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ODOT challenges Oregonians to ‘Drive Less’

Posted by on October 17th, 2013 at 10:23 am

Ready. Go!

The Oregon Department of Transportation has stepped up to join a promotional campaign aimed at encouraging Oregonians to drive less. For the first time since the state-funded Drive Less Save More marketing program started in 2006, the effort will be statewide this year. Past campaigns have only focused on the Portland region, but in a statement today, ODOT said they’re spearheading the week-long Drive Less Challenge, “as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage alternative transportation to reduce congestion.”

The Drive Less Challenge starts October 21st and runs through November 1st. In those 12 days, ODOT has set a goal of eliminating 500,000 vehicle miles traveled.

“We’re pleased to launch this effort,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett, “aimed at connecting Oregonians with the many different transportation options available — options that can help save money, improve community health and preserve our high quality of life in Oregon.”

Anyone who wants to take part in the Challenge can register at DriveLessConnect.com and log their non-auto trips. There are daily prizes and a Grand Prize of a $2,500 credit toward the purchase of a Bike Friday folding bike.

ODOT has also created an infographic titled, Oregonians love to drive… Maybe a little too much

Register and learn more at the Drive Less Challenge website.

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  • Brian Davis October 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    One strategy that’s been shown to be particularly effective in lowering vehicular travel levels is the reduction of capacity. Perhaps that’s something ODOT could look into.

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    • Peter Michaelson October 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Ok, that’s funny!

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    • Michelle P October 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Yes, Brian, ironic that they are asking people to drive less, but planning for a future in which people don’t listen to them. Shall we plan for the present to just keep marching dismally along unchanged over the years, or plan for the future we want (and thereby make it come true!).

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      • BURR October 17, 2013 at 11:56 am

        Most likely these are two different groups within ODOT, one charged with implementing VMT reductions and air quality improvements, and the other charged with preserving (and even expanding) road capacity. They probably don’t talk to each other much.

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      • 9watts October 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

        I wonder if Jonathan or Michael could ask these questions of Matt Garrett the next time he gets a chance to interview him. In his last interview with him, Garrett talked about silos. I think this is what he meant.
        Let’s organize a nice photo op and give away a Bike Friday, but stick it to everyone not in a car the other 353 days of the year when it comes to infrastructure priorities and spending.
        Everything coming from ODOT gives me hives.

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    • davemess October 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      No joke. They have been belligerent on Barbur, and now that want to turn around and tell people to drive less?!?!?!?

      I know this is most likely coming from a different division in ODOT, but could they possibly stick to a message that permeates all levels of their organization (hopefully that message would be the one in this article).

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  • Michelle P October 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Oregonian’s love to drive? That’s a surprise to me. Mostly I hear people complaining about all the driving they have to do, not reveling in it.

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    • Granpa October 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

      I never hear people complain about driving Santiam Pass or the Coast Hwy or the Columbia River Historic Highway. People complain about cities designed so that driving is required to conduct mundane trips and they complain about commuting, but travel through this beautiful state is a delight in what ever mode of transportation.

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      • Michelle P October 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

        Agreed! Driving around rural Oregon is delightful.

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  • c-gir October 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I’d prefer it if they used “one fewer trip”, since one “less” trip just means a shorter trip. Less is magnitude, fewer is number.

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    • c-gir October 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

      To clarify, you drive LESS by taking FEWER trips 🙂

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  • Reza October 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

    With this promotional campaign, I expect ODOT to swiftly introduce a proposal for a downtown pricing cordon and announce that all planning for the I-5 Rose Quarter widening is canceled.

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  • Martin Vandepas October 17, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Hey ODOT: YOU can start by putting barbur on a road diet.

