Rethink Your Ride: An Excuse to Ditch the Car During the Commuter Challenge
by Katherine Mayer
People in Thunder Bay are being challenged by their workplaces during June 5 – 11. The Commuter Challenge is a national, week-long, friendly competition between Canadian cities and workplaces that encourages Canadians to leave their cars at home and celebrate active and sustainable transportation. Commuters are rewarded for walking, cycling, carpooling/ride-sharing, taking city transit and telecommuting instead of driving alone for the week.
Ashley Priem, Program Coordinator for EcoSuperior Environmental Programs and City Coordinator for the 2016 Commuter Challenge, is hoping Thunder Bay workplaces will participate and encourage their employees to commute. Last year, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre had the highest overall participation in the Commuter Challenge for Thunder Bay, with over 100 employees logging a commute during the week. Because of their enthusiasm for the challenge, the 2016 Commuter Challenge launch will be held at the Health Sciences Centre on June 6.
Active transportation benefits the entire community by increasing social interaction, supporting local businesses and reducing traffic jams (especially during construction season) and stress. “Workplaces in Thunder Bay can also benefit from the Commuter Challenge, as active transportation is a great way to enhance employee productivity, health and job satisfaction,” says Priem.
2015 Thunder Bay Commuter Challenge Results
Thunder Bay Participants: Over 500
Kilometres Logged: 35,000 km
Litres of Fuel Saved: 2,300 litres
Kilograms of CO2 Avoided: 5,900 kg
Calories Burned: 60,000 calories
Participants in the Commuter Challenge will also get a jump on their day and increase physical activity levels. “Only 15% of adult Canadians meet the recommended amount of physical activity per week (150 minutes), and participating in the Commuter Challenge can help them achieve this goal. For people who are thinking about trying a different way to commute to work, they should know that participants only need to make at least one commute during June 5 – 11 to qualify as a participant and win prizes. Hopefully it encourages them to commute sustainably every day. Sustainable transportation also saves money! Driving 18,000 km per year costs an average of $8,441.25 per year and transportation related emissions will cost the health care system $11 billion to $38 billion between 1997 and 2020,” states Priem.
To register, view last year’s results, or find out more, visit the Commuter Challenge website at www.commuterchallenge.ca. You can also check out the ecosuperior.org/commuterchallenge website and the Commuter Challenge Thunder Bay Facebook page to find out more about local events and prizes. Participants are encouraged to tweet their commutes throughout the week at #cctbay and share commuting pictures!