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LiveSmart BC - Blog
September 23, 2011
Make it a Green Autumn on the Road
The September sun sets a little sooner each night signalling the end of summer. And as the school year schedule sinks in, and the seasons change in British Columbia, so too do our transportation needs.
Vacations may be over, but kids need to be picked up and dropped off, students begin commuting to-and-from classes or travelling home on weekends/holidays, and the labour force needs to get to work in order to pay for it all... luckily there are ways to save time, money, and live smarter on the road.
The obvious first choice would be to walk. Maybe not everywhere everyday; but there are probably plenty of walkable pieces if you pace yourself: e.g. walk (your kids) to school. There's another way to exercise and stay healthy while getting where you need to go. Cycling to work or school is a great way to kick-start your metabolism in the morning, as you scoot your bike down B.C.’s many dedicated paths and corridors, flying past traffic.
These human-powered methods above are great on their own, but can also be combined with other low-carbon means, e.g. walking/cycling to transit (and from transit to the destination).
Transit options increase this time of year. BC Transit and Translink introduce new routes and UPASS programs. Less time behind the wheel in congested traffic means more time to read a book, check your email or finish your homework.
Transit not an option? You may not be alone: carpooling or “ride-sharing” is becoming more popular, and allows you to take advantage of HOV lanes and split the costs of driving. This is not to be confused with “Car-Sharing” – another possibility.
Of course, this doesn’t just save you time and money – it also helps B.C. reduce greenhouse gas emissions (transportation represents one-third of GHGs!). Plus, less cars on the road also means less traffic jams and idling for the remaining cars, which further reduces carbon footprints, costs, commute times, etc.
For those who must drive, choose your vehicle strategically. Is that gas-guzzling truck or SUV really necessary just for driving to and from the office? Consider the savings of alternative fuel vehicles if you are in the market for a “new ride”. More and more hybrids and electric models are making their way to the showroom floors, especially here in B.C. markets.
Join the movement.
Across the province, government employees are taking part in their annual “Target Green Streets” commuter challenge. Led by their ministry/office Green Teams, public servants are demonstrating climate action leadership by choosing greener commuting options to get to work and setting an example in the same spirit as Carbon Neutral Government: shifting behaviours towards lower-carbon alternatives and supporting efficient and sustainable development. Last year’s campaign measured more than 4 tonnes CO2e in reduced GHGs and saved employees approximately $2,600 in fuel costs.
...In Kamloops, take part in the Great Green Transportation Tune-Up: a week of fun events that provide Kamloops residents with a range of ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by promoting vehicle efficiency, removing barriers to transit use and providing fun ways for citizens to “test-drive” alternate modes. Also attend a free seminar with two speakers on Wednesday 28 September at TRU: “The Future of Transportation: How Will We Get Around?”
Additionally, in Kelowna, there is movement afoot for a Pilot Project called ComPASS, whereby a whole community pays a nominal fee each for community services such as UPASS-style transit. Spearheaded at UBC Okanagan, the organisers got their inspiration from a similar program in Boulder, Colorado.
There are plenty of ways to LiveSmart on the Road this fall in British Columbia.
Remember: You Choose, You Save.
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