Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 27th, 2013 at 3:23 pm
The Challenge is just one component of a state-funded marketing program aimed at encouraging folks to get around with something other than their car. Drive Less Save More was launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation in 2006 and since then they've partnered up with organizations throughout the state to promote biking, walking, carpooling and transit.
Kelly Bantle, who handles communications for Drive Less Save More, says last year's Challenge had 1,500 participants from all over the Portland region including Hillsboro, Gresham, and even Wilsonville. People register by signing into DriveLessConnect.com and logging their trips. Once signed up, folks can tap into a number of resources like like connecting with other participants via Facebook, finding a biking partner, and tracking how much money and gas they've saved by not driving alone.
This year, pay-by-the-mile auto insurance company (and esteemed BikePortland advertising partner) MetroMile has joined the event as a sponsor. They're giving 200 participants a chance to use one of their Metronomes to track how much they're driving. The idea is that by knowing how much driving costs, they'll drive less. People who participate through MetroMile in the "Challenge+" program will get a $20 Fred Meyer gift card and be eligible for an iPad. MetroMile will create a "Leaderboard" on their online interface and participants will compete to see who can drive the fewest miles. Check out MetroMile.com/challenge for more details.
"Everyone likes the challenge," says Bantle, "and it's good to have some carrots out there to encourage other ways to get around." Bantle adds that there are also 100 $25 Fred Meyer gift cards and seven iPads up for grabs for anyone who signs up (there's a minimum of two logged trips for the gift cards and 15 trips for the iPads).
In addition to getting free stuff, Bantle said people really respond to seeing how much they save by not driving alone. "We get the gas bill and see it's $50, but it's really more like thousands of dollars over the course of the year." Getting fit is another attraction says Bantle. "A lot of us just can't make it into the gym, especially those of us with kids, and a lot of women are gravitating toward biking for their commute to lose those few extra pounds."
The Westside Transportation Alliance is hosting a kick-off for the Challenge at Morgy's Pub and Grill at the Hawthorne Farms MAX station at 5:30.
Sign up for the Challenge at DriveLessConnect.com.