BOSTON – Tuesday, September 10, 2013 -- The Patrick Administration is encouraging residents to leave their cars in the driveway and try bicycling, walking, public transit, carpooling or vanpooling for Massachusetts Car-Free Week. With the underlying theme of “Pick a Day, Commute Another Way,” Massachusetts joins over 1,000 cities in 40 countries across the globe in an effort to showcase the community, financial and environmental benefits of reducing the number of vehicles on the road with an entire week dedicated to choosing a day to commute another way.
“This summer MassDOT announced that for the first time all public transportation options in the Commonwealth, including the MBTA and all 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), now have their routes and schedules fully accessible on Google Maps. This enhancement to transit access statewide is key in providing opportunities for mode-shift during Car-Free Week and all year-round,” said MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey. “Car-Free Week is also a great time to remind individuals to sign-up for NuRide to get rewards for their green commutes. It’s a free program, it’s easy to use and MassDOT is actually rewarding you for incorporating sustainability into your daily travels.”
MassDOT, in partnership with MassRIDES and MassCommute, will reward those who take green modes of transportation during Car-Free Week through NuRide. NuRide is the nation’s largest rewards program for individuals who take greener trips. Commuters who use NuRide, are helping Massachusetts to promote a cleaner Commonwealth. By reporting carpool, vanpool, bicycle, walking and transit trips on a commute calendar, individuals earn points and redeem rewards for restaurant coupons, retailer discounts and tickets to shows and attractions. NuRide also boasts the capability of providing carpool matching for commuters traveling within Massachusetts.
MassDOT’s participation in Massachusetts Car-Free Week supports GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative of MassDOT. Within its GreenDOT initiative, MassDOT and the MBTA have worked to dramatically reduce bus exhaust emissions by modernizing the MBTA bus fleet with the addition of Compressed Natural Gas, Electric Trolley, Dual Mode and Emissions Controlled Diesel buses. The MBTA is also undertaking the first locomotive retrofit project in the nation, testing a diesel oxidation catalyst on one commuter train. GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The GreenDOT policy initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008. This law requires an economy-wide 2020 emissions reduction mandate of 25 percent, the first step toward a required 80 percent reduction by 2050. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts.
“Car free week encourages people to bike, walk or take the bus to work or the store, leading many to discover that doing so is more enjoyable, beneficial, and practical than they might think," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan. "Getting some exercise instead of driving is good for peoples’ health and well-being, as well as the environment through reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Recent announcements of funding to complete the Neponset River Greenway and the opening of the Spicket River Greenway in Lawrence are but two examples of how EEA will continue to work with MassDOT and others to build places for people to walk and bike.”
Another important and ambitious goal set by MassDOT in the GreenDOT Implementation Plan is to triple the amount of travel by bike, on foot and via public transit. In collaboration with regional transportation partners, local leaders, advocates and customers, MassDOT is reconsidering what is possible for our transportation system in regard to healthier, greener and cleaner mobility. Getting enough people to commute another way would allow Massachusetts to achieve a better quality of life, improve our environment and preserve capacity on our highway network that is important for economic growth.
Every September 22, cities and towns around the world come together to promote car-free travel. World Car-Free Day began in Europe and has quickly spread to communities globally as a way to promote the environmental, financial, community and health benefits of using public transportation, carpooling, bicycling and walking. Several U.S. cities hold events on World Car-Free Day; however, no other state in the nation has proclaimed a statewide Car-Free Day celebration.
For more information about Massachusetts Car-Free Week, visit www.mass.gov/massdot/carfree or email Rebecca.Cyr@dot.state.ma.us.
Find Massachusetts Car-Free Week on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carfreeweek and follow us on Twitter using #CarFreeWk.
For more information about GreenDOT and for transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website, www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.
For more information about MassRIDES, the Statewide Travel Options Program, visit www.commute.com, www.facebook.com/massrides or follow MassRIDES on twitter at www.twitter.com/massrides
For more information about MassCommute, the Massachusetts Transportation Management Associations, visit www.masscommute.com or follow MassCommute on twitter at www.twitter.com/masscommute.