News Release

Pledge to go Car Free on September 22

Sep 11, 2009

Washington, D.C.—Commuter Connections is inviting residents of metropolitan Washington to “Uncar for a Day” on Tuesday September 22 and to try taking transit, bicycling, walking, ridesharing and teleworking.  By pledging to go car free for the day, participants improve air quality, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint, and are entered in prize drawings.  Register for Car Free Day at www.carfreemetrodc.com

World Car Free Day is celebrated in 1,000 cities in 40 countries every September 22nd.  By challenging commuters, students and all residents to leave their cars behind, the event engages people in thinking about how their daily travel choice impacts their lives, their wallets and the environment.

“Car Free Day is a great annual reminder that there are many ways to get to work that don’t involve driving by yourself every day,’  said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, a regional transportation network coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments,. “In the Washington area alone, we lose countless hours in travel delays every year, and as a result purchase extra gallons of fuel to travel on congested roadways.” (see fact sheet below)

Washington celebrated Car Free Day for the first time in 2007 with about 1,000 District residents committing to car free travel for the day.  Last year’s event was expanded to the entire Washington Metropolitan Area, and participation topped 5,000.

This year, it is easier than ever to go car free, or to share the ride and go car-lite, by using Commuter Connections’ online ridematching system.  The system helps D.C., Maryland, and Virginia residents find a ride for their commute and for special events in order to avoid expensive transportation costs, traffic congestion and to improve air quality.

Once potential rideshare partners complete a simple online registration to include their work location and schedule, Commuter Connections matches them with others who have similar work schedules, live nearby and are interested in sharing the ride. The free site details nearby park and ride lots, transit stations and telework centers, bicycle routing, special event ridematching and a free Guaranteed Ride Home program to ensure the trip home in emergencies.

Register for Car Free Day at www.carfreemetrodc.com. It’s fast, easy and free.  For more information on instant ridematching, visit www.commuterconnections.org
 
Why "uncar"? (Fact Sheet)

On September 22, join thousands of Washington, DC area commuters and leave home without it.  Leave your car parked and get around another way for a day: try carpooling, taking mass transit, teleworking, bicycling or walking and save money, frustration and the environment!

You may already be taking advantage of this variety of commuting options—millions of Americans do every day, but you might not realize that when you do, you're doing something that reduces traffic congestion and your carbon footprint.  Whether you choose an alternate mode daily or go “car-lite” once in a while, every time you share a ride, you're helping to reduce emissions. . 

Consider these commuting facts:

  • Telecommuting, carpooling, using transit, walking, or bicycling just one day a week for a year can save typical commuters about 1,200 miles on their vehicles and about $567 in total driving costs. In 2008, the average household spent $9,158 on car costs, not including parking. (AAA).
  • Morning commuters traveling Eastbound on I-66 from the Va. 234 Bypass to the Capital Beltway experience a delay of 21 minutes, over the course of a 260-day work year - that’s more than 11 eight-hour days spent just in this one section of I-66. (National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board’s 2008 aerial highway congestion study)
  • Transportation accounts for more than 28% of our country’s energy consumption and more than 25% of our air pollution. (USDOT National Household Travel Survey)
  • Commuters are eligible for a pre-tax payroll deduction of up to $230 per month from their employer when commuting by transit or vanpool!  Through federal tax benefits for commuters, employers can cover transit or vanpooling costs as pre-tax income which means less taxes paid by both employers and employees.
  • When using an alternative commute mode in the Washington area, commuters can qualify for the free Guaranteed Ride Home program in an emergency or for unscheduled overtime  learn more at www.commuterconnections.org. Some restrictions apply.
  • A vehicle with four passengers which gets 15 mpg is 2.4 times more efficient than four small sedans with one passenger getting 25 mpg.
  • After housing, transportation-related expenditures are the second largest for the average American household, exceeding food, education, recreation, and healthcare (U.S. Department of Labor).
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