As the Program Director for both a Travel Options and a Safe Routes to School program, I have the honor of working with adults and children concerning their daily commute to work and school. Changing commuting behavior starts at a very young age. Often, by the time we get to adulthood our apparent commuting options are embedded in our subconscious.
After working for several years with commuters, I started to see a common thread amongst adults: cars equal freedom. But freedom can mean so many other things. It can mean the freedom to do something else with your commute time, the freedom to not have a car payment, and the freedom to spend your money in other ways. Reframing how we look at our daily commute can provide us with choices sometimes even more satisfying than driving to work alone.
I’ve had the fortune of being able to utilize transit wherever I’ve lived. Be it Los Angeles while in college, Denver during graduate school, or Las Vegas for work, I’ve been able to use transit and enjoy the freedom it affords. Now I live in Boston and I’m thrilled to have a plethora of transit options. I take the commuter rail to work every day, but still take the bus whenever I can. I especially enjoy taking the bus if I am visiting a new location for the first time.
The bus allows me to take the pulse of a city, learn about its inhabitants, and get a better view of the landscape without worry about traffic and parking. I started taking my boys on the bus (as well as the train, and subway), when they were very young. I want them to understand that they have options even if they do not own a car. They absolutely love taking transit and prefer the adventure to that in a car. I hope my sons will grow up feeling the freedom that comes with not having a car and never lose their love of transit.
Check out a few interesting transit articles I’ve read lately: