If you’ve thought about switching up the way you travel around Charlotte, now is the time.
On March 1, Sustain Charlotte launched Way2Go CLT, an eight-month challenge to motivate and enable Charlotteans to drive 1 million fewer miles alone in their cars by Oct. 31.
To kickstart that motivation, Sustain Charlotte revealed some freaky statistics during a press conference, like:
– 250,000 automobiles are expected to be brought to Charlotte by 400,000 new residents between now and 2040. And those people will be bringing no amount of infrastructure or space to hold all the new traffic additions.
– On average, the 2016 cost of congestion per driver in Charlotte was $878, which includes the opportunity cost of time spent in traffic, increased fuel costs and the social cost of vehicle emissions.
On the plus side, Sustain Charlotte has found that 50.7 percent of Charlotteans would like to bicycle more, 76.6 percent would like to walk more and 56 percent actually live within a 10-minute walk to a public transit stop.
Do you fit those numbers? This is where the Way2Go CLT website and app come in. They can be found here. Way2Go CLT, a partnership with N.C. Department of Transportation, Kimley-Horn, Integra Architecture and the Charlotte Area Transit System, is powered by RideAmigos, a national transportation demand management platform, and lets you log miles that you travel by transit, carpool, biking or walking.
It’s quite handy. The app automatically detects when a commute has occurred, so you don’t have to remember to continually log your commutes. It has features like a multi-modal trip planner with routes and costs of different transportation choices, and bikepooling and carpooling matching that can connect you to other app users (you determine who you interact with, kind of like online dating).
There’s also a cumulative logging screen that shows you how many trips you have logged, the distance you have logged, the calories you have burned, the CO2 reduction you have contributed, the money you have saved and other details.
While the route options supplied by Way2Go CLT try to optimize for low-traffic volume streets, Meg Fencil, program director for Sustain Charlotte, said, “We really encourage people to consider their safety first.”
Take a look at Google Street View, try the route on a low-traffic day, or drive the route first to determine your comfort level.
Also take a look at incentives, such as opportunities to win prizes like gift cards, local business experiences and more. You can add a little competitive edge by forming teams, which employers like Shook Kelley, Duke Energy and Crown Town Compost have already done.
To lift this project off the ground, Sustain Charlotte received a $54,000 grant from NCDOT, supplemented by a local match of $6,000. They have had conversations with CATS about perpetuating this initiative longterm, as well.
And even though the challenge officially began March 1, Sustain Charlotte has been recruiting people to the platform for several weeks.
“Users have already logged over 5,000 miles,” Fencil said. “So we’re getting to our goal of a million.”
Photo: Katie Toussaint