Since 1960, the number of miles Americans travel each year has more than tripled. The daily commute is taking a toll on our time, our wallets, and the Earth. Improving your commute means improving not only the environment but also your quality of life. In fact, some local governments and employers have introduced employee travel reduction programs that encourage such alternatives as car-pooling, using public transportation, biking, and telecommuting. Here are a few ways you can do your part to make your own commute greener.
Carpool: Find out if you have co-workers who live near you and set up a carpool schedule. Shifting away from the one-person car commute is be a terrific way to cut carbon emissions, save oil and gas, and get to know some of your co-workers better. Many cities even have carpool lanes to encourage carpooling to work. Using the carpool lane will usually help you bypass traffic so you can get to work quicker, too.
Walk or bike: Putting yourself in motion is the lowest carbon option for traveling to work. If you live within a mile or two of work, walking may be a good option for you. If you live a bit further away, you can ride a bike to work. You'll save money, cut down on emissions, and get a workout all at the same time. More and more options are becoming available, like folding bikes that can easily be stored next to your desk and bike-compatible laptop cases and panniers.
Use public transportation: Public transit cuts down on pollution, but it is more than just greener way of getting to work. Using public transit is a great way to meet people, avoid traffic, and give yourself a little free time in the day. While you're riding the bus or train, take a moment to read that book or magazine you've been trying to get to, relax and unwind with your favorite songs on your MP3 player, or just work on your laptop.
Telecommute: Not all workplaces offer a work-from-home option, but telecommuting is one of the greenest ways to go. Not only does it reduce pollution and cut down on how much gas you use, but companies also use less energy when employees work from home. Make your day working from home as green as possible and reduce the amount of energy you use at home, too.