Green Commute Challenge participants reduced driving and pollution during summer months

Jeff Gulley on recumbent bike
Jeff Gulley, who works at UMB Bank, biked to the River Market as part of the Get Moving event on Sept. 21. Green Commute Challenge participants were encouraged to walk or bike to a nearby restaurant instead of driving there.

Commuters from local companies saved enough miles during MARC’s fifth annual Green Commute Challenge to drive Interstate 70 from Kansas City to New York City — and back — nearly 669 times.

This year’s challenge ran from July 9 through Sept. 28 and was presented by MARC’s RideShare and Air Quality programs. The Green Commute Challenge encourages employees of participating organizations to help take cars off roads by using alternative transportation for their daily commutes, like carpooling, bicycling and riding the bus. It’s a fun way for employers and commuters to address air quality and gas prices during hot summer weather and peak travel season.

The 30 teams and 970 people who competed in the Green Commute Challenge:

  • cut 796,678 miles of driving,
  • prevented 768,589 pounds of ozone-forming and greenhouse gases, and
  • saved $167,302 in driving costs.

Teams from three employers rose to the top of the ranks based on most total points:

  • Small employer category – Rees Masilionis Turley Architecture
  • Medium employer category – Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
  • Large employer category – UMB Bank

The three-month challenge was broken into themes focusing on the environmental, interpersonal and health benefits of alternative transportation.

July – Take Care of Our Air. Fewer vehicles on the road reduces traffic congestion and ozone-forming emissions. Participants helped make air in the Kansas City area healthier for everyone to breathe.

Buddy Winheim who works at MRI Global recognizes the environmental and economic impacts of sharing a ride to work. “I like commuting [by carpool] because it is good for the environment and reduces the monthly expenses for traveling to and from work,” he said.

August – Make Connections. There’s more to choosing alternative modes of transportation than just saving money. Many participants made new friends while carpooling and riding the bus.

“What I like best about carpooling is the company,” said Hallmark employee Sally Anderson. “I really enjoy the conversations.”

September – Get Moving. Active modes of transportation, like biking and walking, can help people manage their weight and stress leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Kenneth Bilderback bicycled to his job at the city of Overland Park. “By adding a few more minutes to my commute, I am able to get my workout in for the day, which allows me more family time later in the day,” he explained.

The winning teams will be recognized at an awards luncheon on Oct. 26 at the Gladstone Community Center. Final contest results

The 2012 Green Commute Challenge was sponsored by UMB Bank, Commerce Bank, vRide, Foth, Gastinger Walker Harden + BeeTriplett and Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.

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