Active Transportation at WashU

Caroline Ling and Seth Blum are Alternative Transportation Associates with the Office of Sustainability. They have coordinated this semester’s Active Transportation Month (ATM), a bi-annual initiative hosted by the Office of Sustainability and Parking & Transportation department. ATM has consistently drawn interest from Washington University staff, faculty, and students. The goal of ATM is to help the WashU community to kick the car habit and try active, low-carbon means of transportation. Through their involvement in ATM activities, participants become ambassadors of sustainable transit across campus and in the community.

The benefits of an active commute include improved health and wellness. Regular physical activity improves health by helping control weight and building and maintaining healthy bones and muscles. It also reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, depression, and anxiety.

Consider the following commutes and benefits:

  • Walking to class or work is a great way to raise your heart rate and burn calories. The average person will burn between 80 and 140 calories per mile walked.
  • Biking to class or work also helps burn calories. On average, a 150-pound person cycling a steady pace of 14 mph will burn 48 calories per mile.
  • Transit users take 30% more steps per day versus those using single occupant cars.

This semester, the ATM team has expanded partnerships to include Relay for Life, Outing Club and Bears Bikes. These partnerships have helped diversify event programming and introduce more students to the initiative. In addition, the team has developed a new point system to encourage participants to get involved in featured events and to earn points towards prizes.

The ATM team has also restructured the roles and responsibilities of Active Transportation Challenge participants to allow for more direct engagement. Fifteen teams from a variety of WashU departments and organizations have registered for the Challenge and are tracking their commutes in terms of miles logged, calories-burned, and CO2-saved. The ATM team sends a weekly newsletter to Challenge participants with an update on their team standing and to highlight a particular type of active transportation and upcoming events.

Upcoming events include:

Tower Grove Bike Ride

April 23: Leaving from Brookings steps, 10:30a-1:30p

Join us for a pedal-powered excursion to the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. A picnic lunch will be provided! Sign-up here.

Bike Tune-Ups by Big Shark Cycling Co.

April 25: School of Medicine’s Hope Plaza, 11a-2p

April 27: North side of Danforth University Center, 11a-2p

Big Shark mechanics will be on-site to provide FREE, professional tune-ups!

To learn more about ATM, visit the Facebook event page.

This article was written by Caroline Ling and Seth Blum. Read their bios.

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