Frequently Asked Questions
What is Green Streets and the Commuter Challenge?
Green Streets brings awareness to commuting choices and options through two programs, The Commuter Challenge and Walk/Ride Days which are monthly days of transportation awareness. The Commuter Challenge is a friendly competition among Boston-area employers that encourages staff to reflect on and explore changes to their daily commute. The Challenge provides a gentle nudge, once a month for seven months (April to October) towards greener and healthier commuting.
During the last week of the month, Staff are encouraged to log ONE normal and ONE special commute to celebrate Green Streets' monthly transportation day of awareness (aka Walk/Ride Days). Employers are ranked based on the overall number of employees who log a commute online via the Green Streets website and based on switches to healthier and/or greener commuting. Workplaces with staff who already commute in green ways are also recognized and celebrated. While we encourage the use of active, sustainable transportation, all commuters are encouraged to log commutes, even drivers. All who log a commute through Green Streets are entitled to discounts from over 100 local merchants and are entered into our monthly raffle.
Why do you include car drivers?
We encourage car drivers to log their commutes as it allows them to see the impact their choices have on the environment and their health. We have found that involving car commuters in this way enables them to consider alternatives to get to their destinations. As one participant said: "I was appalled at the "carbon cost" of one short drive I used to make all the time. I now either take the bus or combine that trip with other destinations." Another said, "I always used to drive to work. Since this initiative started, I have been taking the MBTA, and not only on Walk/Ride Days". Over the course of the Challenge, between 30% and 40% of drivers make at least one switch to a healthier or "greener" commute.
My company or organization is on board! What are the next steps?
Designate a point of contact person, or in-house coordinator and register here. Next, we’ll send the coordinator materials and give full support throughout the competition, including monthly reminders and news about which raffle prizes will be offered. The coordinator simply forwards information to his or her colleagues and reminds people to log their commutes online. It really is that easy!
Our company already has some similar incentives in place. Some of us already participate in Bike Week and the Mass Commuter Challenge. Why should we do this, too?
Participating in the Green Streets Commuter Challenge requires very little work on your part, and won’t conflict with any other commuting incentives already in place at your organization. In fact, it's a great way to promote other efforts! Unlike many of the other efforts, the Green Streets Commuter Challenge welcomes car commuters to take part. We also provide Commuter Challenge coordinators with excellent feedback and data about how their staff overall, and sub-teams, are doing.
Many people in my company already take public transit, bike, or walk to work everyday. As parking can be expensive in the city, some people don’t “get the big deal” around what is essentially their only option to get to work.
This competition celebrates people who commit to alternative transportation, no matter what brought them to make that choice. It is also built to encourage and bring awareness to those who have made other commuting choices, like driving single occupancy vehicles. The message it conveys is: The car is not the only option to get to work! This challenge is making a statement to support transportation that benefits our health, the environment, and our community. By showing that employees of our different organizations use public transit, bike, walk, etc., we are all leading by example.
We already recycle
Great! But in addition to helping the environment, walking, biking, taking the T is good for your health and productivity, too, adding a bit more activity to your day. And scientists say that one of the most effective ways of slowing climate change is to reduce automobile driving.
I live too far away from the office to walk, bike, or take public transportation to work
That’s okay. Carpooling, walking part way, and ride sharing count, too. Even allowing telecommuting is one way that some companies choose to support Walk/Ride Day participation.
How long is the Challenge every year?
The Challenge goes on for 7 months: April through October.
Can I check-in more than once per month?
Yes, but check-ins overwrite each other, so your most recent check-in is the one that will count.
What if I am away from work or on vacation?
Please still check in. Basically, just tell us how you got around on one day during the last week of the month.
Will participants get anything for participating in the Challenge?
Our website shows the network of retailers who offer all kinds of rewards and bargains each Walk/Ride Day. And each month a fabulous prize will be raffled off among all those who log their commutes ("check-in") online.
Do you remind us when it is time to log a commute for the month?
Absolutely! We’ll send you a reminder the week of Walk/Ride Day to check in, along with a link to where you can do so.
Who are we competing against?
Companies, universities, hospitals, and other workplaces within greater Boston. And, you can also register sub-teams in your own organization, so that you can competing amongst within your company, while still teaming up with them in the friendly competition against other workplaces.
I already ride my bike, walk, or take the T to work. Can I still participate?
Yes! We want ALL commuters to check in. For those already commuting in healthy, environmentally friendly ways this is a chance to show your numbers, show fellow employees that it can be done and, of course, be eligible for our monthly raffle prizes and be able to take advantage of special offers by our retail partners.
Anything else that I should know?
We will be hosting and publicizing other events on or near Walk/Ride Days throughout the year. If your organization would like to host a Walk/Ride Day or transportation-related event to build community around this important mission, please let us know. Not only do we want to encourage commuting habits that improve health and the environment - we also want to create a space where people can share best practices and talk and about their experiences. We will be partnering with many great organizations for these events and many people will be on hand to answer questions about commuting options.