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Commuter Connections, a regional network of transportation organizations, is hosting its annual “Car Free Day” Tuesday, and is urging the D.C. region’s workforce to find a way to work that doesn’t involved driving.
Although many residents’ commutes are different in this year, working from home or riding a bike to the local store, among other actions, count toward taking part in Car Free Day 2020, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments said in a statement.
Due to COVID-19, the practice of teleworking has become part of a typical day for a large segment of the population. Before the health crisis, one-third of all workers in the region (an estimated 1.07 million people) teleworked to some degree, according to the Commuter Connections 2019 State of the Commute Survey. Albeit temporarily, the pandemic has shattered that figure.
A recent Commuter Connections survey of employers revealed the average share of employees who teleworked grew from 36 percent to 82 percent at sites with telework already in place in response to the pandemic. Preliminary data of the thousands who have already taken the pledge to be Car Free on September 22 show that only 17 percent plan to commute to their standard workplace location that day.
Nationwide and locally, bicycle purchases and repairs have skyrocketed as the age-old transportation mode has made a resurgence. This year, more than half (52 percent) of those who have already taken the pledge plan to incorporate a bicycle or scooter into their travels on Car Free Day.
A quarter of those who have taken the pledge to date are planning to shop or run errands on September 22. Before COVID-19, stopping for errands on the way home from work was a common occurrence.
“More working from home provides the perfect opportunity to combine running local errands with needed exercise by bicycling or walking,” said Nicholas Ramfos, Commuter Connections Director.
Bicycling and walking are great ways to stay healthy, which is why the local chapter of the American Heart Association has endorsed taking the free pledge for Car Free Day.
“We are thrilled to work with Commuter Connections to help our community move more on Car Free Day and every day,” said Soula Antoniou, Greater Washington Region American Heart Association Executive Director.
Taking the Car Free Day 2020 pledge is free and brings two special online promo code offers with it, plus entry into a free prize raffle. Car Free Day promotions include a $30 giftcard to discover great local businesses from Nift (Neighborhood Gift), and a free LOVe vegan burger from LEON.
Visit carfreemetrodc.org to learn more and take the free pledge by September 22, and join the conversation on Twitter at @CarFreeMetroDC and #CarFreeDay.