DLC challenge
By Katy Bryce for Commute Options

Reduced gasoline costs and carbon emissions, less wear and tear on vehicles, active transportation, and daily raffle prizes all have one thing in common—the Oregon Drive Less Challenge. The second annual Drive Less Challenge, held from October 6-19, called upon Oregonians from across the state to try transportation options such as carpooling, walking, biking, riding the bus and telework.

The 2014 Drive Less Challenge was a huge success both locally and across Oregon. In the Central Oregon region, from the Columbia River south to Klamath Falls, residents showed a solid commitment to the effort by choosing transportation options over driving their car alone.
Central Oregonians participated in the fourteen-day challenge with a total of 5248 bike trips, 3832 carpool trips, 201 bus trips, 1720 walking trips, 320 telework trips, 64 compressed workweek trips, 20 vanpool trips and 35 other trips.

The Drive Less Challenge is one of the many ways that show how choosing transportation options can positively benefit our communities, environment and pocketbook. All combined, we made 11,440 trips using transportation options over a 14 day period! These actions in Central Oregon alone resulted in:

• 104,340 miles of non-single occupant vehicle miles logged.
• 62,900 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions kept from entering the atmosphere.
• 3,106 gallons of gasoline saved.
• $23,756 of cost savings associated with driving.

Across the state, thousands of Oregonians eliminated 1,082,491 motor vehicle miles—exceeding the goal of 1 million motor vehicle miles. This translates into a savings of 38,507 gallons in gasoline, 749,024 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and $286,091 to Oregonians by not driving alone.

Participants logged their commute miles through the Drive Less Connect website at www.drivelessconnect.com and had the chance to win daily prizes such as a custom made Bike Friday commuting bike, Cascades East Transit passes, Nutcase Helmets, Keen Footwear gift certificates, Ruffwear gift cards and more. The most new participants in our region came from Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls. Sky Lakes Medical Center is committed to transportation options and recently signed up to be a Commute Options Partner.

Kim Curley of Commute Options and local lead organizer for the Challenge adds, “This year’s Drive Less Challenge was great and people in our region showed their commitment to transportation options. The dates for the 2015 Challenge are October 5-16, 2015, so be sure to mark your calendars!”

Oregon drivers travel an estimated 33.4 billion vehicle miles annually, at a cost of about $1.4 billion in gasoline, resulting in 14.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Light vehicle use in the state accounts for 34 percent of Oregon’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so having viable transportation options is a priority in reducing greenhouse gasses. The state of Oregon has set a goal to achieve greenhouse gas emission levels that are 75 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

Commute Options encourages Central Oregonians to participate in transportation options whenever possible. If we can have such an impact in two weeks, think about what we can do over the course of a year. There are many opportunities to save motor vehicle miles year round and Commute Options can help you get started!

Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org

Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com