(NC)—For those who live in rural areas, giving up your vehicle and choosing to travel solely by alternate modes of transportation is difficult. However, driving less and looking to other transportation options to supplement your travel is do-able – and your health, community and environment will thank you.
Active transportation, or 'human-powered travel” refers primarily to walking and cycling but can also include in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even kayaking and canoeing. Although not all options are possible in every community, biking to the convenience store or walking to your neighbour's dinner party can have multiple benefits:
• Improve health by fighting obesity and chronic illnesses
• Offers independent mobility for children, youth and seniors
• Emission free, making it a powerful weapon against climate change and air pollution
Public transportation in small and rural communities is different than in larger urban centres. Many smaller communities do not have large-scale public transit services, but do have a variety of “social transportation” services for groups such as seniors, persons with disabilities or schoolchildren. Although more coordination is required for these services, sending our kids to school on a school bus or suggesting a service bus to your aging parents also have benefits:
• Offers families alternative ways to travel with small children
• Helps seniors who may otherwise have their travel restricted
• Produces less emissions compared to each rider taking their own personal vehicle
On top of these more sustainable modes of transportation, carpooling may be a convenient option for people who have a common destination, such as co-workers. If you do have to drive alone, help the environment by choosing not to idle your engine, accelerating and braking gently, and adhering to speed limits.
Additionally, as 1995 model year and older vehicles produce 19 times more smog forming emissions than a newer vehicle, choosing a newer vehicle can make a huge difference. You can find out more on this topic online at www.retireyourrideca.com before March 31, 2011.