November 11th, 2011
SMART KIDSOptimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.
A class of sixth graders from Morning Side Elementary is making wise travel choices.
In an effort to cut back on emissions and save energy, the students have been trip chaining, carpooling, walking to school and using UDOT’s TravelWise Tracker to chart how many trips are saved as a result of those wise choices.
The four week effort was in preparation for the “Care to Clear the Air” campaign, which invites Wasatch Front residents to choose strategies that reduce emissions during the winter inversion season. Students took center stage at a kick-off event with a songs presentation aimed at motivating others to care about the air we all breathe.
Utah’s Division of Air Quality monitors pollutants along the Wasatch Front throughout the year and issues green, yellow and red alerts. Inversions happen when cold air is trapped below warm air between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. Pollution from cars or other sources, such as wood burning stoves, can sit on the valley floor until the weather patterns shift– that change could take several days.
DAQ encourages drivers to take actions to curb pollution during red alert days. UDOT’s TravelWise website lists strategies that can help drivers curb trips, reduce traffic congestion and save energy during inversion season or any time of year.
Each of us has a chance to make small choices that eventually add up to big results.
The TravelWise Tracker is an online tool that lets users calculate the amount of energy and emissions saved by using alternatives to driving alone. Even small changes can save emissions, time and energy.
“You guys are the next generation of leaders,” said Charlie Lansche, who spoke at the event on behalf of Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is representative of hundreds of businesses that have participated in the annual summer Clear the Air Challenge. By using TravelWise strategies, Fidelity employees saved 11 thousand trips that added up to 320 thousand pounds of emissions.
Lansche and others at the event encouraged area residents to pay heed to the kids. “I can’t think of better spokespersons,” said Lansche of the enthusiastic group of students.
Check back to see an upcoming blog post about the trips and emissions saved by the students and their families.
- Sign up to use the TravelWise Tracker
- Road users who adopt TravelWise strategies can see many benefits including enjoying a less stress-free commute or a more economical use of time when running errands
- Get air quality alerts on your smart phone by texting “cleartheair” to 69302
- Check current air quality conditions
- Read a past post about how UDOT conforms to air quality standards