults.

By donating today, you will enable children to participate in JSS and help make their dreams of becoming a scientist or engineer come true!

Will you be their hero? To be a part of their journey, click here!

10 Safety Tips for the Busiest Thanksgiving Rush Since 2007
Hitting the road for turkey day with the family? You won't be alone. Typically, Thanksgiving is already known as the busiest time for holiday travel on U.S. roads but did you know that this year, more travelers will take to the roadways since 2007? According to AAA, an estimated 48.7 million travelers will journey away from home with 9 in every 10 people choosing their cars as the preferred mode of transport. 

That boils down to 48.7 million reasons why we should be extra vigilant on the roadways this holiday weekend. With that in mind, here are 10 ways you can arrive alive and in time for turkey with the family:
  • Heads up, phones down.
  • Always drive sober.
  • Buckle up every time no matter where you're sitting and the car and no matter how short the trip.
  • Give yourself plenty of extra time to reach your destination and expect delays. 
  • Before getting behind the wheel, always get enough shut-eye. 7-9 hours are the recommended amount.
  • Keep an emergency kit stocked and ready in your vehicle.
  • Check your tires, battery and fluids before a long trip.
  • Make sure to schedule in any needed repairs before setting off.
  • Move over a lane for police and emergency crews.
  • Always follow the posted speed limit.

Cellphone-Related Crashes On The Rise--How Are You Protecting Your Employees?
Think hands-free means risk-free? Think again. When having a phone conversation while driving, hands-free or not, we are all cognitively impaired.  Our brains are not wired to do two thinking tasks at once such as driving or holding a conversation.

Cognitive distraction is a real and dangerous threat and has been proven to cause impairment equivalent to that of someone who is at a .08 alcohol level.   Regardless of hands-free, or the ease of connection to your phone in many of the new cars, the dangers are very real.

We have often heard employees say that they are able to hold meetings and check items off of their to-do list while on the road. Whether or not these actions are sanctioned by the company, are you prepared if your employee is in a cell phone-related crash during work hours? 

According to State Police statistics, the number of people killed in fatal crashes increased by 9.6 percent for the first five months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. As of June 1, 217 people have died in traffic crashes in 2016, compared to 198 in 2015.

Last year AAA's Foundation for Safety published the last two studies of a three-phase investigation into mental distractions behind the wheel. They showed that new hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers, even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a sample policy on distracted driving which includes the following rules:
  • Turn cell phones off or set them on "silent" or "vibrate" before starting the car.
  • Pull over to a safe place if a call must be made or received while on the road.
  • Modify the voice mail greeting to indicate that the employee is unavailable to answer calls or return messages while driving.
  • Inform clients, associates and business partners of this policy as an explanation of why calls may not be returned immediately.

To learn more, see OSHA's distracted driving web page for additional safety tips for reducing work-related driving distractions.

TransOptions is here to help.  To learn more about creating a formal cell phone use policy for employees or to book a driving safety lunch and learn, contact Anne Adier-Vivino at

Up-Close with Dot Ciolino, TransOptions Board of Directors Member
Each month, we will be highlighting a member of our Board of Directors and this month we are interviewing Dorothy (Dot) Ciolino.

-Please tell Go Smart! readers a little bit about yourself and what do you do for a living?
I am a retired science teacher.  I taught life science, earth science, chemistry and physics to middle school and high school students.  Currently, I am on the board of directors of not only TransOptions but also the community Cypress Point of Mariner Sands in Stuart, Florida.  I have a therapy dog and together we visit many hospice patients, assisted living residents & abused children. I also fund raise for Little Treasures, which provides hospice care for children from birth to the age of 18.

I enjoy spending time outdoors and love to hike and bike. I also enjoy boating, fishing, golfing and going to the beach. My new-found recreation is croquet!

The three men in my life, my husband Tom and my two sons, Christopher and Danny bring me great pleasure and much pride. Christopher and his wife Melissa have just given us our first grandchild, Gianna Rose and Danny has just become a licensed architect. 

