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Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Less Car Challenge Wraps

Earlier this term, students, staff and faculty from all over campus participated in the third annual One Less Car challenge by using alternative modes of transportation and logging these trips via UF GreenRide, the university’s carpool matching service.

While this year’s challenge saw fewer participants than in previous ones, 482 total registrants comprised 82 teams, their dedication remained steadfast. Roughly 169,621 pounds of emissions were avoided throughout the challenge, the result of 20,840 fewer trips and 174.927 single occupancy vehicle miles saved.

“This year’s challenge incorporated some new elements, while maintaining many of the elements that have helped establish the program at UF,” said Anna Prizzia, director of the Office of Sustainability. “We made an effort to focus more on individual action than in previous years, and are pleased to see the frequency and consistency with which participants logged their commutes.”

GreenRide, a system that exists independently of the challenge and is a resource for the campus community to find ride matches also calculates this savings in terms of fuel and dollars saved from reduced incidental costs. For the period of the challenge, August 23 through November 19, participants saved a collective 7,508 gallons of fuel, and approximately $96, 385. The system uses a basic formula to calculate a per mile savings on maintenance and ownership (i.e., car payments, insurance) to further reflect the opportunities and benefits of utilizing alternative transportation modes more frequently.

When taken together, the impact helps UF inch closer to its goal of carbon neutrality, while continuing education on the importance of personal action. “Based on a 2005 greenhouse gas inventory of campus emissions, we’ve estimated that roughly 10% of our carbon footprint is attributable to commuting,” said Prizzia. “In order to get this percentage as close to zero as possible, we each have a responsibility to identify opportunities in our lives, as Gators and as individuals in the larger scale, to make changes toward sustainability.”