The National Commuter Challenge is observed from June 5 to 11 each year. This week-long Canadian holiday fosters friendly competition between cities and workplaces nationwide. Citizens are encouraged to leave their cars at home, opting for sustainable transport options such as walking, cycling, carpooling, and public transport. The challenge participants get rewarded for their efforts and can keep track of their points through the commuter challenge website. Each city has coordinators who support workplaces and communities. Some of the values tracked during the challenge are distance, fuel cost savings, calorie consumption, and emission reduction.
History of National Commuter Challenge
The first National Commuter Challenge took place in 1991. It was an inter-city competition back then and was part of an emerging trend of sustainable transport initiatives in Canada. Eight years later, the tracking system was introduced to make the challenge more competitive and effective. In 1997, the challenge went from an inter-city affair to a national one as more cities joined the movement. Two years later, the Sustainable Alberta Association (S.A.A.), a Calgary-based environmental group, received support from the federal government through the Climate Change Action Fund. The S.A.A. now had the responsibility of coordinating the National Commuter Challenge. They set up a website where people could register and keep track of their progress and the position of their workplace or district.
By 2000, 20 cities had registered for the National Commuter Challenge. In 2003, environmental minister David Anderson launched the challenge. Participants came from all provinces and territories. Justin Trudeau became the national spokesperson.
Today, the National Commuter Challenge is coordinated by a small team of volunteers from the S.A.A. office in Alberta. Funding for the program comes from registration fees paid by participants of the challenge, many of whom are major corporations in Canada. Regional coordinators also contribute to the City of Calgary and local foundations dedicated to sustainable transport. In 2021 more than 3,000 people participated, saving 76.5 tons of toxic emissions to the environment.
National Commuter Challenge timeline
William Morrison from Des Moines, Iowa, develops the first successful electric car.
A third of vehicles on American roads are electric.
Cheap Texas oil and the improvement of U.S. roads lead to a decline in electric vehicles.
Companies develop electronic vehicles after Tesla produces a luxury electric sports car.
National Commuter Challenge FAQs
Who can participate in the National Commuter Challenge?
All Canadians of driving age may participate in the National Commuter Challenge.
Why must I register?
When you register, you access the tracking tool, allowing you to measure the impact of your commutes during the challenge.
What are sustainable modes of transport?
Walking, cycling, and carpooling are all sustainable forms of transport.
National Commuter Challenge Activities
Bike to work
Ride a bike instead of driving your car — cycle to work or when you’re out running errands. Cycling exercises your body, so you’ll be taking care of your health and the environment.
Use rideshare apps
Carpooling in the 21st century has gone digital. You can now use rideshare apps for your daily commutes.
If you need to get some work done and you can achieve it remotely, do so. Don’t contribute to emissions by driving or taking the bus to work when you can get the job done at home.
5 Fast Facts About Sustainable Transport
Hong Kong and sustainable transport
Hong Kong is among the top cities worldwide for sustainable transport.
Increased development of electric vehicles
Ford, Nissan, and Toyota are researching and developing vehicles powered by electricity.
Biofuels on the rise
Recycled animal products and fermented debris fuel public transport on biofuels.
Hydrogen could be the answer
Honda is building hydrogen-powered cars because it’s clean energy and readily available.
Ride sharing apps
Ridesharing helps reduce pollution, removing between five and 12.7 tons of greenhouse gas.
Why We Love National Commuter Challenge
Collectively, we reduce emissions that contribute to air pollution and environmental degradation. It’s a step in the right direction to take care of our world.
It’s good for our health
Walking and cycling aren’t just good for the environment. They keep you in shape too. The more you do it, the fitter you get.
Helps save money
Carpooling, cycling, and walking help you save money. For the duration of the challenge, you’ll save on money that would have gone towards fuelling your car.
National Commuter Challenge dates