Always wondered what your commute is really costing?

Photo: iStockphoto.com/buzbuzzer
Now you can find out!

If you ask the average person about the biggest issue they face in urban centres, inevitably the conversation turns towards our transportation system. According to a recent GTA survey, two out of three identified the commute as harmful to their quality of life. As the urban core populations continue to grow, and governments struggle to renew crumbling infrastructure, we are plagued with increased pollution, ageing transit, incessant gridlock and added stress!

Public engagement, not-for-profit Summerhill Impact is launching the second phase of Shuttle — Ontario's first measurement program of personal vehicle use in the province, poised to motivate commuters to drive better and drive less. Shuttle will help hundreds of commuters gain an understanding of the real cost of their commute and how to change it. Shuttle has proven that it’s not difficult for drivers to reduce the impact of their commute. Drivers throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) succeeded in lowering their driving impact and were rewarded for their efforts.

Transportation accounts for 27 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Canada. In Ontario, traffic volume and congestion contributes to 934 deaths, 8894 hospitalizations, and 34 percent of the healthcare burden per year, as a result of transport incidents. Congestion in the GTHA is considered to be worst in North America and estimated to cost the regional economy $6-billion per year.

Should just 10 percent of GTHA drivers eventually participate in the program, we could reduce over 64,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, reduce congestion and accident rates. So far the challenge drivers have found that if they maintain their new patterns for a year, each person would drive 1,318 fewer km; consume 148 fewer L of fuel; and save 23 hours of time (a whole day of your life!).

"Summerhill gives you a meter and you can monitor how long [you are sitting there]… I always knew that it was bad, but I didn’t realize how bad and I actually changed my commute because of this. I was guilty of being hard on the gas and the brake and you really save a lot of gas by just taking it easy. There are all kinds of things that I am now doing to be a better driver."
– Rob Dean, Toronto (North York), said on his CBC Metro Morning interview with Matt Galloway during "The Joyless Commute" radio series.

"The biggest surprise was the amount of gas that I was buying on a monthly basis. Once I was in the program I was able to track exactly. I was spending $400 on a monthly basis on gas. Once I started carpooling, I have been able to save $250. I’ll be able to save that money for my children’s education. I am a better driver. I am no longer a race car driver!"
– Kingsley Appiah-Kubi, who now carpools every morning from Brampton to Mississauga.

How does the program work?

Drivers are given a data logger that clips to the OBD port in your car. The program measures their regular driving behaviour over a two-week period, after which they are armed with an eco-driver training session and then set off on their two-week challenge to reduce their commute by 10 percent. You will be able to see how you are doing against your friends and neighbours.

Participants are then rewarded with a gas card for completing the program and receive even more if they achieve their 10 percent reduction! Throughout the program participants are encouraged to share their story online, where they can have their say on solutions for gridlock and transportation.

Tired of the daily drive? Learn how to make it better and get rewarded for your efforts! Summerhill is recruiting participants right now for this spring’s challenge and rewards. You can sign up now at www.shuttlechallenge.ca.