Since the year 1956, Transportation Alternatives, one of our partners, celebrates biking with Bike Month, during which they organize a series of activities that demonstrate the advantages and importance of bicycling. Kiwi Energy is happy to announce that we will be teaming up with Transportation Alternatives again this year and sponsoring Bike Month.
With 140,000 active supporters and committees of activists working locally in every borough, Transportation Alternatives works to reclaim New York City streets for biking, walking and public transit. Since its founding in 1973, TransAlt has paved the way for remarkable changes in New York City’s transportation infrastructure and culture, including the extraordinary growth of commuting by bicycle and the launch of Citi Bike. Through consistent and focused advocacy, TransAlt has advanced “complete street” redesigns with protected bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes and public plazas, and has also worked for more equitable Vision Zero traffic enforcement across the five boroughs, including speed safety cameras to protect children at every school.
In the spirit of this partnership and this event, we wanted to take a moment to talk about the various transportation alternatives that are available to us that we can take advantage of to be more eco-conscious citizens.
Please note: Further mentions of the term “transportation alternatives” will be referring to the concept itself and not our partner, Transportation Alternatives.
There are great transportation alternatives you can use instead of driving a car alone. They save money on fuel and maintenance, give you good exercise, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the air quality where you live. Plus, they largely avoid car accidents. And they may improve the climate of the whole planet by reducing fuel emissions.
So, what alternative transportation methods are better?
Out of all the transportation alternatives, walking is one of the most energy efficient! And it might make you live longer, improving blood pressure, mood, and cholesterol. Are there times in your day you could walk instead of drive? It might take longer, but remember you’ll live longer if you’re healthier—and you’ll contribute to better air quality in your city.
Biking is the alternative transportation of choice in many parts of the world. Bikes need far fewer resources to produce than cars, which means less mining and fossil fuels used in manufacturing them. And they improve air quality and let you avoid traffic. Plus, they save on fuel, maintenance, and storage space. The more bikes are used, the fewer fossil fuels will be used and the fewer carbon emissions put into the air, making this one of the best transportation alternatives.
Taking the Bus
When you take the bus, you actually will end up walking more than if you drive alone. You might think this form of alternative transportation still uses fossil fuels, and that’s true. But buses help to maintain much cleaner air than if every person on every bus were in separate cars. And that means much less traffic and less fuel used per person. Plus, you can’t always use other transportation alternatives like walking when your destination is too far away, the weather is bad, or it’s late at night. Interestingly, sometimes you can get to your destination faster in a bus because there are special lanes for buses alone.
Mass Transit Rail
You’re lucky if you’re near one of the great transportation alternatives: a metro train system or a subway. They usually only exist around urban areas and may not always be as accessible as a bus, which usually has more stops. But they completely avoid traffic, so they’re faster once you’re on board. They carry more people than buses do, and they cause even less air pollution.
This might not seem like alternative transportation, because you’re still using a car. But if you can’t access public transportation and biking and walking are impractical, carpooling is still superior to driving alone. Carpooling is better for the planetary environment and for your local air quality because you’re using less fuel and emitting less air pollution per person. It’s also cheaper for each person! Plus, this is one of the transportation alternatives that reduce traffic congestion. And you can network with other employees who work near you—or even in the same organization.
This is another of the transportation alternatives that still use cars, but services like Lyft, Zipcar, and Uber allow you to use a car without worrying about maintenance, insurance, titles, garage space, and other car costs. They are easier to use than a taxi. And they don’t stop anyone from using public transportation, walking, or biking; instead, they complement other transportation alternatives when needed. Also, instead of cars sitting unused most of the time, cars in ride sharing are used more efficiently. And by reducing the number of cars needed per consumer, we’re telling manufacturers we don’t want so much mining and fossil fuels used to create more cars—and that we’re committed to transportation alternatives.
With all transportation alternatives, there are trade-offs, but there are major problems caused by so many employees driving in cars alone every day. Maybe driving a car should be called alternative transportation, and other forms, such as mass transit, biking, and walking, should be normal!
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