Whether you’re traveling to work, vacation, or just for a night out, before you reach for those car keys consider these eight benefits of using alternative transportation. Jumping on a train, saddling a bike, or sharing a ride could have payoffs for your health, the planet, and your pocketbook.
8. Save (a lot of) cash
The freedom a car provides comes with a hefty price. AAA (U.S.) estimates the average car owner spends $9,122 a year to own and operate their ride. Compare this to the average annual cost of a bike at $308. What would you do with the extra money not poured into maintenance, tires, insurance, and the pockets of oil and gas corporations!
7. Burn fat, not fuel!
Traveling can be trimming. The health benefits of riding a bike or walking rather than sitting in a car apply not only to weight loss, but can improve balance, coordination, and alertness (info graphic)! These benefits extend to others as well; one study estimating that if 30 million Midwesterners (U.S.) chose to bike their commute (under 5 miles), the improvements in air quality and fitness would save 1,100 lives and $7 billion in healthcare costs per year!
6. Cut congestion
Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
In January 2013, air pollution in China blanketed cities so thickly it was difficult to see the anything more than 5 meters away. Emissions from fossil-fuel intensive vehicles spew sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter that can penetrate deeply into the human lung and can exacerbate cardiovascular disease, asthma, COPD, and lung cancer. So breathe easy from your train cabin or bike seat, and enjoy the view!
5. Fight carbon pollution
Gas released from burning fossil fuels can be harmful to our personal and environmental health. Transportation accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions and it’s estimated that every mile driven in a car emits an additional 1 pound of CO2 into the atmosphere. Rail travel, however, is estimated to emit half the CO2 per passenger. With atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reaching 400ppm, scientists are certain, united, and cautioning against the detrimental impacts of climate change. Every effort is needed to reduce our output of carbon, including your travel decisions today!
4. Travel productively
We could all use a little extra time, even if just to catch another minute of sleep. Finalize a report, applying makeup, and checking Facebook: while discouraged when driving, are easily done from the comfort of a train or passenger seat!
3. On-board entertainment
Public transportation is a constant window into the beauty and strangeness of humanity. There’s unlimited opportunity to meet new people, absorb the scenery, or at least provide something for a good story
2. Become a leader
Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Alternative fuels sources and energy efficient and electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as the cost of petrol rises and the negative impacts associated with fossil fuel extraction and use become more apparent. When deciding on ride options, remember to think climate smart!
1. Protecting future generations
The consequences of today’s choices will resonate for generations. Taking steps to build a better future is something we can all support. By cutting our greenhouse gas emissions we are protecting future generations.