Seven local businesses are competing to be the best at embracing more efficient modes of transportation during the month of February as part of the first Oahu Commute Challenge.
Administered by local nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation and the Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawaii (STCH), the Oahu Commute Challenge is a friendly competition between seven organizations, which have each recruited up to 20 employees to participate.
The businesses include the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, G70, HMSA, Hawaii Pacific Health, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaiian Telcom, and PBR Hawaii. Participants will be encouraged to use cleaner, healthier, and more efficient modes of transportation–biking, walking, public transit, carpool, and vanpool–and track their progress for a chance to win a variety of prizes.
“The Oahu Commute Challenge will teach Honolulu commuters and their employers about the transportation options available to them so they can feel more comfortable moving away from their personal vehicle,” said Lauren Reichelt, transportation director of Blue Planet Foundation and STCH coordinator. “We hope that along with gaining new experiences, the participants will ultimately make long-term changes to their commuting habits and be positive clean transportation influences on their employers and peers.”
The 2020 Oahu Commute Challenge will run Monday thru Friday in February, starting on Monday and ending on Friday Feb. 28, with weekly challenges and prizes to keep participants motivated. Upon the conclusion of the challenge, one company’s team will be named the overall winner. Challenges and results will be posted online at oahucommute.weebly.com and on STCH’s Instagram account (@stchawaii).
“Nearly 70 percent of Oahu commuters currently drive alone, contributing to the island’s high transportation energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic, transportation costs, negative health impacts, and a lower quality of life,” said Reichelt. “To move commuters to more sustainable modes, we need to identify ways to improve and expand Honolulu’s multi-modal infrastructure and increase the public’s awareness. We hope that the information we gather from this challenge will help support improvements to Hawaii’s transportation alternatives.”
The Oahu Commute Challenge is the first-of-its-kind in Hawaii, but has been done in other North American cities.
“We’re hoping that the challenge can be expanded in future program years to include more of Honolulu-based companies and participants,” added Reichelt, noting that San Mateo County, CA’s one-month challenge included more than 1,800 participants, saved 379 tons of C02 and over $635,000, and resulted in more than 1.6 million green miles traveled.
Managed by Blue Planet Foundation/Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawaii, the Oahu Commute Challenge was developed in partnership with Bikeshare Hawaii, Blue Zones Project, Hawaii Bicycling League, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit, OahuMPO, and Ulupono Initiative, with sponsorship support from Ulupono Initiative, Lyft, and Hui Car Share.
About Blue Planet Foundation
Blue Planet Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to solving our climate change challenge and clearing the path for 100% clean energy through bold advocacy, energy awareness and community action. To learn more about our activities and how you can participate, visit blueplanetfoundation.org or follow @BluePlanetFound on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
About Sustainable Transportation Coalition of Hawai‘i (STCH)
STCH is working to advance the energy, economic, and environmental security of Hawaii by promoting practices that reduce the use of foreign oil for transportation. STCH supports locally driven efforts to reduce the use of imported petroleum in Hawaii’s transportation sector through education and outreach. Visit stchawaii.org to learn more.