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  • Pima County Drivers Saved 8 Million Miles Daily By Not Driving Alone

    Jul 06, 2015 | Read More News
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    Since last year's survey, the number of Pima County residents who reported driving alone to work, school, shopping and for leisure trips dropped significantly, which resulted in more than 8 million miles not driven daily. Carpoolers Enjoying the Ride

    In May and June, FMR Associates Inc. conducted an internet and telephone survey of 500 random Pima County households to analyze and track the overall effectiveness of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s (PDEQ) Clean Air Program and reported actions taken to improve to air quality.

    The survey revealed a significant increase in the number of Pima County residents carpooling, biking, walking and taking the bus when compared to previous years.

    For example, during the work or school commute:

    • The percentage of people who drive alone at least one day per week fell from 83 percent to 70 percent between 2014 and 2015. This drop in “drive-alones” for this type of trip saved over 3.8 million vehicle miles.
    • Bicycling increased from one percent to 12 percent.
    • Carpoolers increased from 10 percent to 24 percent.
    • Walkers increased from six percent to 21 percent.
    • Bus riders increased from 10 percent to 14 percent.

    The number of people driving alone to shop and participate in leisure activities has also dropped dramatically, along with the number of Pima County residents driving solo to work. The survey revealed the percentage of people driving by themselves to shop dropped from 77 percent to 50 percent between 2007 and 2015. During that same time frame, those driving alone for leisure reasons decreased from 60 percent to 39.

    FMR Associates estimates the reduction of single-occupant vehicles for shopping and leisure activity trips saved 4.4 million vehicle miles per day. When combined with the miles saved during the work or school commute, the total daily miles not driven due to the use of alternative modes of transportation is more than 8 million miles.

    PDEQ Director Ursula Nelson said, “When you translate those miles not driven daily into air pollution savings, it amounts to about 264,000 pounds of air pollution kept from the air we all breathe.”

    Of those surveyed, 45 percent reported being familiar with the PDEQ Clean Air Program, which features a variety of co-sponsored events such as Bike to Work Day, Earth Day Festival and Parade, Cyclovia and Walk to School Day; campaigns such as the “Pump Up Your MPG” Tire Inflation Education Program and the “Healthy Air Is In Our Hands” Drive Less Pledge; as well as public outreach and education to schools, businesses and community groups.

    “According to FMR Associates, the survey findings indicate that the PDEQ Clean Air Program increases awareness, beliefs and actions related to improving air quality,” said Beth Gorman, PDEQ Senior Program Manager. “We hope to continue expanding our reach throughout the community to increase awareness about ways to keep our air quality healthy.”

    Some other interesting survey results include:

    • Single-vehicle households are on the rise from 28 percent in 2013 to 36 percent this year.
    • Eighty-two percent of respondents are aware that the majority of our air pollution comes from motor vehicle use.
    • Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed had seen or heard information about the importance of keeping vehicle tires properly inflated.

    For more information on the full PDEQ annual survey or the Executive Summary and actions that can be taken to improve air quality visit www.pima.gov/deq.