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Green Tips: Driving Less

Green Tips | July 23, 2020

The transportation sector is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. While the region saw significant drops in air pollution during quarantine, vehicles are slowly returning to the road as the state begins to open. In an effort to curtail health risks associated with air pollution like asthma and lung disease—especially for environmental justice communities that are disproportionately affected—we’ve put together a list of tips to help you drive less. Not only can driving less reduce health issues for our fellow community members, but also will reduce greenhouse gas emission and mitigate climate change.

Alternatives to Cars

While driving a car is one of the most convenient ways to get around, there are plenty of alternatives to get you from point A to point B. Using your body to help you get around can certainly help you kill two birds with one stone: you’ll get where you need to go while exercising and managing stress! Whether you’re motivated to reduce your carbon footprint or get more exercise, check out some of our tips: 

  • Invest in an emission-free, traditional bicycle to get around and exercise. Bikes can last for years with proper maintenance, and there are options for people with mobility limitations
  • With the recently passed New York E-bike law, consider whether an electric bike or scooter works for your lifestyle and transportation needs. 
  • There has been an increased effort to expand bike sharing and shared mobility programs in New York State. Look for programs in your area!
  • Take the ferry. Ferry service in New York City is an easy way to travel between waterfront neighborhoods while enjoying the outdoors. 
  • Public transportation is a great way to get around and reduce your carbon footprint. Public transit is accessible for those with disabilities and can get you moving, too, as bus and train stops are usually not located right in front of passenger destinations. Before hopping in the car, see if it’s possible to travel using public transit. 

Think Local

Get to know the businesses in and around your community. You may discover new places to pick up household essentials and other necessities nearby. Here are some tips for traveling locally and reducing emissions during travel:

  • Purchase a cart or commuter backpack to transport your goods.
  • Check the walking or biking route for where you need to go ahead of time. If a stretch of the route is not accessible by walking or biking, use public transit or a vehicle to travel part of the way.
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to travel into town together. Catch up and exercise while running errands!
  • Make an outing out of traveling by foot or by bike with the family! You can add in an educational component for children on the trip, as well. For example, discuss how people traveled before there were cars. 
  • If driving is necessary, carpool with a friend or neighbor and try to consolidate errands into one trip. Shop at places within walking distance of your parked car (downtown, shopping center, etc.).

Make sure to stay hydrated during your travels and stay safe! We hope you try out some of our tips next time you’re heading out.

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