ASK EARTHA: Green Transportation Options

 In Ask Eartha

Dear Eartha, My goal this year is to reduce my carbon footprint by driving less, but it’s not always easy. What tips do you have?

The level of convenience that cars provide can deter us from considering other transportation options. If you have access to a personal vehicle your brain is probably on auto-pilot to just grab your keys and go when heading out the door. However, there are many ways we can reduce how often we use our cars – helping to not only reduce carbon emissions but traffic congestion too!

For those of us driving across the county after work, it’s pretty obvious that traffic congestion is increasing in our community. Between an increase of full-time residents, visitors, and construction, we’re seeing more bumper-to-bumper traffic in Summit County. The more cars we can get off the road at any given time, the better traffic will flow, and the more we’ll help contribute towards reducing carbon emissions.

While vehicle emissions aren’t as visible as traffic, they are something we need to reduce. Carbon dioxide, a type of greenhouse gas, comes from burning fossil fuels. When we turn on our gas vehicles, we directly contribute to the carbon emissions in our community. In fact, about one-third of carbon pollution in Summit County comes from transportation. In order to meet our community-wide goal of reducing transportation emissions by 25% by 2030, we need to rethink the way we get around. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for getting you out of your personal vehicle this summer.

Bus: Take in the view

What’s better than sitting back and enjoying the mountainous views (and maybe getting some work or reading done) while you get shuttled to your destination? While many of us are likely familiar with local bus options (Summit Stage and Breck Free Ride), we might not be as inclined to consider taking the bus when traveling out of the County…but why not?

Summit County local, Tom Koehler, has started using Bustang for his travels across the state. Tom says that taking the bus “gives me a break from paying attention to other drivers and creates fewer emissions which are key in our battle with global warming.” For Tom, using the Summit Stage in conjunction with the Bustang for out-of-town travel is easy and comfortable. The Bustang even allows you to store three large pieces of “luggage” underneath the bus (which includes bikes, skis, and snowboards). So next time you head out of town, consider planning a bus route to your destination and enjoy the views!

Ride-Share: Connect with new people

As more people get vaccinated, ride-share services are once again becoming a popular option. Using ride-share apps, you can split the cost of a trip with 1-2 other people that are headed in the same direction. And instead of driving all by your lonesome, you’ll share conversations with somebody new. There are a few popular options for ride-share services: Lyft, RideShare, Uber, and TreadShare, a new Colorado carpooling app set to launch in October 2021.

Carpool: Save on gas

Outside of app-based carpooling, you can also set up your own carpool schedule with neighbors and coworkers. Decide which days work best for everyone to carpool and assign driving days to each person. You might even consider asking your workplace to create a carpool incentive program. Preferred parking, reduced parking costs, or fun giveaways and awards (such as gift cards, coupon books, or local swag) are all great ways to encourage carpooling in the workplace. You’ll save on the cost of gas, reduce mileage on your car, and will help reduce traffic and emissions from your regular commute.

Bike/Walk: Get some fresh air

Opting to bike, walk, scooter, rollerblade (or whatever human-powered mode you fancy) are the most environmentally-friendly options to get you from point A to B while also benefiting your health. If you don’t live in an area that’s as accessible for these modes of transportation, consider walking or biking to a bus stop or ride-share location instead of taking your car.

The weather in Summit is gorgeous right now, making it the perfect time to experiment with different transportation options. So whether you’re looking to travel in or out of town, take a moment to plan your route so you can get around without the burden of excess vehicle emissions weighing you down.

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