Tag Archives: Commute

Shuttle Challenge

The Shuttle Challenge is a reward-based initiative that challenges commuters to drive 10% less.  Once every two weeks, it encourages you to take a non-car method of transportation – public transit, walking, or biking.  It highlights how small changes in transit patterns could make a huge difference in green house gas emissions.

Just by participating you are offered a reward.  When I heard this, I thought “Great! Encourage people to participate!”  Then I read that the rewards were gas cards.  GAS CARDS?  Seems a little counter intuitive.

It must be to them as well – because front and centre on the front page of the website is this Q&A.

Q – Why is an environmental organization giving away free gas?

A – To motivate you to take action.  Summerhill impact challenges you to drive better and  drive less.

That doesn’t seem like a clear answer to me.  They go on to elaborate here.  The further explanation boils down to 3 points –

  1. Canadians are going to drive a lot anyway
  2. Canadians love cheap gas
  3.  We may as well try something new because what we have tried thus far to get people to drive less hasn’t worked.

I’m not sold. Not yet at least.  

Check out the website and make your own opinion at http://www.shuttlechallenge.ca.  



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Does size matter? Americans weigh in on housing desires

I’ve heard it said, and have often repeated, that one can get used to living in a smaller house (or condo or apartment), but you never get used to a long commute. After decades of continued car-dependent sprawl, maybe we’re all finally cluing in. Or maybe not.

According to the 2011 Community Preference Survey that outlines what Americans look for when deciding where to live:

Six in ten (59%) would choose a smallerhouse and lot if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less. Four in ten (39%) would stick with the larger houses even if their commute was 40 minutes or longer

OK, so we’re not exactly all on the same page here.

A couple other interesting factoids from the survey:

1) We want to walk.  More than three quarters of Americans consider having sidewalks and places to  walk one of their top priorities.

2) In fact, 6  in 10 people  said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.  (Probably the same six in ten that would sacrifice space for a shorter commute?)

3)  Even more important than walkability is sense of  neighborhood.  88% of respondents would choose a good neighborhood over a larger home.  What that means I’m sure is up for discussion.

I know these things are true for me personally, but I wonder about the 39% of people who would rather live in a larger home for 40 minutes extra commute. 40 MINUTES!!! That’s a long time to be on the highway, or on the train.  I’m sure it’s a matter of scale, for some.   I’d love some more detail on what those numbers mean for people individually.

Check out the full survey results here.  And let me know what you think.  Does size matter?

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