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Did You Know?

The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

What do you do with the money you save by driving less?

People who bike, walk and take transit can save a lot of money on their daily transportation costs. What do you do with that money?

Earlier this month, Streetsblog Capitol Hill featured a great article reminding us just how much the average American household spends on transportation.

The Department of Energy reports that the typical American household drove its average two cars a total of 20,000 miles last year. Assuming each vehicle is a mid-size sedan, that’s $14,600 a year, using AAA’s 2010 driving cost estimate of 73 cents per mile.

While some residents of the Chicago region opt to ditch the car altogether, those who drive can still save serious money just by driving less and opting to bike, walk or take transit for more of their daily trips. Having access to more transportation choices gives you the option to save money. According the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s new Abogo tool, people who live near the Active Trans office, which has great transportation choices, can save an average of $275/month on transportation compared to the average household in our region.

So what do you do with all that cash you’re putting away by biking, walking and taking transit more often? I’m going to suggest that you use it to enjoy life if you have that luxury. Spend it on family time, a more comfortable apartment, a new bike, or better walking shoes. But I'll also suggest you set aside some of it to invest in ensuring our region continues to improve our transportation choices. Invest a little of that money in advocacy that helps you save money on transportation so you have more money to spend on other things.

Try calculating your transportation savings compared to our region's average, and consider investing a percentage in protecting your transportation choices. If you’re not already a member of Active Trans, please make an investment by joining at http://www.activetrans.org/membership . You're probably already a member at heart! Join with coupon code HEART by Sept. 30 and Active Trans will enter you in a raffle for a $100 REI gift certificate. Or if you’re already a member and want to make an additional investment in better transportation choices, you can do so at http://www.activetrans.org/donate .