Do you ever get bored driving alone to work? Or tired of filling up your tank every few days? If you’re like me, you always seem to need to stop for gas when it’s pouring rain or when you’re running completely behind schedule. Whether you work in the Seacoast, Central NH, or the North Country, we all experience the same “highway blues” of traffic with springtime construction or winter plowing.
Want to make a difference or change up your commuting habitats? For the Month of June, CommuteSmart New Hampshire is hosting a statewide commuter challenge to challenge employers and their employees to use more sustainable methods of transportation instead of driving alone to work. For our pilot challenge, we encourage any alternative to driving alone, which includes walking, biking, carpooling, telecommuting (working from home), or using transit. This challenge occurs immediately following CommuteSMART Seacoast‘s B2B challenge in May, which has served as an excellent model for the CommuteSmart NH pilot challenge.
I completely understand that changing your commute to work can be hard, but using other options of transportation can have some pretty awesome benefits. Ask around your office to see if someone commutes from the same or nearby town as you do. You could make a new friend while saving money on gas, parking and wear and tear on your vehicle. Or maybe you’ve been looking for a way to get some extra exercise, and walking and biking to somewhere you’re already going can save you the trip to the gym later. Or use the time on a bus or train catching up on your favorite show, reading a book, or get a jump-start on your work emails. Even though it may seem like a few single commute trips won’t make a difference, every little bit helps reduce the amount of traffic on the road and the impact on our environment.
Using myself as an example, I have a total commute time of two and a half hours round trip. In total, commuting five days a week and considering the current price of gas and my average MPG, this would cost me an estimate of approximately $2,346 annually. And this doesn’t even factor in the cost of insurance and general maintenance caused by increasing mileage. That being said, I’m fortunate enough to be able to work at home two days a week which saves me about $939.00 annually. For me personally, working at home increases my productivity while saving money and wear and tear on my car. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like working at home in sweatpants?
Not to mention, the challenge is fun and free! Create friendly competition with another company or department and see who can come out on top. Create office camaraderie and build up that team spirit! Even if you can only try it a few days, every trip counts and increasing your team’s chances of winning!
Every employer, organization, and municipality in New Hampshire is eligible to participate. Talk to your supervisor, wellness coordinator, HR manger, and get everyone interested to sign up! Interested employers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit commutesmartnh.org for information on how to participate, awards, and getting some free goodies! Participants can also share on social media with #SmartCommuteTheRoute!
About the Author
Katie is a Regional Planner at the Central NH Regional Planning Commission and is the project coordinator of CommuteSmart New Hampshire (CSNH). CSNH is program that encourages and assists residents and employers in choosing sustainable transportation options. CSNH is funded by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives. More information can be found at commutesmartnh.org.