Maybe you’ve done everything you can in your home and are looking to identify ways you can save energy and resources in other parts of your life. Have you ever thought about how our transportation choices impact our community’s greenhouse gas emissions? In Ann Arbor, emissions from the transportation sector represented 31 percent of our community greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. That’s more than the emissions from the commercial and industrial sectors combined! And opting to use an alternate form of transportation like a bike, or bus, can save you a lot of green as well. Think about it: car ownership costs approximately $9,000 a year, based on national averages. There is a significant financial benefit to thinking about other ways of getting around before you hop in your car!
With over 1,500 bus stops located in and around the Ann Arbor municipal area, residents have ample opportunity to use public transportation as an alternate means of getting to their final destination. The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, or AATA, services regional hubs around the municipality, allowing bus patrons to travel outside of city borders to Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.
Need to catch a flight? There are several services that can take you (and your checked or carry-on luggage) directly from Ann Arbor to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). For group shuttle service, check out Michigan Flyer or Ann Arbor Airport Shuttle. Other options are listed on the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau website. For trips to Chicago, you might also want to think about taking the train. And Ann Arbor’s Amtrak station is easily accessible by public transportation.
Car alternatives for short distances
American drivers now make an average of 3.4 vehicle trips per day, many of these to destinations within a one-mile radius. Replace some of these short trips with a walk or bike ride and you’re getting healthy while you save money.
The City of Ann Arbor has a robust biking community. With over 36 miles of bike lanes and dedicated city ordinances for the installation of bike parking, the city has taken strides to promote this form of transportation. Find out how to make the most of Ann Arbor’s bike lanes by downloading this map.
Car ownership alternatives
Car ownership is expensive! Even beyond that sticker price, there’s maintenance, insurance and fuel to consider. You might want to use this calculator to estimate how much you’re really going to spend over time, based on specific car model.
Maybe you don’t want to buy a car after all, or you want to become a one-car household. Have you thought about car sharing? Learn about Zipcar in Ann Arbor, available for university students as well as community members.
Think about fuel efficiency
If you’re going to buy a car, buy smart! Each gallon of gasoline burned releases approximately 20 pounds of CO2 into the air, so less fuel-efficient vehicles not only cost you more at the pump but also contribute more to global climate change.
Try this handy calculator to see how much money you save by driving a more fuel-efficient car.
No matter what kind of car you own, you can maximize its efficiency by keeping up a regular maintenance schedule.
- Air them up: Under-inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage by up to 3%; every gallon of gas saved translates to 20 pounds of CO2 kept out of the air. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door of your glove compartment or on the driver’s side door pillar.
- Shed extra pounds: Remove roof racks when they’re not in use or not in season--the extra drag can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 5%; use overdrive and cruise control when possible; and unload unnecessary weight from your vehicle.
Consider alternative fuels
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular - with incentives available for both purchasing the car as well as installing the charging infrastructure. The City of Ann Arbor is also making it easy to charge your car when you're not at home: in June 2012, 18 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed in six locations across the city. Find out where you can park downtown and charge your EV - for the price of parking alone!
Housing and transportation affordability index
When deciding where to live, many different factors contribute to your overall cost of living and quality of life. Think about location efficiency and how long it will take you to get to and from work, run errands or visit family and friends based on your selected living location. Learn more about the region you live in, and the true affordability of your location based on transportation and housing indices.