Going Car-Free for Better Health

In addition to being (and in contrast with) Child Transportation Safety Week, this week has been declared Massachusetts Car Free Week by MassCommute, a non-profit organization comprised of like-minded Transportation Management Agencies in the state of Massachusetts whose mission is to promote commuting alternatives in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

An extension of the annual World Car-Free  Day in which cities and drivers across the globe pledge to go “car-free” for a day, Massachusetts Car-Free Week wants Massachusetts residents to go “car-free” for the week of September 16-22, urging participants to drive as little as possible, or not at all, in an effort to promote greener, more sustainable commuter options, while improving air quality and commuter health. In addition to asking commuters to utilize public transportation, MassCommute is also asking people to walk or bicycle to their destinations whenever possible. 

While Massachusetts Car Free Week may seem like it has less to do with health and more to do with protecting the environment, it does do a great job of promoting residents to be more active and healthy by incorporating exercise into their daily routine. Studies have shown that most of the driving done within the average American’s life takes place within 2 miles of the home, a distance easily within walking or biking range, and yet many Americans are still failing to meet daily  recommended exercise requirements, something that Massachusetts Car-Free week hopes to correct. The increase in exercise participants are likely to get factored in the with the improvements in air quality that are sure to accompany fewer cars on the road, and Massachusetts Car-Free weekend has the potential to teach us a few things about health that cannot be learned in the workplace.