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May 08

Celebrating Clean Air Month 2019

Posted on May 8, 2019 at 8:21 AM by Brooke Kochanski

Bike Graphic

23,259,000: That’s how many trips PART Express Buses and Vanpools have taken off the roads this year. All those millions of trips have helped prevent 58 tons of pollutants from entering our air and clogging our roadways (and lungs).

So why are we kicking off this post with a (sorry-not-sorry) humblebrag? Because May is Clean Air Month, and we’re proud of the contributions we’re making to improve air quality throughout the Piedmont Triad.


Each May, the American Lung Association helps raise awareness for air quality across the country by highlighting both the challenges we face and their many solutions. Time and time again, public transit is highlighted as one way to reduce the amount of congestion-related air pollutants.


The EPA reports that transportation accounted for 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, which means that changes to our daily commuting habits can make a significant impact. Even more than industrial manufacturing and electricity production, transportation accounts for the biggest percentage of harmful emissions, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.


But how important is improving air quality anyway? Here are some of the most common illnesses and conditions associated with polluted airways:


  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Increased asthma complications
  •  Certain strains of cancer
  • Added stress to our heart and lungs


In addition to the harmful effects pollutants can have on people, they are also harmful to our environment. For instance, fossil fuel consumption releases high levels of toxic gases like sulfur dioxide into the air, which combines with other gases and water to create harmful acid rain.


Those gases also contribute to the broader effects of climate change, combining with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap harmful pollutants and increase global temperatures.


So how can you help improve air quality? Taking public transit — even just a few times per week — is a great place to start.


According to a study by our friends at DART (Delaware Authority for Regional Transit — no relation but we like their style), buses like our PART Express program “emit only 20% as much carbon monoxide per passenger mile as a single-occupant auto.”


That’s because, on average, most cars put close to 575 pounds of pollutants into the air each year. So every trip you take on public transit helps reduce that number, which can have a positive cumulative effect when more people follow your lead.


And if taking a PART Express bus doesn’t fit into your daily commute, we can help you create a shared Vanpool route with 7-15 of your co-workers. This program, part of our broad Commuter Resources initiative, allows for the sharing of one van for a low monthly fee that covers gas, insurance and maintenance. And as an added bonus, you’ll save money while you’re helping to lower daily emissions!


You can also find ways to share your daily commute with programs like Share the Ride NC. This free service matches you up with other commuters in the Triad either looking for people with similar commute routes. You can then either volunteer your car or join someone else, helping reduce the amount of congestion and emissions throughout the Triad.


So how will you celebrate Clean Air Month? Maybe you’ll take a PART Express bus the next time you want to travel from Winston-Salem to Greensboro. Or maybe you’ll start a conversation with your employer about launching a free Vanpool program. However you choose, we’d love to help out in any way we can.


Because together, we can improve not just our daily lives, but the life of our planet, too.


Be sure to participate in the Clean Air Challenge May 13th – 18th. All you have to do it take a pic of yourself taking a clean commute and upload to Facebook. Be sure to tag us! You could win a 31-Day Pass!


To learn more, visit the Clean Air Website or call 336-883-7278.