How to get started with sustainable transportation
Welcome to Ride Together Pierce! Your hub for sustainable transportation resources in Pierce County. Our goal is to help you find alternative ways of getting around that are eco-friendly but also convenient and affordable. In this section, we will provide you with all the information you need to get started and get to wherever you're going!
Assess your current habits
Before making any changes, it's important to assess your current travel habits. This will help you identify areas where you can make changes and set realistic goals for yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How often do you drive alone?
- Do you use public transit?
- Do you walk or bike for short trips?
- Do you carpool or rideshare with others?
- What do you not enjoy about your current commute?
- What would you change about your commute?
- How far do you typically travel in a day?
Answering these questions honestly will give you a good idea of where you stand and what changes you can make. For example, if you drive alone to work every day, you may want to consider carpooling or taking public transit instead.
Remember, making sustainable travel choices doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing. Even small changes can make a big difference over time.
Choose the right transportation mode(s) for your commutes
There are three important factors to consider when choosing a mode of transportation: proximity to your destination, your time constraints, and your physical capabilities.
Walking and biking are great options for short distance trips in the neighborhood. If you live near public transportation options, like buses or trains, this may be a great opportunity to switch to a more eco-friendly mode of travel.
Alternatively, if you live in a suburban or rural area, consider carpooling, vanpooling or biking to your destination.
Time constraints are also important to consider. If you have a flexible schedule, again try walking or biking to work or school. This helps you get some exercise and also reduce your carbon footprint. However, if you're short on time and need to arrive quickly, ridesharing may be the best option for you.
Lastly, take into account your physical capabilities. If you have limited mobility, look for transportation options that cater to accessibility. Pierce Transit offers accessible buses and vans for people with disabilities. Or, if it works for your needs, you can try an adaptive bike.
Choose the right transportation mode(s) for non-work trips
Similar to commuting, you’ll also need to consider time constraints, physical capabilities, budget, and destination proximity when planning out your day-to-day activities and errands.
Once you've considered these factors, you can start to narrow down your options.
Here are a few of the most popular eco-friendly transportation modes for non-work trips:
Walking and biking: These are great options for short trips, and they're good for your health.
Public transit: This can be a convenient and affordable way to get around, especially if you live in a city.
Ridesharing: Put your money towards other goals of traveling or buying your cat more lion costumes! When you carpool you can save money on gas and parking, and it’s better for the environment than driving alone.
Overall, choosing the right mode of transportation for your lifestyle takes some consideration, but it's worth it. With a little effort, you can reduce your impact on the environment, have new ways to incorporate exercise into your day, make friends who encourage and support you and maybe even discover a new way to enjoy your daily commute.
Our best tips:
- If possible, try combining different modes of transportation to make your trips more efficient. For example, you can bike to the bus stop, store your bike on the rack in front of the bus and then take the bus to your destination.
- Start with planning a trial trip to see which modes of travel will work best for you.
- Start with one day per week when you change to an alternative commute. Don’t try to ride your bike five times a week to work right off the bat! Once a week will set you up for growth and success!
- Look for incentives or programs that can help you save money on transportation costs. Pierce Transit, for example, offers reduced fares for seniors, people with disabilities, and youth 18 and younger ride free.
- Consider the environmental impact of your transportation choices and try to opt for modes of transportation that are more eco-friendly, such as walking, biking, teleworking, or using public transportation.
- Lastly, be open to trying new modes of transportation and remember that making a change in your transportation habits can have a positive impact on your life, health, community and environment.
Connecting with other local riders can be a great way to make your experience more enjoyable. One way to do this is through online forums, apps and social media groups.
These platforms allow you to connect with other commuters in your area, share tips and advice, and even arrange carpooling or bike-sharing. Additionally, community events like Bike Month can also be a great way to meet other people who share your interests.
Here are some social platforms to get you started:
- Reddit's r/bikecommuting: A community of people who are passionate about biking.
- Facebook groups: There are many Facebook groups dedicated to sustainable transportation options, such as PNW Carpool & Rideshare, Ride Together Pierce, Tacoma Washington Bicycle Club and Carpooling between Seattle/Pullman/Spokane.
- Meetup: This website and app allows you to search for groups in your area based on your interests, including groups focused on sustainable transportation options.
- Strava: This app is primarily designed for tracking your athletic activities, like running and cycling, but it also has a community feature that allows you to connect with other cyclists in your area.
GO (FOR COMMUTES)
Ready to get on the move? There are a few simple steps you can take to make the transition easier.
- Pack your work bag the night before. This will help you avoid last-minute scrambling and ensure that you're prepared for whatever your commute may bring.
- Plan your route ahead of time. Save time and avoid getting lost. Consider using a GPS app, Google Maps or trip planner to make sure you're taking the most direct and efficient path.
- Look for employer programs. Your employer might have a transportation program that offers commuter subsidies for public transit, bike-share programs, carpooling or vanpooling. That’s more money in your pocket!
- Check for rewards programs for sustainable commuters. Free coffee anyone? Ride Together Pierce offers regular incentives for Pierce County residents who log their trips.
GO (FOR NON-COMMUTES)
Here are a few simple tips for using alternative modes of transportation for personal appointments, errands, events, and more!
- Plan your route ahead of time. Planners get the early worm — or something like that! Consider using a GPS app, Google Maps, or trip planner to make sure you're taking the most direct and efficient path.
- Look for transportation options that fit your needs. If you're going to a place that's not well-served by public transit, consider carpooling with a friend or family member. If you're going to a place that's close enough, walking or biking is a great way to get some exercise and save money on transportation costs.
- Check for rewards programs for sustainable commuters. Get free coffee and other cool prizes when you log your trips! Yes, even the ones you make at the grocery store or doctor's appointment. Ride Together Pierce offers regular incentives for Pierce County residents who log their trips.
- Be flexible. If your plans change, be willing to adjust your transportation plans accordingly. This will help you avoid any unexpected delays or inconveniences.
- Have fun! Exploring new transportation options can be a great way to see your city in a new way and get some exercise. So get out there and GO!
Next, check out these first time user guides: