If you’re using an automobile as your primary mode of transportation, between gas prices and maintenance, you may be looking for ways to reduce the cost of your commute. Considering – and using - alternative forms of transportation can help reduce the strain on your wallet, lower your environmental impact, and maybe even increase your overall well-being.
Cycling is an activity that’s great for improving cardiovascular health and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. You may have a bicycle at home that you use for leisure rides that you can adapt for commuting to work. By opting to bike to work, you’ll reduce your vehicle’s output of greenhouse gases, which are detrimental to the environment. Studies have shown that while a solo driver in an average North American vehicle releases about 1.2 pounds of C02 per mile, the average cyclist releases only 0.7 grams through respiration.
Before you head out on two wheels, make sure your bike is equipped properly. Adding panniers and cycling bags to your frame can help you carry any items you need for your workday, like your lunch bag, bike lock, and a change of clothes. If your commute is long or you live in a location with a lot of hills, consider investing in an electric bike. E-bikes allow you to get the health benefits of cycling, while providing the extra boost you need on longer trips. While e-bikes have a higher carbon footprint during the manufacturing process compared to conventional bikes, they have a lower overall output per use.
Depending on where you live and the climate, walking to work can be a great alternative to driving. You’ll eliminate your reliance on your vehicle and get the added benefit of improving your health. Walking every day can help improve cardiovascular fitness and increase energy levels. As a bonus, you’ll be able to explore more of your local community on your new commute. Before you commit to walking to work, make sure you have the correct attire. Proper walking shoes, a good umbrella for rainy days, and appropriate cold weather gear can make your commute more comfortable.
If you live in an area with a robust public transportation system, you’re in luck. Using public transportation is an affordable way to commute to work and protects you from the elements in less desirable climates. Public transportation can include buses, trains, trolleys, light rails, and other types of mass transportation. When commuters opt for the bus or train, passengers save money on annual vehicle costs and fewer single occupancy vehicles are on the road, lowering overall emissions outputs.
Talk to your co-workers and friends who live nearby about sharing a ride into work. If you all have vehicles, you can alternate who drives each week, reducing the strain and mileage on everyone’s vehicle. Before you commit to carpooling, make sure everyone’s schedule aligns, and discuss how you’ll split the cost of gas, tolls, and any other expenses that may come up. Many employers encourage employees to carpool as a way to cut back on parking needs, especially in larger cities where parking is at a premium.
As you explore non-vehicle alternatives, check in with your human resources department about any perks they may offer for those who choose to take public transportation or carpool. They may offer a discounted rate on bus or train fares, along with reduced parking rates for those who carpool in multi-occupancy vehicles.
Not only are alternative forms of transportation great for simplifying your commute, but you can also use many of these options in other areas of your life. Consider opting for public transportation or cycling on your next vacation or when running errands on the weekend. With benefits to the environment, your wallet, and your health, using alternative forms of transportation has more pros than cons. Looking for more money-saving tips? Check out our WalletWorks page.