If you’re still scrounging for a New Year’s Resolution, take a page from our book: resolve to drive less this coming year. Not to go less places, not to do less things, but to simply drive less. Recognizing we have a problem is the first step – approximately 92 percent of people in the region drive alone to work (16 percent higher than the national average). This is astounding, especially when you consider how many different options we have for travelling locally here at UT Knoxville. We have public transportation both on campus and throughout the city of Knoxville, we have the greenways that are perfect for biking, walking, running, or even hoverboarding, as well as the sheer fact that everyone you’re stuck in traffic with before and after work is headed in the same direction as you at the same time (just look at all of those carpooling opportunities!).
Driving a car costs money, and more than just the cost of gas. Maintenance, insurance, depreciation, and yes, gas, add up to between $7500 and $9500 a year – and that’s not including the cost of the car itself. The more you drive it, the more it costs, and the more you’re at risk: accounting for approximately 40,000 deaths a year, driving a car is one of the most dangerous things you can do. The environment, of course, is another consideration. Due to our high driving rate, our region’s air quality is ranked 7th worst in the nation. Commuting alternatives, like carpooling, biking, or walking, help us shrink our greenhouse gas emissions, and if you’re choosing something active, help us shrink our waistlines too!
If saving money and burning calories aren’t enough incentive for you, check out Smart Trips, a commuter rewards program that promotes alternatives to driving alone. They have a ridematching service so you can get in touch with people near you who are looking to carpool, they have a number of awesome services like Emergency Ride Home that make alternative commuting a breeze, not to mention their Commuter Rewards program that gives you prizes for your environmentally conscious choices.
For those of you ready to take the plunge and leave your car at home for the semester, you can rest assured that you’d have a ride if you ever needed it: between your friends and UT’s partnership with ZipCar, a car sharing service that gets you where you need to go when you need to go without all the hassle and accompanying responsibility car ownership brings.
For more information on transportation options here at UT Knoxville, email us at email@example.com. Safe travels!