Office of Sustainability
Sustainable Transportation - What can you do?
What is Sustainable Transportation?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your transportation footprint.

  • Use public transportation. Find a current public transit schedule at Port Authority of Allegheny CountyExternal site link - opens in a new window.
  • Join a carpool or rideshare. For a listing of local opportunities, check out the Commute Info websiteExternal site link - opens in a new window
  • Try walking to nearby stores and restaurants. When moving, consider living close to work or near public transportation.
  • Try replacing your car with a bike. Check out the Pittsburgh Bike MapExternal site link - opens in a new window at Bike Pittsburgh for the best routes.
  • If you want/need a bike but cannot afford to buy one, check out Free Ride PittsburghExternal site link - opens in a new window. They offer various programs in which you can earn a free bike and learn how to repair it while volunteering your time.
  • Consider using alternative fuels in your vehicle.
  • When purchasing a new vehicle, consult resources like the EPA Green Vehicle GuideExternal site link - opens in a new window.

It is not usually practical to upgrade to a more fuel-efficient vehicle unless you are already in the market for a new one. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to increase the gas mileage of your current ride.

  • Follow recommended maintenance in the owner's manual. Fouled spark plugs, clogged fuel filters, and even using the wrong octane gasoline can greatly affect your fuel economy.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Inflating them to the pressure that is recommended in the owner's manual can increase fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent, according to the Department of Energy.
  • Remove excess weight. An extra 100 pounds can decrease fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent. Also, if you have a roof rack, install it only when necessary. Not only does it add extra weight, but it increases aerodynamic drag.
  • Avoid aggressive driving. Rapid acceleration and hard-braking decrease fuel efficiency. Instead drive smoothly, and stick to the speed limit.
  • Use the highest gear possible. Cars have the most power when they are in the lowest gears, and it follows that this is when they are the least efficient. Driving in the highest gear possible will decrease RPMs and increase fuel efficiency.
  • Use cruise control selectively. Cruise control can help gain efficiency by maintaining a steady speed. This technique only works on flat roads, as using it on hilly terrain may cause the vehicle to speed up faster to maintain the current speed.
  • Clean your car regularly. Keeping your car washed and waxed can improve fuel economy up to 7 percent by increasing aerodynamics.
  • Avoid idling. An idling car is burning gas without going anywhere- the worst gas mileage your vehicle can get!
  • Ventilate Properly. When driving at high speeds, it is more efficient to run the air conditioning instead of ventilating with the windows. At low speeds, using the windows is typically more efficient because using the air conditioning causes vehicles to use more fuel.
What can businesses do?

In addition to the power they have to "green" their own operations, organizations have the ability to affect change in their employees' behaviors, which can make as much or even more of a difference.

  • Create a formal program that rewards employees to change their commuting behaviors.
  • Provide bus tickets and schedules to employees willing to use them.
  • Provide the best parking spots to those who carpool.
  • If you traditionally pay for employee parking, give them the choice of free parking or a salary increase in the amount of the parking fees. Or give employees a monthly transportation stipend to cover parking, bus fees, etc. and let them decide how to use it. If they go over in parking fees, they have to pay the extra expense, but if they stay under they can keep the extra money.
  • If possible, provide partial financing for employees to purchase bikes or alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Make flex-cars available for employees.
  • Make sure that bikers have the proper facilities including bike racks, showers, and lockers.
  • Promote a "Bike to Work Month." Distribute information about local bike trails and routes.
  • Make it possible for employees to telecommute.
  • Replace long-distance travel with web conferencing.

 

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