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  • Spiffy October 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    in this installment of Language Matters…

    Drive Less Challenge… sounds like they want us not to operate motor vehicles as much…

    but, it says to eliminate “vehicle miles traveled” so that means I can’t take a bus or ride a bike instead…

    it continues on to encourage you to take the pledge to reduce at least one solo car trip… so now if I happen to drive a truck or motorcycle I can’t do the pledge?

    then it goes on to say they want you to eliminate one trip that you normally drive alone… so it seems that they don’t care if you still drive with passengers…

    to somebody that is car dependent I’m sure there’s no confusion… but to somebody that’s multimodal like me that walks, buses, bikes, and sometimes rides a motorcycle in a typical day it’s quite confusing…

    but then again, they’re not targeting me…

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  • Austin October 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    It seems they can’t win. Here they are trying to get cars off of the road, and you folks are still complaining!

    Mixed messages? Maybe. Different priorities? Yeah. But who knows, maybe because of this campaign there will be one less car this month that doesn’t make a right-hand turn directly in front of you!

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    • Jeff M October 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      I don’t think anyone is complaining about asking people to drive less. It is the hipocrasy of the message that is frustrating.

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  • Tom McTighe October 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This poster is like the tobacco-sponsored advertising that encourages kids to smoke while pretending to discourage them: http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/archives/17/tobacco-anti-smoking.html

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    • Spiffy October 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      three take-aways from the included graphic from a teen’s view:
      1) everybody else is doing it, and look at how far they can go… freedom!
      2) it’s like taking a rocket through the solar system… speed!
      3) fill up your tank and leave those sucker pedestrians in your dust… rank!

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    • Terry D October 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Yep. If they want people to drive less, then ODOT needs to spend some serious money moderizing thier urban streetscapes instead of the CRC or highway expansion. This is just like “greenwashing” a company….like Walmart putting up solar panels.

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  • q`Tzal October 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    This message seems kinda disingenuous considering ODOT’s current proposal to remove bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on the unneeded CRC bridge replacement.
    Add their total apathy about light rail or exclusive bus rapid transit lanes and this campaign seems like a long forgotten zombie project that has lumbered out of their past to make ODOT look bad now.

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  • Indy October 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    uhhh, why not just plaster it all over that it now costs an average of $10K a year to own a modern sedan in the United States. Including insurance, maintenance, taxes, fees, gas, etc. Source: AAA

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  • jim October 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Maybe ODOT should focus on fixing our freeways so we aren’t stuck in traffic every day. They haven’t kept up with the infrastructure demands.

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    • 9watts October 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

      have you ever heard of the phrase You are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic?

      It isn’t ODOT’s fault that so many people (still) drive when they could also get where there going another way, with additional people in the car, or skip the trip altogether. If anything, the trouble with ODOT is that they pay *too much* attention to folks with your outlook.

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    • wsbob October 19, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      jim…and by what designs or methods do you propose ODOT fix our freeways so people aren’t stuck in traffic every day? Maybe you’ve noticed that a number of freeways in the Portland Metro area, for some time now, have reached capacity during commute hours. For example, Hwy 26 between Portland and Hwy217. Or, Hwy 217 between 26 and Hall Blvd, or the Tigard exit. And of course, I-5 between Portland and Vancouver.

      Read what’s reported in the media, listen to officials when they touch on the subject: there’s really no physical room to expand these freeways to create greater vehicle per hour capacity.

      As for ODOT’s campaign, encouraging people to think of, consider and try ways that may allow them travel less in motor vehicles and still get what they need to done…it’s a good start, and most likely reflects a reality ODOT knows only too well, which is that the department has a finite budget provided in large part by Oregon residents…and that the more vehicle miles roads in Oregon must bear, the more maintenance and repair the department finds itself having to make with that limited budget.

      Some of you folks out there that manage by biking, walking, etc, to keep low, the motor vehicle miles you personally travel, may consider taking ODOT’s cue by encouraging your friends and family that don’t model their travel means after your own…to try biking and walking for a change. Run the idea past your aunts and uncles, your grandparents, or friends that can ride or walk, but haven’t ridden a bike in years, or that would rather not walk more than three blocks to the store.

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      • Bill Walters October 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

        That last paragraph portends another interesting Thanksgiving at wsbob’s house. 🙂

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        • wsbob October 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

          Bill…Hah! I’ve been there, which is how I could pose the suggestion in the last paragraph. Not that I don’t try to encourage my family members to ride, but most are not disposed to the idea…host of reasons, like they think they’re too old, too fragile, scared of traffic, etc. …but there is some hope.

