Did you know that the average Massachusetts commuter, who logs their green trips in BayStateCommute.com, reduces harmful emissions the equivalent of 23 gallons of gas per month? With the 48th annual Earth Month in full swing, now is a great time to try a new way to commute green and help out the environment.
As a free program of MassDOT with a mission to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, MassRIDES focuses on ways to reduce the amount of carbon emissions entering the air through commuting.
Here are some Earth Month suggestions for commuters:
Walk the Talk
When possible, walking or biking to work are ideal alternatives to driving. The benefits of active transportation include reducing stress, improving heart health, saving money, and eliminating 100% of commute emissions. It’s also been reported that commuters who bike to work are happier, more confident, and better sleepers! If you work in an office environment, commuting with active transportation can help alleviate the sedentary nature of an office job, and inspire co-workers to try walking or biking.
Take Transit Instead
Taking transit benefits the environment by reducing CO₂ and greenhouse gases, but there’s more. Public transportation can also support high density land development, which in turn reduces the distance and time individuals need to reach their destination. This makes for fewer emissions, and leaves more land available for parks, forests, and wildlife. So, being green actually creates more green space!
Be Green Together
While active transportation and public transit are ideal ways to mitigate wear and tear on personal vehicles and curb harmful environmental emissions, we understand they are not always feasible. With the average Massachusetts employee driving over 5,000 miles each year to and from work, carpooling can be a great option for many commuters who need to rely on a personal vehicle. If you already carpool, try adding another member to your carpool for even greater money and emissions savings. Vanpooling is a similar ridesharing option that can help alleviate the stress of daily commuting (click here to see the directory of the state’s vanpools).
Earth Month at Work
Employers have an important role to play in all of this as well. By incentivizing employees to take green trips, employers help create a healthier environment. Even if only for a day, employers who promote a car-free or car-light day during April will help their workforce reduce their carbon footprints. MassRIDES Outreach Coordinators can help plan Try It Days to encourage sustainable commuting at the office.
Creating an eco-friendly office culture doesn’t have to be difficult. Offering transit benefits, telework options, preferred parking for carpools, and setting up showers and lockers for active commuters are just a few of the ways employers can support green commuting during Earth Month – and every month!
Other Ways to Keep It Green
If you are unable to commute green, but still want to do your part in reducing your carbon footprint, you can get creative in other ways. Even though you may need to drive your car to work during the week, perhaps you can walk or ride a bike when you have to run errands on the weekend. Additionally, if you have children in school, starting a carpool with families in the neighborhood can be a good way to reduce the number of cars on the road. Or, even better, take part in a walking school bus, which can be a fun and healthy way to get to school.
The standard three Rs are always important to remember: reduce, reuse, and recycle. But there are more!
Replace, refuse, and repurpose are some of the new environmental Rs we’ve seen. Replacing just five incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescents can help save up to $75 per year on your electricity bill. Refusing new items can help you declutter, while repurposing can help you extend the life of old things as new objects.
For more ideas on how to stay sustainable this Earth Month, check out commute.com.
 Based on average reporting from January 2018 through March 2018 in Bay State Commute