The University of Tennessee has become a sponsor of Smart Trips, a program that promotes alternatives to driving alone. “Here to help you become a mobile genius,” the program promotes various alternatives to driving alone to and from work, such as: carpooling, taking transit, biking, walking, and telecommuting to work. On their savvy and user-friendly website, you can log your commutes, connect with other commuters, and calculate your commuting costs (gas and GHG emissions).
The US Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and Knox County all come together to extend this free service to those who live or work in Knox, Blount, Sevier, Jefferson, Anderson, Loudon, and portions of Roan and Cocke counties.
Why should you use it? Well, first: you can save money. A 12-mile commute to work by car daily costs approximately $4,000 a year in gas, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. Second: you can lessen your impact on the environment. The US government ranks the air pollution in this region as the 7th worst in the nation, and about half of that air pollution comes from the vehicles we drive. Third: think of all the prizes you can win! Gift cards from Bliss, Café 4, Just Ripe, Mast General Store, Panera Bread, Regal Cinemas, Three Rivers Market, and The Tomato Head – and the Annual Commuter Challenge prizes include iPads, Amazon Kindles, or even a $1500 vacation package, courtesy of AAA Travel.
It’s all so easy – they’ve even got you covered in emergencies with their Emergency Ride Home program. They will provide you a free ride home from work for people who have an emergency on a day that they used alternative transportation. And for those of you who already invested in a downtown parking pass? Smart Trips encourages you to cancel it in favor of a leaner and greener commute! They’ll even throw in four free parking passes for you (for the days you’re driving the carpool of course).
For more information or to sign up, check out Smart Trips’ website.