I have never actually made new years resolutions before and am not likely to start now. I have, however made resolutions at other times of the year. A few years ago I resolved to change my commuting habits to be more friendly for the environment. I have achieved great success in this area.
For 2007 here are my statistics:
- Rode the bus - 129 times
- Telecommuted - 48 times
- Bicycled - 18 times
- Drove a single occupancy vehicle - 8 times.
I am reasonably pleased with these results. I would, of course, like the bike riding to be higher and the driving to be lower. The car dependency were primarily for errands, a couple of volunteer activities, and to travel to offsite alternative transportation meetings which occur at location that public transportation doesn't serve (yeah, it seems crazy to me too).
Many people feel that alternative transportation is an inconvenience. It also doesn't serve all locations. For me it serves me well and I have grown very accustomed to its many conveniences. My work is 8 miles from my house. It is just under a 1 mile walk to the bus stop and then a straight shot on the bus to my work. While it consumes more time than driving, all of that time is beneficial, while little time spent driving is considered such. Here are some of the specific advantages that I have realized:
- Better for the environment. I am actually walking the talk on issue which I champion.
- Listen to books on tape, podcasts, and college coursework on my ipod. I am much more able to concentrate than while driving.
- Less stress. When I do drive to work I get frustrated with the traffic which I don't even notice on the bus.
- Financial - sold one of our cars, insurance rates decreased (one less car and lower annual mileage on existing car), gas, maintenance, etc.
- Health - close to 2 miles a day of additional walking. This could be a negative as I sometimes have to walk on busy streets where the air pollution is very poor and cars are always trying to kill you (walking or cycling).
So if you are considering a new years resolution, think about alternative transportation. One you start it's hard to go back.