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Clean Commute Challenge: Bike, Bus, Walk or Carpool In June

A bicycle commuter on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte.
David Boraks
A bicycle commuter on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte.

Do you drive to and from work in the Charlotte area? Several local groups are promoting a bit of a competition this month called the Clean Commute Challenge. Charlotte Area Transit System, Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte Air Awareness are asking drivers to look for alternatives during the month of June.   

A clean commute is any alternative to driving alone to work, according to Charlotte Area Transit System's Courtney Schultz. "So that can include carpooling, vanpooling, riding transit, bicycling, walking and telecommuting," she said. 

Air quality across the state has improved over the past decade, and Shultz says officials want to make sure it stays that way.

"Our main goal is to reduce air emissions from commuter traffic during the height of the ozone season," Schultz said. 

That means summertime, when high temperatures, sunshine and pollutants combine to form ground-level ozone - which makes air unhealthy. Schultz says every mile of clean commuting keeps a pound of carbon out of the air.

This year's challenge adds a new element - a smartphone app called Way2GoCharlotte that tracks your commute. Anyone who records 10 roundtrip clean commutes gets entered in a drawing for a home automation system, including an Apple watch.   

You can find out more at Way2GoCLT.com

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.