Last week, Hurricane Irene felled a 3-foot-diameter oak tree at the end of my dead-end street, which blocked it completely for two days. Since none of us could get our cars out, I did a bit more local walking than usual because I am lucky enough to live only about a mile away from my town. The experience really made me think about whether I am too quick to jump into my car to run local errands, even if I am conscientious about making sure I have multiple places to go when I get behind the wheel.
That same question is behind a new feature calculator that has been added to the route planning service at HopStop. The Web site helps you find public transit options to get from Point A to Point B, you can dictate the portions of the trip that are spent walking versus taking the subway, train, bus or other public options. Now, HopStop includes a carbon emissions calculator that pops up data about "total carbon emissions saved" when you compare routes that uses walking and transit options versus one that requires you to drive your own vehicle.
Since it is only a mile to the center of my town, I'm not exactly going to be using a bus (although HopStop shows there actually IS one to get me there). By walking instead of jumping in my car, I will save 2.24 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every round trip. Yes, I know, not much, but maybe I should be thinking about walking to my daily workout and leaving 20 minutes earlier. Over the course of the month, even my tiny contribution will add up.