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Our Green Commute Year: Tale of the tape

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/10/18 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Transportation choices

The end of July marked the first-year anniversary for Cleveland Museum of Natural History switching to Gohio Commute, the regional, green transportation web portal that is our exclusive tool for tracking participation in employer-based transportation incentives.

<br />CircleLink shuttle bus includes a free, commuter route that was extended from University Circle into Little Italy and Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights in 2017.

During that time, we have encouraged full- and part-time employees eligible for the Museum's parking cash out program to track their non-single-occupancy (SOV) vehicle trips—walking, biking, transit, carpool or vanpool—online at the free, gohiocommute.com site.

As administrator of the Museum’s program and a regular bike commuter, I was pleased to have such a robust reporting tool for the first time. We look forward to many years of trending participation in sustainable transportation, and we thank NOACA for providing this easy-to-use tool for carbon reductions reporting as part of the Museum’s effort to be more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint.

In our first year, 45 Museum staffers logged 4,195 non-SOV trips totaling 36,651 miles which saved 7.24 tons of carbon dioxide, a climate change-inducing gas, from entering the atmosphere. Our carpoolers led the way with 2,693 trips, followed by bike (627), walk (496) and transit (196) trips.

Whether motivated by cash (the Museum provides up to $50/mo.), doing good for the environment, or saving at the pump (which Gohio Commute calculates), we were proud to contribute to the overall 33,197 non-SOV trips logged by companies in Northeast Ohio. Our region was second in the state, just behind Central Ohio, which logged 35,036 trips in the first year.

University Circle institutions led the way with one-third of the Northeast Ohio’s five-county non-SOV trips. University Hospitals laid claim to the most (7,949) trips for a single employer.

Also for the second year, the Museum participated in a University Circle-wide Commuter Survey. Data was collected on commuting habits and factors that influence mode choice. With nearly 4,000 responses, most from the Near East Side suburbs, the survey found that 84% of Circle employees drive alone. When asked what might influence a decision to shift modes, respondents cite cost and time as the top reasons keeping them from making a change. Most employees in University Circle pay to park their car, but it is unclear whether the cost to park a car is being considered in this decision.

When asked what other mode they would consider, most picked carpool.

Interestingly, biking topped the list of those most satisfied with their mode choice, while solo drivers expressed the most dissatisfaction with their mode choice. The least happy with their commutes are those who drive 25 or more miles to work.

And yet privatized transportation is strongly embedded in Northeast Ohio. Generations of subsidizing cheap housing in new suburbs served by new highways may be contributing to less fulfillment as well as a fewer sustainable transportation options in Northeast Ohio.

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