Trailblazing the Way to Greener Transportation
Portland is home to the Trailblazers and for good reason. And while that’s an NBA team, it’s an aptly named one. This city is filled of people who are blazing their own trail, and one of the most well-marked one is our eco-friendly approach to everything. Transportation accounts for 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions. As a result, green transportation options are important to most Portlanders. That’s why Portland makes it easy to find alternative transportation methods that will help us reduce our emissions. Here are just a few of those green transportation opportunities:
There’s hardly a corner you can’t find a bike to rent in this town, thanks to Nike BikeTown stations. (And during the whole month of May, you can ride for free. Read more about it here.) Just how friendly is biking in Portland? According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, 7.2% of commuters go by bike. (In fact, that’s 17,000 workers, folks! And it’s the highest percentage of bike commuters for a large city in the entire United States.) Not only that, it’s a growing trend. The number of bike commuters increased by 238% from 2000 to 2010. We have 350 miles of bikeways in Portland:
- 77 miles of neighborhood greenways
- 188 miles of bike lanes
- 85 miles of paths
And the icing on the cake in the land of bike facts? Portland is the only large American city to be awarded a platinum bike friendly ranking by the League of American Bicyclists. That’s their highest ratings. Kudos, PDX.
MAX Light Rail and TriMet Buses
All five lines of MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) run through downtown, making it easy to get around on public transportation. With 97 stations, 60 miles of track, and running about every 15 minutes each day, there’s not many places you can’t go on this more green transportation option. According to a study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, our region saves $150 million per year in congestion costs because of TriMet buses and MAX trains. Most noteworthy — did you realize that TriMet service eliminates 202,000 daily car trips around the metro area? Those are some pretty healthy numbers!
The City of Portland incentivizes employees who bike, walk, carpool, or use public transit to commute to and from work. In fact, they provide bus passes, loaner bikes, bike repair kits, rain gear, helmets, and access to showers at work. And they aren’t the only ones. Many businesses offer similar perks. Some even partner with the Biko app to earn currency for rewards by biking.
DMV Green Driver Incentives
To keep things as green as possible, Oregon DMV offers quite a few eco-friendly, green transportation driver incentives. Included are electric car emissions test exemptions, state and federal tax incentives, alternative fuel loans, auto insurance discounts, and more. No wonder there are so many electric cars on the road in Portland!
Carpooling is yet another option for a more eco-friendly commute by letting people share rides and the cost of driving. Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) can help people find carpooling partners, and even offers discounted parking within Carpool Parking Districts. If you’d rather find someone on your own and enhance green transportation, the Drive Less Connect website can hook you up. Added perk? If you’re headed north after work, carpooling allows you to use the HOV lanes, which can be a huge time saver. Additionally, (as if that weren’t enough), if you’re headed around town or out from Portland on a longer trip, you can rideshare easily by using the CarpoolWorld.com website.
While all these perks are incredible to know about, there’s yet another green transportation perk to note about area traffic management. Portland strategizes traffic light timing to reduce gas consumption and cut CO2 emissions. I’ll bet someone with a very high degree figured all that out, and I’m glad they’re passionate about the science so I can drive with more confidence. Undoubtedly, green transportation is important to Portlanders. And I’m sure glad it is! By all means, let’s see if we can all do even more!