Last year we created the Way2Go CLT initiative, an effort to inspire Charlotteans to get around town in healthy, sustainable ways. Participants used the app to track trips, and could win prizes for their efforts! Now we have the results available; With over 1,500 participants over eight months, Way2Go CLT was definitely impactful. Check out some of the highlights below.
Relaxation, financial savings, better health, and a renewed sense of adventure were among the numerous benefits reported by many of the more than 1,500 area residents who participated in Sustain Charlotte’s Way2Go CLT sustainable transportation challenge in 2017. Between March 1 and October 31, program participants reduced miles driven alone by nearly 600,000.
Participants tracked their miles saved by walking, bicycling, riding public transit, car/vanpooling, and working from home. The environmental, health, and financial benefits were impressive:
- 141 tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented
- 5 million calories burned
- $140,000 in gas money saved
Some people participated as individuals while others joined teams organized by their neighborhoods, employers, or community organizations. Every ten trips logged resulted in a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses, including restaurant gift cards, coffee, jewelry, artwork, and more. A trip planning feature allowed participants to find bus and rail schedules, bike and walking routes, and cost of different modes of travel between any two locations.
Sustain Charlotte’s Executive Director Shannon Binns believes that Way2Go CLT has already had an impact far beyond the measurable benefits. “With 400,000 new residents expected in Charlotte over the next 25 years, now is the time to lay the groundwork for more sustainable transportation. That means investing in innovative solutions like Way2Go CLT that make it easier, safer, and more fun for people to get around without adding another car to our already congested roads.”
Binns said that the 600,000 miles logged by participants don’t reflect the challenge’s full impact: “Not all participants continued to log their daily trips, despite changing their behavior after being introduced to new travel options. Since this was a pilot project, we learned that it’s important to offer short mini-challenges to keep participation rates consistently high throughout the year.”
Individual experiences, collective impact
Participants shared photos and stories of how the challenge helped them save money, become more active, relax, and have fun.
Kecia B. shared, “I am very passionate about riding my 65X Express bus to work! I’ve ridden the 65X Express bus for almost 5 years now and it has changed my life! Not only do I save on gas and adding miles to my car, I am no longer stressed out from driving in traffic when I get to work or by the time I get home. I just sit back and let my CATS bus driver deal with traffic!”
Alexander B. discovered the value of a new way of commuting: “I think this challenge is really great because people do need a little encouragement to convince them to try a cleaner commute. I think once you try transit or carpooling you see how easy and worthwhile it is. I think one overlooked advantage of transit is avoiding the stress of rush hour traffic. I can spend my commute reading, listening to music, or just looking out the window. It’s time in the morning to gather my thoughts before work and time in the afternoon to unwind and decompress.”
Melanie T. enjoys the financial savings and adventure of walking to work: “ I enjoy my walk commute to work. I get to look at all the new things being built around the city as well as enjoy our beautiful city. I try to walk different routes to take it all in! You don’t get to see things like that when you are driving since you go by so much faster. It takes me just as long to drive to work as it does to walk plus it saves me a TON of money not having to pay for parking. I have friends that live and work uptown and drive to work and to me that is just crazy!”
More participant stories and photos are available at the Stories + News page.
The challenge continues
The initiative’s main funding came through a one year grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation in an effort to support pilot projects that will reduce vehicles on the road. The project received additional support from Kimley-Horn, Integra, and CATS.
Way2Go CLT was so successful that CATS adopted the program after Sustain Charlotte’s grant period ended in October. New participants can join the challenge and begin logging trips at way2goclt.com.
NCDOT’s Director of Public Transportation Debbie Collins says: “We’re excited that CATS will be continuing Way2Go CLT, which offers the public a user-friendly way to try and adopt new ways of commuting. Way2Go CLT is an innovative and engaging program that serves as a model for the rest of North Carolina.”