Ideas to reduce Cincinnati driving

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Carol Coletta of Smart City was recently the guest blogger on the Soapbox Cincinnati website. Her second post mentioned that a huge way to decrease pollution and climate change in a city is to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). The average individual currently drives 12,000 miles per year. Carol suggests that an ideal goal for VMT in a modern city is 3,900 miles per year.

But what can be done to create an adequate incentive to encourage Cincinnatians to reduce their annual automobile driving miles by more than two-thirds?

An effort of this magnitude would have to be powerfully supported and encompass the participation of the entire county. We have a few ideas to start the brainstorming:

  1. Massive contests. Perhaps the government can ask individuals to register their current odometer numbers in conjunction with renewing your auto tags. When your annual renewal comes up the next year, turn in your new mileage counter and be entered into a drawing to win a gas card. Any individual who drives 5000 miles or less in that one year is entered to win a new (highly fuel-efficient) car.
  2. Tiered individual incentives. Individuals who wish to participate agree to visit an official booth once every 6 months to have their odometer mileage recorded. For each visit that you reduce your annual VMT or stay below the 5000 annual miles threshold, you receive a gift (Reds tickets, gas card, free vanity plate, or a donation made in your name to Ohio Wildlife). If after 3 years you have reduced your VMT by 2/3, you are entered into a drawing to win a major prize (a new fuel efficient car, a $5000 tax credit, or a free bus pass for life).

Any other ideas?

3 Comments on “Ideas to reduce Cincinnati driving”

  1. Increased Public Transportation, not gimmicks

  2. If gas were around $9/gallon, VMT would go way down. If all that extra tax were spent locally, it would easily pay for any public transit you could think of. (And the public transit would be necessary for those who couldn’t afford the high gas price.)

  3. Recognition is a powerful tool. Maybe a ‘green’ license plate for those cars driven less than 5000 miles in the past year.

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