By BB Denton | Apr 18, 2024
Sqwatch the sasquatch in front of a bus, with the text "Swatch's secrets: getting around"

Cars can be a quick and convenient way to get where you’re going - but they have an invisible impact. In many countries, including the U.S., transportation is the source of the majority of greenhouse gas emissions.

The combustion of fuel in cars and trucks directly contributes to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide into the environment, while also worsening air pollution. To limit these effects when possible, it is important to be intentional with your transportation choices by choosing cleaner options. 

There are many alternatives to driving! We at UW are lucky to reside in Seattle, a bike friendly city with a robust public transportation system. Riding the bus or light rail can cut your environmental impact and transportation costs, especially since nearly all students and faculty have a U-PASS for unlimited rides on regional transit. If you’re having difficulty piecing your commute together, consider using Metro King County’s Trip Planner for some help, or the One Bus Away app to stay on top of bus arrival times. 

Active modes of transportation like biking and scootering are also low carbon options, especially for those traveling shorter distances. Used bikes can be a low-cost option, or the U Bike program offers quarterly rentals for students. UW has a number of bike storage options across campus for commuters. Also, with the rise of bike sharing apps, electronic bikes and scooters can be easily procured for short periods of time as well. 

If you find yourself needing a car to get to your destination, there are still ways to limit your impact. Carpool when possible to minimize traffic congestion and the unnecessary emission of pollutants. Consider using a rideshare app like Gig to rent a car on an as needed basis instead of buying one and driving every day. If you own a car, make sure to keep it maintained to ensure the fuel consumed is working as efficiently as possible.

If you can, we encourage you to try a new way to get somewhere you normally drive to. Who knows, in trying to be more sustainable maybe you will find something that works better for your day to day!

More information:
Congressional Budget Office - CO2 Emissions from Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Pollution from Transportation