According to Environment Canada, air pollution kills more than 5,000 people throughout the country every year. Public transportation helps fight urban air pollution.
A single city bus can take 40 private cars off the road and keep 168 tonnes of pollutants out of the air each year. A family with one car instead of two can reduce its annual emissions by 10 per cent!
Transportation produces more than 28 per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions. Unless we reverse some vehicle-use trends, these emissions will continue to rise.
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Luckily, we have a range of options for getting around. Cities designed to encourage public (buses, trains) and active (walking, cycling) transportation help people and the environment stay healthy.
- Reduce air travel: Four to nine per cent of humanity's total climate change impact is from air travel. Try a flying "fast", travel less, buy high-quality carbon offsets.
- Make less garbage: When you fly, make your own waste-less travel kit. Say "no thank you" to single-use disposables during your trip.
- Bike to work: Try bike to work dos and don'ts for a safe and fun commute. Sing, ride in the rain and learn how to avoid getting "doored"!
- Carpool: Carpooling is a great way to reduce carbon emissions. It can also save time, money, and wear and tear on your vehicle, and lower the stress of daily driving.
- Go idle-free: Stop idling. Consider starting your own campaign at your workplace or in your neighbourhood. Check out these resources to get started.
- Commuter Challenge: Your workplace can join the Commuter Challenge each year in June. (Or organize it any time of year.)
- Electric cars: Electric cars start at around $16,000 with a 110-kilometre range. EV owners report they're quiet, fun to drive and some models are charged and ready to go in as little as six minutes. Read our top FAQs, part one and part two!
- Car-share: Many car sharers report a higher satisfaction with their quality of life, and drive about half the amount car owners do! Say goodbye to expenses such as vehicle purchase price, insurance, maintenance, fuel, tolls and parking.
- Plan a block party: Celebrate community (and close your street to cars) this spring, summer or fall and meet the neighbours. Perhaps piggyback on existing Car Free day(s) events in your city.
- Enjoy a staycation: Become a tourist in your city — ride the train, visit area attractions or celebrate local food. Your kids may call you cheap, but you'll open their eyes to great things close to home.
What's your biggest hurdle when it comes to reducing your transportation footprint?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green