10 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Transportation & Tourism Carbon Footprint
The Environmental Benefits of Walking and Bicycling
We believe Earth Day is a great way to raise environmental awareness so we are dedicating this blog post to explaining the benefits of touring, traveling and commuting by foot and by bike on any day of the year.
The good news is, our country’s share of bicycling and walking as transportation is currently about 10%. Short cycling and walking trips currently account for 23 billion miles traveled every year. Americans can save on fuel costs, reduce their carbon footprint, and increase healthy physical activity by biking and walking more often.
The average American drives around 15,000 miles a year and total miles driven has increased 3 times faster than population growth in recent decades, which puts a severe strain on our aging highways and roads. However, half of these trips can be completed within a 20-minute bike ride, and a quarter of trips are within a 20-minute walk.
If a bicycle commuter rides five miles to work, four days a week, they avoid 2,000 miles of driving per year. This translates to 100 gallons of gasoline saved and 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions avoided, which would reduce the average American’s carbon footprint by about 5%.
Owning and using a bike is not only more sustainable, it’s also more economical. The average cost of a new bicycle is around $350 and an e-bike is just over $3,000 which is a small fraction of the average cost a new car at $36,000 plus the average cost to own & operate a vehicle of over $8,600 per year.
A modest increase of just 3% in bicycling and walking throughout the United States could lead to:
- An annual reduction of 70 billion miles of automobile travel
- A reduction of 2.4 billion gallons of fuel per year
- A reduction between 21 and 45 million tons of CO2 a year
- Reduced traffic congestion on busy roads
- Significant transportation cost savings
Here are 10 ways you can reduce the impact of your own transportation needs on our planet and encourage more active modes of transport:
- Buy a new or used a bicycle or e-bike
- Bike or walk for shorter trips
- Carpool or commute to work by bike
- Book eco-friendly activities when traveling like walking, bicycling and kayaking tours
- Use public transportation along with walking or a bike
- Learn more about and support Transportation Alternatives in your Area
- Join bike advocacy groups like https://peopleforbikes.org/ and https://www.railstotrails.org/
- Donate to bike advocacy groups like https://peopleforbikes.org/ and https://www.railstotrails.org/
- Vote for initiatives in your area that expand bicycle infrastructure and accessibility
- Write a short, easy email to your representative or local newspaper about the importance of supporting trails, walking and biking as part of a balanced transportation system
Alice, Torin & The Flying Bike Team
Sources: Active Transportation for America Report supported by the Bikes Belong Coalition and Rails to Trails Conservancy • CO2 Savings Calculations based on data from www.fueleconomy.gov