Sudbury Rises to the #CommuterChallenge
It’s almost here - the Commuter Challenge is back for its 25th year! From June 5th to 11th, 2016 Canadian cities and workplaces will engage in a friendly, week long competition to celebrate active, sustainable transportation and Canadian Environment Week.
With prizes to be won and bragging rights to go around, Science North is looking forward to the 2016 #CommuterChallenge and you can get involved too!!
Why a ‘Commuters’ Challenge?
Research has shown that employees who commute to work are healthier, happier and more productive at work. Walking or biking to work instead of driving can also help you be more active on a daily basis. If you live close to your place of work, biking or walking might be the fastest way to get there.
The goal of the Challenge is to reward sustainable, low-impact forms of travel such as walking, cycling, carpooling, taking city transit or even working from home. Some employees might even be able to paddle to work!
(Show us how you’re commuting by Tweeting to @ScienceSheep!)
Getting active is good for us, while vehicle traffic and congestion has harmful effects on our health, our environment and our bank accounts. Even so, the number of vehicles on Canadian roads are projected to increase in the coming years as we travel for both work and recreation. Transportation is one of the largest sources of air pollution in Canada.
Traffic congestion isn’t just inconvenient for drivers - vehicle engines are a known health risk. Different types of air pollutants are created when engines burn gasoline or diesel fuel - many of them greenhouse gases (GHGs) which contribute to climate change and ozone layer deterioration.
Traffic related emissions are also a key contributor to the formation of smog - the mixture of gases and particles that can appear as a haze in the air to our eyes. Smog and vehicle pollution from vehicles has been associated with increased rates of asthma and respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Most of us are exposed to this pollution on a daily basis.
The Benefits of Commuting Sustainably
It’s good for your health. Methods such as biking, walking, or rolling to work increase physical activity. Methods such as carpooling, taking transit or working from home reduce overall air pollutants, improve air quality and related healthcare costs. If enough people reduced vehicle use, our roadways and parking lots would become less congested.
It’s good for your bank account. Directly, owning and driving a car costs a lot of money once you account for fuel, insurance, monthly payments, maintenance and parking. Indirectly, we pay for vehicle usage through increased healthcare and environmental costs, as well as for roadway construction projects.
It’s good for your community. Fewer cars means quiet streets as engines and horns are traded in for bells and spokes. Less vehicles on roadways would also mean less traffic jams, altercations and reduced parking needs. Encouraging people to walk or bike increases social interactions and relationships between community members.
It’s good for the environment. Vehicle emissions are responsible for pollutants such as carbon monoxides, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide. Those compounds in turn go on to cause climate change, smog, acid rain and overall air quality. Constructing roadways and parking lots for vehicles reduces natural green cover and contributes to the creation of more emissions.
Need more reasons to commute sustainably? Check out the Commuter Challenge website here.
- Go to www.commuterchallenge.ca and Register! If your workplace isn’t participating, you can register as an individual.
- Commute sustainably at least one time and then Log your hours.
- Encourage friends, family and coworkers to get involved and commute sustainably, too!
- Tweet pictures of your sustainable commute to @ScienceSheep! We want to know how you’re doing it. Use the hashtags #CommuterChallenge or #SudburyCommutes.
- Commute sustainably all year round!