-How did you first become involved with TransOptions?
 I first became involved with TransOptions about 8 years ago when I was teaching middle school science. TransOptions provided my class with kits to build solar vehicles. TransOptions also sent their education coordinator to speak with all of my classes about energy, renewable/nonrenewable resources and transportation options.  My classes utilized the kits TransOptions supplied for many years. Our program grew and soon all of the eighth graders in our district designed, constructed, tested and modified solar vehicles.  The top vehicles competed against other student vehicles from around the county and state. Once I retired, I was happy to become a part of the TransOptions team as a board member.  This is providing me with an opportunity to give back to the organization that gave me so much.  

-What do you enjoy most about being a part of this organization?
There are many things that I enjoy about being a part of TransOptions, but the one thing that I really look forward to is working with the TransOptions staff at their educational events. I love working with students at the Junior Solar Sprints and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenges.  It is always exciting to see what students create and how they test their designs.  I'm always interested in the modifications students make so they can successfully compete against other students' vehicles.

-What do you think makes TransOptions special?
TransOptions is a unique organization.  Not only does TransOptions strive to improve our environment by offering transportation options but they also educate our youth about energy, resources and choices that each person can make to preserve our environment. TransOptions offers programs for children in elementary school through high school, pedestrians, bicyclists, seniors and virtually all members of our communities. The TransOptions staff is dedicated, energetic and focused on improving the quality of life in northwest New Jersey. This combination has produced a very special organization.

-What has been your favorite volunteer experience with this organization?
My favorite volunteer experiences have been the Junior Solar Sprints events and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenges.  I love watching the children test their designs and troubleshoot problems that arise. It is always interesting to see the journals that they produce. Our students are so creative and resourceful!

-What do you wish other people knew about TransOptions?
I wish that other people knew about all of the programs that TransOptions has to offer.  They provide many programs to teachers and their students, to predestrians and bicyclists, and to drivers and seniors. TransOptions has something for everybody!

H2 Is Almost Here! You Can Make a Difference!

Hard to believe TransOptions' Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge (H2) is only a few days away! While we are busy getting taking care of final details, YOU are the most important part we could not do without! We could use at least two more volunteers to help us at this one-day event at New Providence High School on December 7, 2016. 

Volunteers would be needed at the start and finish line as students race the hydrogen-powered model cars they have designed. H2 is one of two hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs offered by TransOptions. The H2 Challenge was first run in 2007, in keeping with TransOptions' commitment to educate students about the existence of alternative fuels. The program is open to high school students only and is a perfect follow-up to the Junior Solar Sprints.

To volunteer for H2 or for more information, please contact Kristen Tomasicchio at or call 973-267-7600.

How You Can Avoid "Parking Lot Peril" 
Holiday season has arrived and with it comes seasonal traffic congestion and what we call "parking lot peril"! Shopping center parking lots become especially perilous for pedestrians during this time of year. And distractions seem to be absorbing the attention of both drivers and pedestrians more and more.
According to the National Safety Council, as many as two-thirds of motorists may be pulling into shopping centers while distracted. If you're driving, always keep the phone away and eyes on the road. Pedestrians can also be taking a risk by checking their phones as they walk between their cars and the shops. 

Are you an alert and aware pedestrian? 

Stay safe this holiday season by reducing your parking lot peril.  We’re urging pedestrians to be alert, predictable and visible by following these tips:
  • Stay off your cell phone and be attentive while walking; don’t multi-task.
  • Walk facing traffic so that you can see approaching cars.
  • Use crosswalks where possible and do not pop out from between parked cars.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing to help you be seen by motorists, especially at night and during inclement weather.  
Stay safe. Be an alert pedestrian. Avoid "Parking Lot Peril".

TransOptions would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! 
Our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 in observance of the holiday.
Information is always available on our website:
Copyright © 2016 TransOptions, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
2 Ridgedale Avenue
Suite 200
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

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