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4th annual Casual Commute Day challenges commuters to come clean for a day

Governor Snyder has proclaimed Friday, May 5, 2017, as Casual Commute Day. The day raises awareness about how our transportation choices impact the air we breathe, specifically that ozone pollution is caused by vehicle emissions. The rideshare offices in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Southeast Michigan are celebrating with a friendly competition, hoping to claim the title of “cleanest-commuting community.”

“We recognize that a little friendly competition can bring out the best in people,” says Sandy Draggoo, CEO and Executive Director at the Capital Area Transportation Authority, which operates the Clean Commute Options program in Lansing. “It is the collective power of Casual Commute Day participants, however, that will result in an impactful reduction in traffic congestion and improved air quality.”

Clean Commute Options Coordinator Chloe White couldn’t agree more. “It’s amazing to see the impact on our air quality that commuters can make in just one day. Hopefully, they’ll realize how easy it is to use clean transportation and adopt it into their everyday lifestyle.” Clean commuters that travel 5 miles to work can save up to 1,840 grams of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, depending on their travel mode.

For the third year in a row CATA’s Clean Commute Options program will be competing against West Michigan Rideshare in Grand Rapids and MiRideshare in Metro Detroit. By encouraging participants to walk, bike or share a ride for their May 5 commute, each rideshare office hopes to nab the grand prize: bragging rights as Michigan’s cleanest-commuting community.

“Grand Rapids has always been at the forefront of innovative transportation options,” adds Michael Bulthuis, Public Outreach Coordinator at The Rapid. “Casual Commute Day is another tool for us to continue educating our residents about sustainable commuting modalities.”

Michigan suffers its highest levels of ozone pollution between March and October, which can cause breathing difficulties for the elderly, children, those with asthma, and people who actively exercise or work outdoors. Common experiences are coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Ozone pollution also narrows airways, making it harder to provide oxygen to the body.

“Unfortunately, the time of year when ozone pollution is highest is also when we experience the best weather in Michigan, and no one wants to sit inside on a sunny day because pollution is high,” White says. “That is why it’s so important that we all use clean transportation this summer.”

Interested in improving your community’s air and having a little fun? Register at casualcommute.org and log your commute to one of three destination cities. Each participant will automatically be entered into the random prize raffle to win gift cards and ticket vouchers from various venues.

Greening of the Great Lakes airs every Sunday evening at 7:00 on News/Talk 760 WJR and around the state each weekend via the Michigan Talk Network.

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