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Alternative Transportation: Getting Started

Instead of jumping in the car, why not walk, bike or take public transportation?

En español  For many people, hopping in the car is so automatic they forget about cheaper, healthier and more enjoyable transportation alternatives, or don't know how to find them in their neighborhoods. This guide will help you take advantage of the many fun and healthy options available, whether you live in a small town, suburb or big city. It includes practical tips and advice on identifying these options and getting started using them.

See also: Rent Your Car to a Neighbor?

There are many benefits of choosing to go "car-lite," (alternating car trips with other modes of transportation), or car-free.

Walking, bicycling and using public transportation or other transportation services can help your wallet, health and community. Consider:

Your costs: Owning, operating, maintaining and insuring a vehicle can be much more expensive than you think. According to the AAA, the average person spends $9,641 per year on their car, not including parking costs. The savings from walking, bicycling or using public transportation can be substantial, when you consider the above and the wear and tear on your vehicle.

Your health: We all know 30 minutes of physical activity each day will benefit most people. Walking or biking to the store, work, a friend's home or the bus stop are all ways to get needed exercise without it seeming like a chore.

Your community:
By leaving the car at home, you'll be helping reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which benefits the environment, and ultimately everyone.

Cutting back on the time you spend in your car need not be a hardship. Think of it as a way to help yourself as well as your community. Even if you leave the car parked for some of your shorter trips, you will make a difference.

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