Oregon DOT Asked State Residents to Drive Less, and They Did

In a small but symbolically important step for a state transportation agency, the Oregon DOT held a “Drive Less Challenge” from late October through November 1. Events like this one are held regularly in cities around the country, but it’s the first time a statewide department of transportation has hosted one, according to ODOT.

Oregon challenged its residents to drive less and they came through. Image: ##http://www.drivelessconnect.com/home## Drive Less Connect##
Oregon challenged its residents to drive less — and they came through. Image: ##http://www.drivelessconnect.com/home## Drive Less Connect##

The people of Oregon did not disappoint. Motorists reported driving 913,664 fewer miles during the 12-day challenge. That total far exceeded the DOT’s goal of half a million miles. The program resulted in a reduction of about 659,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and $225,000 worth of gas. Not too shabby!

The largest share of avoided car trips — 22,000 — were made by bike, followed by 13,000 carpooling trips, and 10,000 trips taken by bus.

Oregon plans to host the event annually.

“We think the broad involvement really shows how practical transportation options can be in saving families money, improving community health and preserving our high quality of life here in Oregon,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett, in a statement.

This program fits within the state of Oregon’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by the year 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Relying on the gas tax instead of replacing it with mileage-based driving fees could cost Oregon $340 million over 10 years, according to the state DOT. Image: ODOT [PDF]

Oregon’s Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fees: Ready for Prime Time, But Waiting for Approval

|
Oregon has led the way in developing an alternative to the gas tax, with a pilot program that levies a fee on vehicle miles traveled. While the Oregon Department of Transportation has spent years developing the mileage-based program and is ready to expand it to all vehicles statewide, it's not part of the massive transportation spending package under discussion at the legislature.
The current Columbia River Bridge is slated to be replaced with one that has room for  light rail. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Two Big Reasons States Keep Expanding Freeways

|
Highway widening advocates offer up a kind of manifest destiny storyline: population and traffic are ever-increasing, and unless we accommodate them we’ll be awash in cars, traffic and gridlock.  The rising tide of cars is treated as a irresistible force of nature. But is it?

How Much Driving Is Avoided When Someone Rides a Bike?

|
If Jane Doe rides her bike a mile to the post office and then back home, is it fair to assume she just avoided two miles of driving? And can we then assume that she prevented 2.2 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted? That’s more or less the way most agencies calculate averted vehicle-miles traveled. One […]