Commuting: Car-Free Isn’t Completely Care-Free


Commuters may not be aware that it’s only a few short weeks until Arlington’s “Bike to Work” Day (May 19th, 2017).  For Metropolitan Washington area commuters, you might think how freeing it is to take advantage of that county’s Car-Free Diet where you “lose 2,000 pounds in an instant”.  Along with the car, you shed the insurance, gas and maintenance issues of the vehicle if you decide to be completely car-free. Yet, if not your car, then what transportation mode will you take to work, school or play?

Arlington, VA

In Arlington county, you have a number of options: Arlington Regional Transport (ART bus),  Metro (rail or bus), bike, walk or telework.   In other jurisdictions, the local government’s bus transit may drive places Metro bus does not serve but the schedules or routes may not be “door to door”. Know *before* you go!

Perspiration Options

Bicycling is a popular option for many and is lauded by the Washington Area Bicyclists Association as the “More Joy, Less Stress” option.  Caveats for this transportation method include precipitation, perspiration, pedestrians,  automotive drivers and retention (keeping one’s wheels from theft).

“Riding on shank’s mare” (aka, walking) is another way to exercise on the commute.  This method also shares cycling’s caveats of perspiration, precipitation, (other) pedestrians and automotive drivers (while retention is no longer an issue).  Yet, many people may not want to walk at speeds of 2-4 miles per hour for the distances most travel daily to work.

Remote Options

Telework is an option for a number of individuals, especially those employed by the federal government. The Office of Personnel Management has a site devoted to the advantages and policies associated with telework. With telework, the individual’s work must be portable (aka, s/he can do this remotely); one’s supervisor must be agreeable; and facilities must be available (computer, connectivity, space).  The newest advice, supplementing the hoary old “caveat emptor”, is “caveat commuter”.


The savvy car-less (but not care-less) commuter ensures s/he knows what route/s serve her/his destination and when “Cinderella” needs to leave the “party” (to have transportation back home).

Ramona Winkelbauer is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Danielle Metzinger

Great info, Ramona! I’m an “alternate commuter” myself but I work for the State of California here in the Sacramento, CA area. I found out our local transportation management associations offer cool incentive programs to commuters who decide to make the switch from driving alone to using some other form of transportation (bus, bike, walk, etc.). They offer financial incentives as well as an ongoing raffle for those who log their alternate commuting miles. Perhaps there are similar programs in your area?

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

I don’t think there are raffles locally … it does depend on where the commuter is; there may be offers I’m unaware of. In the DC area, there’s a neat program called “Guaranteed Ride Home” where if you have to leave exceptionally late (or early) due to an unexpected event, you can get there (if pre-registered and an infrequent user [no more than 4X/year).