Eco-Friendly Commuting: What Are Some Options?

Most people do not enjoy their daily commute to and from work. In fact, many hate it even more than wasting all day at a job when they could be out having fun and enjoying life. Of course, we all like having a roof over our heads and food on the table, so working is a necessary evil. But a long commute spent in gridlock each day is like adding insult to injury. Yes, we all have to work, but do we really have to give up additional time each day for the privilege of driving to and from a decent job? In addition to the hours of your life you’ll never get back and the high cost of fuel that’s eating away at your paycheck, there are also environmental concerns to consider. Every minute spent inching along the freeway equates to increasing greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling (pardon the pun) global warming. You may not be able to get out of commuting, but there are steps you can take to make the process more eco-friendly, taking at least one burden off your plate. Here are some options to consider.

Carpooling

The first conclusion many people come to is a carpool, and this is definitely more eco-friendly than driving yourself to work. By finding others in your company who live near you to commute with, everyone can benefit. Not only will you cut carbon emissions significantly when you consolidate your driving efforts, but it will also relieve the burden on each person to drive every day. If you can squeeze five people into a carpool (assuming everyone involved has a car that can accommodate this number of passengers) you can each drive just once a week. Supposing your commute takes an hour each way, this stands to net you 8 additional hours of free time each week that could be spent in correspondence, catching up on your sleep deficit, or pursuing leisure activities (reading, iPad games, etc.). In addition, everyone will save a ton of money on car-related expenses (including gas and maintenance).

Mass Transit

If carpooling isn’t for you, you might want to check out mass transit options, like trains and buses. These modes of transportation can provide for a cost-effective means of getting to and from work. With someone else at the wheel you can definitely get other stuff done (perhaps even some work so that you don’t have to stay late) and you might even approach your company about setting up some kind of discount program with the city so that employees can enjoy discount annual passes. Businesses that aren’t keen to shell out for company cars or executive services like limo services may still be inclined to offer rewards of some kind to employees willing to do their part to decrease roadway congestion and air pollution, so don’t hesitate to talk to your superiors about setting up an incentive program.

Telecommuting

If buses and trains aren’t an option,  you may want to raise the idea of telecommuting. With advances in communications technology it is now easier than ever for a company to let employees work from home. Thanks to VPN (virtual private network) servers, video conferencing options, mobile solutions, and even programs that can record computer activity and take screenshots to let employers track work progress, many businesses are far more comfortable with the notion of allowing employees to manage their own time from home. It couldn’t hurt to ask, and it will definitely save you (and the environment) in all kinds of ways when it comes to your daily commute.

How do you commute? Have you tried some greener options? How is it working out?


Comments

Eco-Friendly Commuting: What Are Some Options? — 21 Comments

  1. Riding a bike is the ultimate form of transport to work. It provides exercise so you don’t have to do it later, it is heaps of fun, it’s virtually free, and you can do it all year round if you don’t mind the cold! It’s got no downsides at all.

  2. I’m lucky that I don’t work very far from home so I can ride my bike 3 days a week. I feel more energized at the beginning of the day and I don’t have to set aside time for exercise – so even though it takes me about 15 minutes longer to ride than to drive, I save time by not having to work out.

  3. I am very priviledged and can work from home quite a bit. When I need to be in the office I go on the bus – there are many buses that I can take and the journey takes 30 min (which gives me time to read). Sometimes I walk back or run (it is 4.5 miles). Tried to cycle and enjoyable as this is I am not good enough to do it safely.

  4. I used to cycle to work too when I worked in the UK. I was lucky because I found the job before the house and was able to live quite close to work. I bought all the rain pants and gear to cycle even in winter, it was a cheap way to stay fit as well.

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