Any time you move using an engine that uses fuel, you are creating greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing transportation fuel consumption improves air quality, saves money at the pump and reduces GHG emissions.
The Kingston Community Energy Consumption and GHG Emission Inventory Update (2011) shows transportation represents 30% of our total GHG emissions. In 2011, we spent $225 million on transportation fuel.
About 13% of Kingston commuters chose active forms of transportation (walking: 10%; cycling: 3%), but most (80%) use a car, truck or van and 71% of local commuters drive to work alone.
What you can do to reduce your transportation GHG emissions:
Live close to where you need to be.
Live in an area that allows you to be less dependent on a car, determine the walk score of the neighbourhood and access to transit. Visit the love where you live walk score website, enter the address you are interested in and find out the walk score out of 100, the availability of amenities within walking distance and the access to transit.
Choose active transportation.
According to The Active Living Charter of the City of Kingston active living is a way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work, and is vital to our overall health and quality of life (see the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines). It also allows us to leave our cars at home.
In 2013 the City of Kingston received an honorable mention from Walk-Friendly Ontario. This is a project of Canada Walks which is part of Green Communities Canada. Learn more about what efforts are underway to make Kingston a more walk-friendly community.
- Track how much you walk with the free pedometer lending program.
- Determine how walkable your neighbourhood is and when possible walk rather than drive.
- Get your children moving and meet your neighbours: take part in a walking-school-bus or start one in your neighbourhood.
- Walking Map Resources:
Kingston has 40km of bike paths and 400 downtown bike parking spots. Kingston received a bronze rating from Share the Road Cycling Coalition Bike Friendly Communities. This is a recognition program for communities that actively support bicycling.
Cycle Kingston is a grassroots, registered Canadian charity whose mandate is to promote and encourage cycling in Kingston through education and public outreach. Check out their workshops! Cycling safety is extremely important. Stay safe and review Ontario's Guide to Safe Cycling. Learn about where to cycle from the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation's Kingston cycling maps.
Use Kingston Transit.
The Kingston Transit Redevelopment Plan (2011 to 2015) outlines improved transit infrastructure and service offerings to enhance the rider experience and to increase transit ridership.
- Planning Your Transit Trip:
Use My Trip Planner to plan your route. Enter your start point, your destination and the time that you would like to leave or arrive.
- Combine Transit and Cycling:
Kingston Transit offers the Rack and Roll program all year. It allows transit riders to put their bikes on the front of the bus. See the Rack and Roll Guide.
- Park and Ride:
Perhaps you live too far from the downtown core to take transit. Why not consider one of Kingston's park and ride sites. Park your car for free and take transit.
- Free Grade 9 and 10 Transit Pass:
As a pilot program, students in grade 9 and 10 are offered free transit passes to encourage them to make transit part of their lifestyle.
- Tax Credit for Public Transit Passes:
Find out if you are eligible for the tax credit for public transit passes.
Carpool and car share.
In 2011, approximately 71% of all Kingston commuters drove to work alone. Carpooling reduces travel costs, traffic congestion, parking demands and GHG emissions
Your workplace may have a formal or an informal carpool program. Work with management or with a group of interested people to initiate a carpool program. To get started, see KCAT Workplace Commuter Guide as well as carpool websites (i.e. carpool.ca).
Car Share program participants book times to share a vehicle parked in a designated site.
Choose the most efficient vehicle for your needs.
New vehicles have a higher fuel efficiency due the passenger automobile and light truck GHG emission regulation. By 2015, vehicles will be 50% more fuel efficient than 2008 models. Twenty percent of Canadian cars, trucks and vans are over 10 years old. Given the cost of fuel, it may be cost effective to transition to a newer more fuel efficient vehicle sooner. Save money and reduce GHG emissions.
Gasoline and Fuel Powered Vehicles:
The age of your vehicle and its size largely dictates your bill at the pump.
There are two free tools available to allow you to compare vehicle fuel costs (gasoline and diesel) and GHG emissions:
- The CAA Driving Costs Calculator offers two options to better understand the complete cost of operating a vehicle as well as the GHG emission impact. The first shows how much it costs to drive a certain type of vehicle for a year and GHG emission impact compared to the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the same category. The second option allows you to learn more about costs for a specific year, make and model. You can also compare the cost and GHG emission implications of competing choices. For example, by driving a mid-sized car rather than an SUV you could save $530 a year in fuel and decrease GHG emissions by 1.1 tonnes.
- Natural Resources Canada Fuel Consumption Rating Tool also allows you to compare years and models of vehicles and understand the comparative fuel cost and GHG emissions.
Advanced Technology Vehicles:
There are three distinct types of advanced technology vehicles currently available in the Canadian market: battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and hybrids.
There are two free tools available to compare the cost of powering these vehicles as well as the GHG emissions they produce.
Natural Resources Canada provides annual comparative tables on the performance, fuel consumption and GHG emissions related to advanced technology vehicles.
The CAA Electric Vehicle Cost Calculator estimates your energy costs based on the kilometres driven in a year. It makes electricity price adjustments for the province you live in and provides the GHG emissions of the energy used to power the vehicle you select. It covers electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids.
Funding is available through the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Incentives for Electric Vehicles for individuals, business, municipalities, non-government organizations and non-profit groups. Incentives range from $5,000 to $8,500 towards the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicle.
Enter your postal code into the CAA electric charging station locator and find the address and distance to electric vehicle charging stations in your region.
Natural Resources Canada has developed Canada's Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap which covers a wide range of topics related to the vision of 500,000 or more EVs in Canada by 2018.