In this section:
Getting Around Baltimore
Ditch the Car! Cities give people much greater flexibility when moving around. Especially in dense neighborhoods, many destinations are only a short walk or bike ride away! Here are some tips that might help you cut back on your car use!
NO/LOW COST! Walk & Bike! This is free, good for you, and good for the environment! Be sure to get your Bike Commuter Resource Guide and Baltimore’s Bike Map!
NO/LOW COST! Use public transportation. Choose to travel by bus, light rail, or train. Learn about the FREE bus service provided by the Charm City Circulator, or visit the MTA website to see your options!
FREE! Would telecommuting work for you? Technology has us more connected than ever before. Often, this means we can access our work anytime, anywhere! Read about the benefits of telecommuting and find out if your employer has a telecommuting program. Maryland State Employees can learn more about agency teleworking.
FREE! Carpooling — it’s better together! Whether headed to work or to a party, or anything in between, reduce your emissions by sharing a ride with your neighbors, friends, or coworkers. If your office doesn’t already have a carpooling plan, consider initiating one yourself.
SAVE! Give up your car altogether! Especially with car sharing programs like Zipcar, living without a car is not as hard as you might think! In fact, giving up your car might give you even more freedom. Not convinced? The estimated yearly cost of driving a single-occupant car ranges from $4,826 to $9,685—while the average yearly cost of taking public transportation falls between $200 and $2,000.
If ditching the car doesn’t quite work with your current lifestyle, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, or scooter!
Be a Smarter Driver
If you drive a personal automobile, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your impact.
FREE! Don’t idle your car. Idling for longer than 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting your engine. It’s better to turn the car off and restart when you’re ready to go. For short waits, put your car in neutral to avoid burning gas and to save some money!
FREE! Drive responsibly. Did you know that your driving behaviors may affect your car’s fuel efficiency? Adjusting your driving behaviors can improve your MPG and save you some dollars at the pump.
FREE! Speeding uses extra gas, so be sure to adhere to the speed limit. Using your cruise control will help you maintain a more consistent speed and generally improves fuel efficiency. Additionally, sudden acceleration and hard braking are inefficient and lower your gas mileage. Discovery’s Planet Green recommends keeping your engine speeds between 1,200 and 3,000 RPMs, and up-shift between 2,000 and 2,500 RMPs.
FREE! Get rid of unnecessary weight in your car. Extra weight causes cars to lose efficiency and use more fuel to travel.
FREE! Pre-plan your errands to avoid unnecessary car trips. Pre-planning efficient routes for errands and other trips will keep you from racking up unnecessary miles and help you hit all the stops in one go!
Car Care Tips
NO/LOW COST! Keep your tires at the right pressure. Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by 3.3% while reducing carbon emissions.
$ Give your car a tune-up. With proactive maintenance, your car will not only run better, but it will also be more fuel efficient. Cleaning your air filter regularly can improve your gas mileage significantly.
$ Rotate your tires regularly.
$$ Get a fuel-efficient car. A new car that gets 10 mpg more than your old one can reduce your CO2 emissions by 2,500 pounds a year!
$$$ Choose a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicles are highly efficient (smaller engines, advanced aerodynamics, and lighter-weight materials), emit less greenhouse gases, and save you money at the fuel pump. See EarthShare’s tips for switching to an electric vehicle!
Traveling + Taking Trips
Everything we do, including our travel and vacationing, has an impact on the environment. How we get to where we’re going is a major decision; especially when it involves long-distance travel. Below we share just a few tips for reducing the impact of your next long-distance trip! And be sure to also consider what you do during your trip, which is discussed in the Steps You Can Take—Every Day page of this website.
FREE! Avoid crowds and high-traffic roadways. Planning your trips so that you travel on off-peak days can save you hundreds of dollars at the airport or prevent you from sitting in traffic on congested highways.
FREE! – $$ Plan a sustainable trip and make sure you reduce your environmental impact. Consider eco-tourism as an option to minimize your eco-footprint. Eco-tourism will ensure that your trip is protecting indigenous local cultures and that you will support local cultures and economies.
$-$$ Ride instead of fly. When possible, ride a train or coach bus. You can skip the long airport lines and know that your trip saves more energy and produces less pollution than a plane!
$-$$ Renting a car? Get a hybrid! Rental car companies now offer a variety fuel-efficient cars, including hybrids.
$ – $$ Offset what you can’t avoid. Inexpensive carbon offsets to help mitigate the impact of your air travel. Calculate your carbon footprint with the Carbon Calculator by Conservation International, and they’ll tell you how much it will cost to offset your travel!
More Great Resources:
- See How to Green Your Car for more depth on the subject.
- Some employers are even giving a bonus to bike and carpool commuters and special perks to hybrid drivers.
- GreenYour Transportation
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Commuter Connections
- “Green” Your Commute! See EarthShare’s tips for green commuting!
- Bike Commuter Resource Guide and Baltimore’s Bike Map
- Guided walking tours around Baltimore
- Baltimore Bike Party
- Bike Maryland
- Responsible Travel Report
- Travel Green
- Travel + Leisure List of 10 Tips for Traveling Green