For many of us, hopping in our cars and crawling through traffic to and from work is the norm and we often do not think of the impacts associated with our daily commutes. Clean Air Commute week, organized by Pollution Probe, challenges workplaces to commute to work by walking, biking, taking public transit, or carpooling from June 17-23 in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
In London, approximately 37% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions are a result from transportation. Approximately four to five tonnes of emissions are produced per vehicle annually, which is harmful for both human health and the environment. Air pollution that is caused by vehicular emissions is linked to a variety of respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, and is estimated to cost Canada over $8 billion annually in health damages. As for the environment, the release of greenhouse gasses contributes to climate change when carbon dioxide is released from vehicle tailpipes, trapping heat energy in the atmosphere. One of the easiest ways to avoid health problems and a warming atmosphere is to reduce the amount of single-occupant vehicles, which represents the most inefficient use of transport energy. By encouraging more people to carpool and take public transit, emissions from transport can be significantly decreased.
According to City of London, 5-10% of automobile trips can be reasonably shifted to non-motorized transport in a typical urban area. London provides bike lanes and multi-use paths for cyclists in the city in an effort to encourage more Londoners to cycle. With London’s cycling network providing a range of options for cyclists of all skill levels, substituting your bike for your car is easy. Another great benefit of cycling, is you burn fat not gasoline, saving you money and bettering your health. With London Transit Commission’s smart phone app, taking the bus is now easier than ever. You can download the LT Watch app to map out your route and get arrival times, increasing the efficiency of taking public transit in London.
If you still can’t give up your car, consider carpooling with your colleagues. Carpooling can still reduce the number of cars on the road and can help save you money by sharing fuel and parking costs. You can even log on to ‘London Carpools’ to find people in your neighborhood or place of work that are willing to carpool with you. Don’t forget to keep your car in tip top condition, as poorly maintained cars consume 40% more fuel and emit three to four times more emissions than properly tuned cars. Always ensure your tires are properly inflated and drive the speed limit to maximize fuel efficiency.So let’s work together to show that at Western, We ♥ Clean Air! Challenge your friends, family, and co-workings to walk, bike or take public transit to and from work to celebrate Clean Air Commute week. Don’t forget that taking alternative transportation does not have to be a one week commitment; you can carry your eco-friendly commuting habits with you for the rest of the year!