The Need

If you’re reading this, you are probably aware that we are facing an unprecedented global climate challenge, and that personal transportation is a key part of both the problem – and the solution.

Some facts to lob at you:

• Transportation is responsible for about one-fourth of the fossil-fuel greenhouse-gas emissions in the world. (The Lancet)

• Oil dependence, climate change, and obesity are all consequences of driving, and they are increasing by the day.

• American car use has been on the rise since 1956, when highways arrived on the scene.

• Government funding and construction has increased with increases in traffic, but it has also encouraged more car reliance as suburbs became attractive living options.

• Half of all of the trips made each day are within a three-mile radius of our homes, equaling a 20-minute bike ride, and a quarter of the trips would be a 20-minute walk – yet we primarily drive these short distances.

• The U.S. has the highest rates of car ownership in the world, and Americans now own more cars per household than there are drivers. (What??) (Active Transportation for America, 2008).

Policymakers are addressing the issue by mandating changes to automobile design, gasoline production and delivery, and regulation of car use in high-density cities.  But these responses are expensive and require a long implementation period – and leave us feeling helpless.

Research is now pointing to behavior change as a faster route to reducing carbon emissions. And yet, while research shows that changing car-use behavior could have the biggest impact, it also is the hardest household behavior to change. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS))

Enter Undriving.

This beautifully simple program, with its innovative Undriver License and accompanying pledge to reduce car use, has engaged over 15,000 people to rethink how they travel and to cut their car dependency.  It is effective: Seventy-two percent of Undrivers report they established a new habit or pattern as a result of the program. Undriving not only reduces car use, but provides resources to help Undrivers use the bus system, ride their bikes, or come up with walking routes. Licensed Undrivers save time, money, and stress, and increase their health, fitness, and sense of community connection.  They also become ambassadors for Undriving. It’s contagious – Undrivers start by showing their license, and then are asked to share stories and tips. We’re here the whole way to provide ongoing support as each Undriver finds a way to utilize new modes of transportation.

Hardest behavior to change? Not with a creative and resourceful solution that activates participants’ own creativity and resourcefulness.  Undriving and a growing movement of Undrivers are actively addressing one of the biggest challenges of our time, with the most powerful grassroots tools:  curiosity, playfulness, self-expression, and belonging.  Join us – and get creative about getting around!