Walking vs. Driving

By Valentine and Sara

There are major incentives when it comes to walking to your local coffee shop or biking to classwhether it be reducing your carbon footprint or saving some money (and time) when finding a parking spot.

According to a study on the role of individual, workplace, and environmental attributes in incorporating walking or cycling into car journeys to and from work, 31 percent of car commuters regularly incorporated walking or cycling into their commute. However, factors such as health limitations and location can have an impact on the accessibility of some in the endeavor of reducing driving.  

This study also came to the conclusion that those without access, or require a fee to park at their destinations, are more likely to incorporate walking or cycling into their commute. This sustainable incentive is similar to the charge for plastic bags at grocery stores in states such as California, where shoppers are likely to bring their own bags to prevent additional costs.

Along with environmental incentives, walking as opposed to driving contributes to population health improvement. According to the same study, “encouraging walking or cycling for transport could benefit population health not only by increasing physical activity, which helps prevent disease and improve wellbeing, but also by reducing noise, air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, which may mitigate future climate change.”

We have been walking more whenever we can. The grocery store, our university campus, and local businesses are just a short walk away! Due to the warmer weather, we are walking and taking the time to be outside, rather than taking a faster commute with a car.

To understand the set of emissions that is emitted by different modes of transportation, it is helpful to reference this graph. The graph helps to give a clear picture of which travel options cause the most emissions, which are light-duty vehicles.

Of course, this is not always a viable option when your destination is farther than walking distance, but it is an alternative when going to a location that is nearby. We are also encouraging our friends to carpool to destinations as well; the key is to break the common habits as a group, holding each other accountable for actions that have alternatives.


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