The 10th annual Green Commute Challenge, a program to reduce the number of single-occupant cars on Kansas City area roads and improve air quality in the region, begins June 1 and runs through August 31, 2017. Throughout the challenge, participants log commuter trips using alternative transportation, competing to see which teams and individuals can save the most miles.
During the warmer months of the year, from March 1–Oct. 31, the Kansas City region is more likely to experience ozone pollution, which occurs when emissions from automobiles and other sources interact with heat and sunlight. Ozone pollution is harmful for everyone to breathe, especially children and people with respiratory problems, such as asthma or emphysema.
In addition to contributing to better air quality, commuters who use alternative transportation can save money on gas and vehicle expenses and gain health benefits from reduced stress and increased physical activity.
During the 12-week Green Commute Challenge, participating individuals and employer-based teams record the trips they commute by carpool, vanpool, bus, streetcar, bike and walking, as well as miles they save by telecommuting, to earn points and become eligible for prize drawings. New this year, participants can identify carpool partners, find bike and bus routes, and log their trips using the RideshareKC smartphone app.
“We hear from participants each year that the Green Commute Challenge is a great motivator for exploring commute options,” said Amanda Graor, air quality program manager for the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). “Changing your commuting habits may seem difficult, but we offer lots of tools and resources that we hope make it easier to consider alternative transportation.”
For the past nine years, MARC’s RideshareKC and Air Quality programs have collaborated to present the Green Commute Challenge. This year, RideKC, the region’s transit provider, joined the partnership.
“We are excited to be part of the Green Commute Challenge this year,” said Robbie Makinen, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. “Taking transit is one of many ways commuters can green their commute, save a little money and reduce their stress level. And we always enjoy a little friendly competition among employers in the region.”
In 2016, 44 teams with 640 participants logged 45,553 trips, preventing 431,044 pounds of emissions and saving $111,056 in driving costs during the Green Commute Challenge.
Registration for the Green Commute Challenge is open from May 3 through July 7, 2017. Find out more and register at www.ridesharekc.org.