The land of designer homes, cars, pools, and poodles now has designer commutes - for the rapid-transit crowd. Bus routes to the office, customized to individual commuters, were announced here this week by the Rapid Transit District (RTD) here in a program some observers say will be a model for other metropolitan areas. The program was designed primarily to help companies comply with rigid air-quality standards set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Eight thousand businesses with more than 100 employees have been notified they must implement commuting plans that reduce the number of cars used to one for every 1.7 employees.

``To enable commuters and their employers to work together to meet trip-reduction requirements to promote cleaner air, the RTD is ready to work with companies in their offices with a computer software package,'' board president Nick Patsaouras said.

To enlist, companies must pay the RTD $150 for a computer disk containing the workers' home addresses, the company location, and the times of travel to and from work. The RTD then plans routes.

Within 10 days, the company receives schedules, each with an alternate route, estimated trip time, and cost. So far, 20 companies have signed up; the cost is 48 cents per employee. Eight account executives are recruiting more companies.

Mr. Patsaouras displayed a personalized RTD travel plan for a commuter starting each morning from downtown Pasadena and traveling to Sixth and Spring Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The trip takes 35 minutes and saves the commuter $95.60 a month over the cost of driving a car.

L.A. has the nation's most auto commuters (8 million daily), the most clogged freeways (750 miles at last count), and the worst air quality.

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