Week 7 Recap: Cutting Your Transportation Footprint

We “switched gears” this week and talked about transportation with information and tips from Cat Woodson, manager of ROAM NRV Bike Share.

May is National Bike Month!

As the weather warms up, consider biking (or walking) for shorter trips. This action reduces greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion & demand for oil; reduces other impacts from motorized vehicles like noise, destruction of open spaces, wetlands and other natural habitats; and has many health benefits.

Don’t have your own bike? Take advantage of ROAM NRV Bikeshare

The New River Valley Bicycle Association organizes biking activities, educates the community and advocates for bicycling in the NRV.

You can support biking trails in our area by joining the Friends of The Huckleberry Trail.

Public Transportation

We are fortunate to have great public transit options in our area:

Blacksburg Transit (BT) is currently fare free

Radford Transit connects to Radford through Christiansburg

Smart Way Bus connects the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley and can get you to the Roanoke airport

Smart Way Express is a commuter bus service operated by Valley Metro connecting VT’s Blacksburg campus with the Carilion School of Medicine Roanoke campus

Be Car Smart and Eco-Drive

If you can, work from home, or otherwise skip the trip. But if you need to drive, be car smart and eco-drive:

Go easy on the brakes and gas pedal – hard acceleration and braking waste fuel and lower your mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% around town.

Use overdrive and cruise control; Properly maintain your vehicle; Combine your errands into less trips.

Reduce car idling time – It’s a major source of smog; 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted every year just from sitting in traffic jams; If stopped for more than 30 sec (except in traffic) turn off the engine – idling for longer than that uses more fuel than it takes to restart your vehicle; Idling while waiting to pick up kids at school negatively affects the air quality around the school and can affect children’s health

The Idle-Free Schools Toolkit includes information needed to run an effective idling reduction campaign at a school to reduce student exposure to toxic vehicle exhaust. The Toolkit also provides the resources to make this a student-run science or community involvement project, providing students with the opportunity to learn how to run a public service campaign while expanding their science and math skills.

Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment

In addition to averting air quality problems through the idle reduction effort, we’re gaining other benefits, too. Parents enjoy the fuel savings realized by simply shutting off the engine while waiting. In addition to greenhouse gas reductions, the program also eliminated more than 460 gasoline gallon equivalents of petroleum consumption. There is less wear on the engine when idling is reduced, and the quieter noise level is an unexpected but very welcome benefit.

Reducing Vehicle Idling Time at School Helps Kids—and Parents—Breathe Easier

Share the Ride

Even if you need to drive, you don’t have to do it alone…or even in your own car. Car share or carpool helps reduce the number of cars manufactured, saving natural resources and energy; the number of cars on the road, cutting CO2 emissions; land use needed for parking; costs, time, and gasoline use.

Learn more about options in our area:

RIDE Solutions provides alternative transportation options, including ridesharing, biking, public transit, walking, and guaranteed ride home services

Zipcar is a car sharing alternative to rental and ownership. Book cars on demand by the hour or day. Join instantly, drive in minutes.

Take Care in How You Travel

As you head off after graduation, or start to consider being able to take a vacation again, continue your sustainability habits in choosing how to travel longer distances. Taking the train is a very sustainable way to get around and we now have much better access in our area than we did not so long ago.

If you decide to fly, choose direct flights when available – take-off and landing are the most fuel-intensive parts of a flight; Pack light – the heavier an aircraft is the more fuel it consumes; cargo and baggage make up a large portion of an aircraft’s weight; Opt for taking the train or other public transit options to get to the airport.

For a great article that discusses the impacts of different forms of travel, check out this BBC article: Climate Change: Should You Fly, Drive, or Take the Train?

Coming Up…

Week 8 starts tomorrow! Join us as we discuss ways to Buy Smarter and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to see daily updates.

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