Person standing on the subway platform with train passing by

Ways to green your commute

LIVE greener | 5 MIN READ | 2018-06-21

According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian spends 26 minutes getting to work each morning. Almost 80% commute by car - while only 12% take public transit, 5.5% walk and under 3% ride a bicycle or use some other mode of transportation. Based on these numbers alone, it’s no wonder most of our cities are plagued by traffic congestion and poor air quality! Green commuting provides an opportunity to make a difference for the environment in a big way. Here are a few tips to keep in your back pocket.

Hello, public transpo

Woman using her phone on public transit

Did you know? Changing up your daily driving to use mass transit can typically save more than $800 a year in transportation costs and decreases the household carbon footprint by 10%. That’s huge! So many of our cities have great transportation systems, there’s almost no excuse not to make the switch. Plus, think about all the things you can accomplishment by taking the bus, train or subway, including:

Catching up on e-mails before you even step into the office.

Reading a book, listening to music or a podcast, or scrolling through your social feeds.

Getting up to speed on current events by reading your local newspaper.

Loading up your iPad with fun, challenging games to get that brain buzzing. Or going old school with a crossword puzzle or word search book.

Spending some time in quiet reflection, or simply, taking a nap (hey, we won’t judge!)

Move that body

Man riding a bike on the street

Couch potatoes everywhere may be cringing right now, but seriously, we love this idea. What better way to feed two birds with one seed than by making your morning/afternoon commute your daily workout routine, too? Whether you bike, walk or run – using your own two legs will make you feel so good, you’ll forget you’re even exercising. 

Here are a few things to consider:

Plan your route ahead of time. If you’re walking, simply open up the Nav app on your smartphone. If you plan on biking, Ride the City is a great resource for cycling guides, routes and maps across Canada and the US.

Worried about getting too sweaty? Scope out your building first for employee showers. No showers? No problem! A nearby gym is always an option (and likely cheaper than spending your dollars on gas, parking or a transit pass!)

Safety first. We love this Beginner's Guide to Biking to Work which outlines some cycling basics like using dedicated bike lanes and paths instead of sidewalks, ditching the tunes, stocking up on the right gear and how to change a flat tire.

Share a ride

James Corden and Gwen Stefani in a car

Image Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

According to CAA (Canadian Automobile Association), a whopping 85% of are driving alone each day in Canada. Well, when you put it that way… Commuting with a friend, co-worker or loved one or two is probably the easiest way to help save the planet and save money.

But, where to start? If your workplace doesn’t have a rideshare program, there are plenty of tools out there to help you find your carpool match. Smart Commute, for example, is a great resource that can put you in touch with other commuters going your way. Who knows, maybe in addition to finding your carpool match, you’ll find your carpool karaoke match (à la James Corden) and turn an ordinary commute into the highlight of your day!

Get electric

Electric Vehicle Parking Only Sign

Image Credit: Financial Post

For the keen environmentalists, switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle may make a whole lot of sense – though it may not be for everybody. We love this article by Economical which highlights all of the pros and cons to consider. These types of vehicles can save you tons of money in the long run, but often come with a hefty upfront price tag. While electric cars need less maintenance, they also require charging – sometimes up to 12 hours at a time. These are all things to think about before going to the “green side”, and if you do decide to take the plunge, be sure to explore these offers with government incentives.


Man using a laptop on the couch next to his dog

What better way to reduce traffic congestion by staying off the roads altogether? The David Suzuki Foundation states: “if a million telecommuters worked from home just one weekday a year, Canada could save some 250 million kg of CO2 emissions; 100 million litres of fuel; and 800 million fewer kilometers of mileage on our roads.” If you’re lucky enough that your employer offers the opportunity for flex hours or work-from-home days, take advantage! According to Flex Jobs, working remotely can have the following positive impacts on the environment:

Gas and oil savings

Decrease in greenhouse gas emissions

Reduced traffic impact

Improved air quality

Energy savings

Lower overhead for companies

Smaller carbon footprint

Less impact on transportation infrastructure

Not to mention, you’ll save money on gas, wear and tear on your car, lunches and coffees, “office clothing” and dry cleaning – bonus!