Sharing The Way We Move

How looking at how you get to work can save your cash, your environment and even your health

Many of us are used to the convenience of our personal vehicles, and the concept of freedom and independence that we attach to them. The truth, though, is that there are costs to be paid for our ‘vehicular addiction’ that we often don’t consider.

More cars on the roads mean a larger environmental footprint; there is no denying that emissions add up and negatively impact the world around us. In addition, large volumes of vehicles result in greater wear and tear on road infrastructure, making maintenance expenditures (and therefore taxes) higher for residents. And then there is the cost to our well-being. Air quality becomes an issue, particularly for people with sensitivities to the chemicals emitted by vehicles. And the tendency we have developed to take our car on every tiny trip just because it is fast means that many of us are not getting the kind of exercise we need to stay fit and healthy.

PauseCreative Commons License photo credit: djking

Consider, if you will, the following:

Your wallet: According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spends over $12,000 per year on transportation alone – more than food and second only to housing. Even those driving as little as 12,000 km per year are looking at annual driving costs of between approximately $8000 and $10,000, varying with the make and model of the car. The more you share your commute via carpooling, using public transit, cycling around town or just plain ol’ walking, the more you save.

Your health: The congestion and volume of traffic on the roads can be a major source of stress for many drivers. Studies have consistently shown that employees who commute by means other than a single-occupancy vehicle demonstrate lower levels of stress, higher morale, and lower blood pressure.

The environment: The environment is everyone’s business. Using fewer cars means less pollution, conservation of habitat, and less demand for new roads and parking lots. Using fewer cars also means less production of greenhouse gases, a major contributor to climate change. When you carpool, take mass transit, cycle or walk – even once or twice a week – you can feel proud that you are helping the environment.

Many of you have already made the switch, and we applaud you for your insight and initiative! In fact, Edmontonstories.ca has launched a terrific contest that invites you to tell us all about how Edmonton moves you. What do you do to Get in Step, Get in Gear, Get on Board, or Get Together? What do you love about your commute? We want to hear from YOU.

Submissions can be in the form of a poem, a moment/story, picture slideshow, essay, video or even a Haiku! Get creative!

Tell us and you could win a Grand Prize of a twelve-month ETS pass or your choice of:

A $100 gift certificate to your running/walking/bike shop of choice
A $100 Future Store gift certificate
Two $50 gift cards for your favourite coffee shop of choice
A 4GB iPod Shuffle

The contest runs from Monday, August 9 until Friday, September 3, 2010. For contest information or to enter, please visit http://www.edmontonstories.ca/sharing/move.

Remember – even making one small change in your daily or weekly transportation routine can make a difference. Buy a couple of transit tickets, check out the City’s free carpool matching program (www.carpool.ca), pump up the tires on your bike, or tie up your laces and start walking. Challenge yourself to give it a try and let us know all about it!

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About the Author
Laura McNabb
Laura has lived and worked in the Alberta Capital Region for just over 20 years, and is currently the Communications Advisor for Transportation/Capital Construction with the City of Edmonton.
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