By Maria Archibald, Sustainability Office
Residents have long struggled with Salt Lake City’s infamous winter inversions, which trap particulate pollution in the valley where they accumulate to hazardous levels. But winter isn’t the only season during which our air is unhealthy to breathe. In fact, as climate change and drought intensify, threats to summer air quality—like wildfires and toxic dust storms—continue to mount.
Fortunately, there’s something we can do about it.
In July, the University of Utah will compete in the Clear the Air Challenge, a month-long statewide competition to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicle (SOV) trips.
Participants in the Clear the Air Challenge can join the U’s team and log all non-SOV trips — including riding transit, carpooling, walking, biking, and working from home instead of commuting to the office — on the mobile-friendly TravelWise Tracker website or on the Commute Tracker by RideAmigos mobile app. To participate in weekly challenges with incentives, log in to your account or register to join, complete your profile, and use the left-side navigation menu to connect to the Commute Tracker by RideAmigos app.
Here at the U, transportation accounts for more than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing alternative forms of transportation we can reduce pollution and breathe more freely.
Public and active transportation options not only reduce emissions, but they also have numerous other benefits:
Did you know that all public transit—including buses, Trax and FrontRunner—is free with your UCard? Use UTA and avoid paying for parking and rising gas prices.
Commuters report sitting in congested traffic and struggling to find parking on campus. Research says cyclists, on the other hand, are the happiest commuters—so take control of your commute, hop on your bike, and get some exercise and fresh air while you’re at it!
While we tend to equate cars with convenience, public and active transportation options skip the traffic and often get us to our destinations faster than driving. Locate your nearest bus or train stop and find parking for your bike or scooter. Through an exclusive university partnership with SPIN, you can now rent shared e-scooters and e-bikes on campus using the SPIN app. Remember to park shared devices in designated areas!
If we all walk, bike, roll, and ride, we can make a difference. And we won’t just clear the air; we’ll also clear our minds and keep money in our wallets.
Join the U’s Clear the Air Challenge team and let’s cut our emissions together.