This post is from Carla Davis, the University Sustainability Office’s communications coordinator.
For six months I’ve tried a smorgasbord of sustainable transit to, from and around NC State’s campus. My alternative transit experiment has included everything from riding the bus and carpooling to running and walking on sidewalks and greenways. I’ll admit that traveling this way can take more time, but I notice some key benefits: I’m healthier and so is my bank account with all the $3-plus per gallon gas I’m not buying. With NC State’s Commute Challenge starting today, it’s the perfect time to mix up your travel style. Here are five things I’ve learned about alternative commuting that might help you:
- Select Sustainable Soles – Often times, I can walk to a meeting on campus quicker than it would take to drive and search for parking. But no one wants to walk if your feet hurt, so ditch the uncomfortable shoes and get to stepping. It’s healthier for your heart and gets you closer to the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
- Get a GoPass – This $25 might be the best money I’ve spent in six months (and for students this pass is even cheaper – it’s free). The GoPass provides unlimited bus rides for a year on CAT and Triangle Transit buses. An afternoon commute from campus nearly every day for six months and I estimate I’m paying just 20 cents (and dropping) every time I step on the bus. It would cost me nearly that much in gas to drive my car out of my neighborhood.
- Simplify with a Smartphone – Sometimes you need to hoof it to catch the Wolfline or other local/regional bus, and other times you can take your time. The Transloc smartphone app helps you know when to scurry and when you can slow down.
- Sign up for WolfTrails – Some days you just need to drive to campus, and thanks to the Wolftrails program I have one free parking pass each month that I can use when I need my own set of wheels. To take away some of the anxiety of running out of passes too soon, Wolftrails users can purchase a limited amount of extra parking passes for just a couple bucks a day.
- Cut the Carpool Chatter – Very few of us are at our social peak on the early morning drive into work. So, limit the chit chat to keep your carpool buddy sane and happy.
Understandably, everyone’s situation is different, so while you may want to ride the bus or carpool to campus, you might not live near convenient bus routes or coworkers that make it possible. But as NC State employees or students, we all have to get around campus from time to time, so give biking or walking or riding the Wolfline a try this month as the weather warms and spring blooms on campus.