With rising gas prices and a growing concern about the role of carbon emissions in global warming, commuters are coming up with creative new solutions to cut back on their environmental footprint. For outdoor enthusiasts, new trends include creative modes of human-powered transportation such as rowing, kayaking, in-line skating, even unicycling to work. With a bigger wheel, “commuter” unicycles are able to go up to 15 mph. As an added benefit, unicycles are much smaller than bikes, making them easy to transport and store inside the office. The only downside, aside from learning how to ride one, is that the increased speed from big-wheeled unicycles can make accidents harder to avoid.
A safer alternative is to go with a minimum of two wheels on the street at all times. As people try to save money at the pump, electric bikes, scooters (the gas and foot kind, as well as the electric), skateboards, Segways, and motorcycles are also gaining in popularity. Most of these methods of transportation are for relatively short distances, and you definitely would not want to be on the highway or large roads, except with motorcycles.
The many benefits to motorcycles include free parking in many jurisdictions, free use of the HOV lane during rush hour, and the “cool” factor of showing up to work with your helmet under your arm. Although most of the smaller more fuel-efficient bikes are not suitable for driving on the highway, even the larger-sized highway motorcycles still have higher fuel efficiency on average than a car.
On the employer side, new trends in eco-friendly commuting incentives are helping companies stay on the cutting edge. In addition to providing bike racks, change rooms, and showers for biking commuters, one company in Seattle gives its bikers a jersey with the company logo on it. Flexible work hours and telecommuting are also being encouraged in creative ways by employers. Innovative incentive programs, such as offering free phone and Internet — and even a furniture allowance — for employees to use in their home offices, are a great way to encourage telecommuting and keep employee satisfaction high.
Which one(s) of these can you do??