Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank you, thank you and thank you!

It’s time we here at Smart Trips took a few moments to thank our loyal participants and all the newcomers who have joined us so far this year. Thank you!

We’d also like to thank the more than 500 folks who turned out to participate in our first annual Clean Commute Day. (However, this number may go up because participants have 30 days to log their commutes. Final numbers won’t be in until September 21st.)

And while we’re at it, there are probably some mornings – especially in the winter - when you'd rather not bike to work, wait on the bus or pick up a carpool rider; and yet you do it anyway! Because of this we’d like to express our gratitude to our region's unsung environmental heroes. We appreciate them and so does the environment.

Give yourselves a round of applause, just not while you’re behind the wheel or holding onto the handlebars, please!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Importance of Being a Logger

Sometimes folks will tell us that they always take the bus or bicycle to work but that they don’t log their trips. Reasons vary, but usually we hear some variation of, “I don’t do it for a gift card, I do it for the environment.”

On the one hand, we’re thrilled that they’re doing something besides driving alone to work. On the other, those logged commutes are the only way we have of tracking how many people are participating in Smart Trips on any given day, what mode of transportation participants are using and where they’re going to and from.

The information is important for more than just the distribution of gift cards. The data collected may be used in grant applications or as a tool for helping to make decisions about allocating transportation resources. The logs also help determine how much pollution has been removed from the region’s air and how many vehicles have been removed from the roadways.

So the next time you’re going to make a clean commute, yes, do it for the environment. Then, please take a moment to log your trip. Do it for the gift card. And thank you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Would You Do for an iPod touch?

Smart Trips is a truly fantastic program. It helps improve air quality and the health of area residents, eases traffic congestion and rewards participants who take part. C’mon, what’s not to like?

The problem is that Smart Trips is on a limited budget and we know we’re not reaching as many people as we could be, maybe even people who are already taking alternatives to driving alone. So what do we do? Offer incentives? Check. Hold contests and promotions? You betcha’. Bribe folks? Hey, wait a minute! But honestly, the reality is that we catch more flies, and by that we mean commuters, with honey.

With our What Would You Do for an iPod touch? contest, Smart Trips is offering up some mighty tasty honey in exchange for help drawing more commuters to the cause. On November 15th, we’ll be giving away an iPod touch to the Smart Tripper who can refer the most new registrants to Smart Trips during the months of September and October.

Read more about contest rules and eligibility, on our website at http://www.knoxsmarttrips.org/. And GOOD LUCK!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Your Mission – Should You Choose to Accept It

Every so often here at Smart Trips we’ll get an email or phone call asking how one can log their commutes in a hybrid, or on a motorcycle -- and probably coming soon – electric vehicles. The short answer is, well, you can’t. It’s not as simple as you might think.

Don’t get us wrong, we understand the reason for the confusion. Motorcycles can get good gas mileage, but most don’t produce fewer emissions. (Some actually are as polluting as SUVs!) Hybrids produce fewer emissions and get better gas mileage; electric vehicles will produce no emissions (at least from the tailpipe, but consider how much pollution was emitted during the electricity generation). All three types of vehicles still take up space on the road and in parking garages. And after all, Smart Trips’ mission is to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.

What to do? Well, carpooling is an option regardless of the type of automobile you drive. And carpooling in a hybrid or electric vehicle will ease traffic congestion and reduce even more emissions! Rather be on two wheels? Give bicycling a try. Or think about this: one bus removes the equivalent of about 40 vehicles from the highway.

And please know that however you choose to help the environment, Smart Trips applauds your efforts.