Did you know...
Since the start of Whatcom Smart Trips on July 1, 2006:
109 tons of hydrocarbons
993 tons of carbon monoxide
0.4 tons of particulate matter
29,553 tons of carbon dioxide
have been prevented from entering the atmosphere as a result of people walking, bicycling, sharing a ride or riding the bus instead of driving alone to or from a destination in Whatcom County.
You can help!
Use a self-propelled option
If you live within a mile or so of your destination, consider walking as an alternative to driving. Although not as quick, it is still a cheap and healthy option that will get you where you need to go in about 15 minutes. With 259 miles of sidewalk in Bellingham alone, there's enough room for everyone to take a walk rather than drive.
Riding a bike is one of the most efficient methods of transportation. Using the many trails and paths throughout the area can be an easy and sometimes more direct way to get to your chosen destination.
Ride the bus or van pool
Riding the bus takes all the worry out of your commute - no gas to buy, you don't have to wash the bus, and you will never have to change the oil. Letting someone else drive you to work gives you extra time to sleep, read, or just to get your mind ready for the day ahead. It's also an inexpensive trip around town. Mass transit methods help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and therefore the quantity of pollutants in the environment.
Another option provided locally by Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) is vanpooling. With 5 or more riders and a couple of drivers, you can start a vanpool. This option reduces the numbers of cars on the road and reduces the wear and maintenance for your own vehicle. Check out the WTA website for routes, schedules, and commuter options.
Single passenger driving, in addition to being inefficient, is also the most costly method of transportation. Joining a carpool group for your commuting needs reduces the number of cars on the road and for those with some scheduling flexibility is a great option for travel to and from work or school. Visit www.rideshareonline.com to find a carpooling partner.
Telecommute or adopt a flex-schedule
Telecommuting is becoming a popular option in many workplaces. Spending one or two days a week or month working from home works well for those with jobs that do not require constant public contact. Check with your employer to see if this is available for you.
Another option is flex-scheduling. With everyone working from eight to five, this adds more and more vehicles to the road all at the same time. Add to that all the children heading off to school at the same time and the roads in our areas are never empty for two hours each morning and each afternoon. Does the possibility exist for you to work four ten-hour days or to go to work later in the day? Any of these scheduling changes will reduce the amount of traffic on the road at peak times and therefore reduce time spent with an engine idling. This can result in a reduction of pollutants in the air and water.
Be a smart commuter
In 1991 Washington State developed a Commute Trip Reduction Plan. This plan is required for all businesses with greater than 100 employees and encourages alternative means of getting to work in an effort to clean up our air and water as well as reduce the number of people on the roads. Commuters utilizing alternative options can qualify for discounts and benefits at area businesses for participating in the program.
Here in Whatcom County, if you use an alternative means of commuting just once per week, you qualify as a "Smart Commuter". To enroll in the program and to receive your discount card or more information visit Whatcom Council of Governments.
If use of alternative transportation just will not work for you, try to consolidate the driving you do and reduce the number of repeat trips throughout your day. For example, rather than making a separate trip to town for groceries, pick up your groceries on the way home from work, school, or when running other errands.