Ditch the Keys and Be Car-Free for Cleaner Air

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Car Free Day is right around the corner, and people all around the world are preparing to ditch their keys for the day to help reduce traffic congestion and work towards creating a greener environment. Today, with over one billion motor vehicles on the roads around the globe, it sometimes seems as if we cannot escape the pollution, noise and danger that they produce.

Every year on September 22, Car Free Day aims to take the heat off the planet by encouraging people to be less dependent on their cars and try alternatives such as walking, biking, carpooling or utilizing public transit. Although Car Free Day is only a single day out of the year, the goal of the celebrations is to have a lasting effect by inspiring individuals and communities to live more sustainably. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available to help members of the St. Louis community leave the car keys at home and continue to take voluntary steps that can improve the quality of the air we breathe.

  • Metro Transit – The region’s public transit system is designed to eliminate the use of multiple vehicles on the road and offer great alternatives for the work commute or an option to hopping in your car for short trips. Serving St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Clair County, Ill., Metro Transit allows riders to walk to a nearby stop, or park and take a train or bus, or a combination of the two, to get where they’re going – safely, comfortably and conveniently. Those who live in Madison County, Illinois will find Madison County Transit to be a great alternative.
  • Ridesharing – With transportation-related emissions being one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, RideFinders offers a path to reduce those emissions by providing a free carpool and vanpool ride matching service for commuters to help improve the overall quality of the air. By sharing a ride instead of driving alone, commuters can save money and have a more relaxing trip. Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft match drivers of private vehicles to those seeking transportation and are also a great option to eliminate the use of multiple vehicles.
  • Walk or Bike – Walking and biking are great ways to burn calories instead of burning gas! Not only do they serve as eco-friendly ways to run errands and get around town when the weather is nice, use of these alternatives helps take cars off area roads and reduces the emissions that lead to poor air quality. Experts note that if just 1 percent of those who drive chose to bike regularly instead, automobile emissions would fall 2 to 4 percent.

Drop the keys and pledge to be car-free on September 22 to do your share for cleaner air and help people all across the St. Louis region breathe easier! For more great tips on how to achieve cleaner air all year long, visit http://cleanair-stlouis.com/air-quality-tips/, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.