Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Commuting: Cleaner Than a Car and Just as Warm

Snowed In Car
image by AMagill used under Creative Commons license

Winter’s cold temperatures sometimes prompt New Yorkers to take to their cars for commuting. Walking or biking to and from work can be unpleasant during this season, so people may choose the protection and warmth of their vehicles instead of alternate forms of transportation that offer the same virtues but are better for our air quality. We wanted to share with you a few of these options with the hope that, once you see how easy it is to switch, you’ll wind up driving your car less frequently.

1. Take Mass Transit

For those commuters who bike or walk to work during the warmer months, taking mass transit is a great option for the winter. If your office is near your home, you likely live in a more urban location and have many mass transit options. Biking or walking when it’s warm and taking mass transit when it’s cold could save you more than $13,000 a year in car-related expenses and can help reduce air pollution.

2. Carpool

If you must drive your car to and from work during winter, invite a few neighbors to ride with you if they work near your office, or share your car with co-workers you can pick up and drop off along the way each day. 511NYRideshare can help you set up your carpool and will introduce you to all the great benefits available to carpoolers. Carpooling is the perfect compromise because you get the benefits of riding in a car while reducing the number of vehicles on the road and, thus, the amount of air pollution generated.

3. Telecommute

Telecommuting is a great way to improve our air quality and it protects you during winter storms. Staying home is always the safest option at such times, so talk to your boss about whether telecommuting is a viable choice. Creating an emergency plan to work from home will keep you safer during winter and can keep you healthier during warmer months when Air Quality Action Days occur. Sign up to receive our Air Quality Action Day updates and you’ll be ready to telecommute when they are announced.

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