          Within the last year, my sis got a new boyfriend that likes riding, which helped her get around to doing more riding this past summer. My middle aged brother started riding with his son this last year, and they’ve put more than 500 miles of riding in. He just got himself a vintage road bike frame he’s going to build up this winter for more riding. Yesterday, I talked with one of his in-laws, a lady, also middle aged, definitely not racer chic, but living in NE, for some time has been loving a regular four mile commute out to somewhere near LLoyd Center.

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  • 9watts October 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Another more sincere way to go about this might be to recognize the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who don’t drive 365 days of the year. Instead of sticking it to them all year, why not give *them* some exposure, some prizes, some opportunity to tell their stories.

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  • Hillsons October 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I challenge ODOT to suck less.

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  • Peter Michaelson October 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Governor Kitzhaber is in charge of ODOT. The buck stops there.

    Haven’t seen anyone point that out……..

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  • AndyC of Linnton October 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Well, I went ahead and signed up. I already “drive less”, so it’s not targeted at me, per se. Yet, there is a “ridematch” feature that lets you connect with other users by bike as well as carpool. I’m hoping to use it as a “bike-pool” tool, that could maybe push someone to try biking my route.

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  • Suburban October 21, 2013 at 8:12 am

    The disinformational web site, the “register, log-in and win prizes” format, the press releases and television videos, the ODOT and METRO staff hours sunk into it equal up to depressing, ugly, synical, heaps of steaming bullshit. http://www.drivelesssavemore.com/pages/faqs#good investment
    This is dangerous propaganda, and perpetuates with authoritative voice the laziest way of thinking about these transportation issues.

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    • wsbob October 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

      “…This is dangerous propaganda, and perpetuates with authoritative voice the laziest way of thinking about these transportation issues.” Suburban

      Explain what it is about Oregon Department of Transportations ‘Drive Less Save More marketing program’ that you think is propaganda, let alone a dangerous variation of this.

      Encouraging people to consider and try ways of meeting their travel needs by means other than motor vehicles, is an entirely positive thing to be doing, especially by a government agency whose maintenance load is overburdened by people’s excessive reliance on motor vehicles for transportation.

      ODOT could divert more of its budget to active transportation infrastructure, if…more people decided to find ways to travel other than by motor vehicles, bringing about something more on the order of a fundamental shift in travel practices, and conveyed this to ODOT by way of their elected officials.

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      • 9watts October 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        “ODOT could divert more of its budget to active transportation infrastructure, if…more people decided to find ways to travel other than by motor vehicles, bringing about something more on the order of a fundamental shift in travel practices, and conveyed this to ODOT by way of their elected officials.”

        Whoa. What happened to principled advice? leadership? staking out a position and then making it happen? If ODOT followed your advice and waited for the public to do the right thing, then what is the point of having a campaign at all?

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  • Dave October 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    It’s like when it snows in Portland, and they say “don’t drive if you don’t have to!” but then they plow all the snow onto the sidewalks, so if you want to walk, you have to walk through/over a 3-foot pile of uneven slush/ice, and the snow piles up on the side of the road as well and the buses get stuck in it constantly, so you can’t reliably take a bus either. So, what else are you supposed to do? The inside lanes of the road are now the only passable area.

    There are a lot of instances of an organization doing one thing, and then telling people with words to do something completely different. ODOT seems to make it something of an art form.

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    • wsbob October 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      “…There are a lot of instances of an organization doing one thing, and then telling people with words to do something completely different. ODOT seems to make it something of an art form.” Dave

      To some extent, that’s it about bureaucracy, I suppose. The left hand sometimes doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. Whether or not and to what extent that’s the situation with ODOT, I think this is a poor, cynical excuse to not commend and support a state transportation agencies effort to counter negative affects of people relying too much on motor vehicles to get around.

      ODOT shouldn’t even be having to conduct active transportation campaigns. Without the agencies’ encouragement and advice, a bigger percent of the public than seems to now, should be able to figure out on their own, the importance of changing their daily travel routine so a motor vehicle isn’t essential to that.

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