In 2017, Smart Trips is opening the program to include all types of alternative commutes. Started in 2002, Smart Trips is a free online program that rewards people for driving less by providing incentives for people to carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, take transit, telecommute, and work compressed schedules. Those who log at least one alternative commute per week on the Smart Trips website are automatically entered into quarterly drawings for $50 and $100 gift cards. Housed within the Transportation Planning Organization, Smart Trips is a program designed to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality in the region.
In the past, Smart Trips only awarded points for those logging workplace and school commutes, but starting in 2017, all green commutes will count. Over the years, there have been people who are unable to participate for reasons like retirement, childcare, not having access to the bus line, and being too far from their office to bike or walk. Smart Trips is now encouraging people to make every trip a smart trip by awarding points for personal and other types of commutes. Walking or biking to a business meeting, carpooling to dinner with friends, taking the bus to a UT football game, and bringing your neighbor’s child home from school are all examples of trips that now count for the program.
There are a few exceptions that won’t count for the Smart Trips program. Biking and walking for exercise or recreation and making a trip with someone that you wouldn’t make separately, such as going to the grocery store with your spouse, are all trips that will not earn points for participants. Trips only count if it keeps a car off the road!
In addition to the new rules, there is now an app available for Smart Trips. Participants can log trips, find matches, and win gift cards from any mobile device. It is available for both Android users and Apple users.
Offering more opportunities and accessibility is important as Smart Trips continues working to improve air quality and traffic issues in our region. To find more information about the program and to sign up, visit www.knoxsmarttrips.org.