City Officials Tout Commute Alternatives

Every year the Houston-Galveston Area Council has a big push in August to get people to try out different commuting alternatives. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more on this year's No-Solo Driving Pledge.

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Houston-area commuters spend nearly $10,000 a year on transportation, according to a study released by the Surface Transporation Policy Project. And that's one of the hooks for the H-GAC's No-Solo Driving Pledge. Director of Transportation Planning Alan Clark says they're trying to get the message out that commuting with just one person to a car is more expensive, time-consuming and worse for the environment.

"Even if we get a small percent who are just occasional users, it can make a big difference in the number of vehicle miles that were taken off the road, the amount of gas we're not burning, the amount of pollution we're not creating. So it certainly does make a difference. And I know one individual thinks well what am I doing. I think the first thing is, that person's probably saving themselves times and money so certainly there's something for you there. But more importantly, you add that in with all the other folks who are sharing a ride somewhere and we're cutting down on the costs of congestion and travel."

The No-Solo Driving Pledge is a request to commuters to try out at least one alternative form of commuting for at least one day in August. To kick off the effort, a number of Houston City Councilmembers signed the pledge, including Councilwoman Addie Wiseman, who also chairs the H-GAC's Board of Directors.

"The Houston-Galveston Area Council will be engaging in community outreach and one of the things that they'll be doing is going out to our regional park and ride locations to continue to promote alternative solutions. And I, as someone who wants to set an example, will be riding Metro's park and ride."

For several years, the H-GAC has used August as the month to highlight commute solutions. Clark says they do see a spike of participation at the end of summer and growth has been steady over the past few years.

"We picked the month of August because a lot of folks are thinking about the new year, especially those who have kids and are thinking about the school year. Or folks who have maybe moved into our area over the summer and don't know about these programs. So it really is a very good time and we always see a lot of growth."

Those interested in taking the No-Solo Driving Pledge can find more information about different commute alternatives through a link on our website, kuhf dot org. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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