Commuter Tips

Drive Less. Save More.

Commuter Dispatch

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According to The Associated Press[i], as reported in The Oregonian, the typical American household spent 8.4% of their 2011 income or $4,155 filling up at the gas station, the highest share since 1981. At that percentage, the average American family now works one month each year to buy fuel for the car, SUV or pickup.

Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation and other transportation partners around the state are teamed up to help residents keep money in their pockets by implementing Drive Less Connect, Oregon’s online ride-matching tool that connects carpoolers and bike buddies and allows commuters to record how they get to work.

Since the launch of Drive Less Connect in July 2011, commuters in the Portland metro network avoided using 48,518 gallons of gasoline and collectively saved $307,931 by joining carpools, bike pools, riding transit and walking.

The 2,700 users in the Portland metro network of Drive Less Connect are saving thousands of dollars while helping keep the region’s air clean. Since the launch, users actively tracking their trips have kept 902,215 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air.

Are you interested in keeping more money in your pocket and spending less at the gas station? Add a couple of passengers to your commute. Cutting miles that you travel alone is far more effective at saving fuel and money than buying a new car just to get better gas mileage.

For additional details, go to Drive Less Connect. Savings data represents the difference between driving alone and other modes using calculations that include trips logged on the site calendar, trip distance and other data.

Drive Less Connect 

Bike & Ride helps complete commute 

TriMet’s new Bike & Ride facilities allow you to park your bike in a secure, enclosed building with keycard access for just pennies per hour and no monthly fee.  You can even park your bike all day or overnight. Bike to the transit center and finish your commute by bus or train. Or, take transit to the Bike & Ride and finish your commute by bike. Bike & Ride helps you complete commute trips without hauling a bike back and forth each workday.

Here is how it works:

  • Buy a $20 keycard online from BikeLink or call 888-540-0546. A one-time fee of $5 is charged to activate your card. Keycards are also available at the TriMet Ticket Office at Pioneer Courthouse Square and at the snack bar at Sunset Transit Center (6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m.).
  • Insert your keycard at the door to enter the facility and start the meter.
  • Lock your bike to the rack inside using a quality chain or U-Lock.
  • Pay just 3 cents per/hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 1 cent per/hour all other times. If you leave a bike longer than 14 days, the bike is considered abandoned.
  • Use your keycard at any BikeLink facility nationwide.
  • Bike & Ride facilities are accessible 24-hours per day with your keycard and are monitored by security cameras.

Locations in the Portland metropolitan area:

  • Sunset Transit Center (secure parking for 74 bikes)
  • Beaverton Transit Center (secure parking for 76 bikes) – opening  July 18, 2011
  • Gresham Central Transit Center (secure parking for 30 bikes) – opening mid-July 2011

Learn more about BikeLink  

Get details on TriMet’s Bike & Ride locations

Biking the I-5 Bridge: Watch how it’s done

The City of Vancouver estimates that more than 200 cyclists ride across the I-5 Bridge between Portland and Vancouver every day. Many more cyclists are still wondering how to cross and whether it is safe.

Metro’s “Crossing the I-5 Bridge” video can help address concerns that crossing by bike is confusing and dangerous. It is loud and sometimes windy, but crossing the bridge can be done – and can even be fun.

The short video provides directions and eliminates confusion with clear explanations, such as where to use crosswalks at traffic signals on Hayden Island. Hosted by experienced rider, Kathryn Sofich, the video will make you feel like you are in the rider’s seat.

View “Crossing the I-5 Bridge”

Make your doctor – and your waistline – happy

The sun is out and gasoline prices are up. Now is the time to join happy commuters who ride their bikes to work, for errands and just for pleasure. Skip the gym and still lose weight. Here is a breakdown of how many calories you can burn bicycling in just 30 minutes at a moderate rate of 12 to 14 miles per hour.

Weight               Time             Calories burned             
125 lbs                  30 minutes                           226                                150                         30 minutes                            271                                  175                         30 minutes                            316
200                        30 minutes                           362
225                         30 minutes                           407
250                         30 minutes                           452

Don’t need to lose weight? Check out this list of yummy foods you can “justify” after a bike ride to work.

Indulgent food               Calorie count
Chocolate brownie                          226
Grande frappuccino                        270
T-Bone steak, 8 oz.                          402
French fries, 6.5 oz.                         470
Chocolate milkshake, 12 oz.         630
Tillamook cheeseburger                640

Find the safest route to ride by logging onto the Portland metropolitan area bicycle trip planner, Select Find a route then put in your starting and ending street address. No city or zip code is necessary.  Select route type of either normal or safer and then find route. will bring up your bike route with both a map and detailed street or bike path directions, including distances. Need help? Connect with Metro by calling 503-813-7566.

Bicycle economics 101

A gallon of gasoline might cost as much as $9 if it included the real cost of driving automobiles. That is because other taxes cover the costs of road building, maintenance, parking space, police services and losses from accidents, pollution and congestion. If more commuters bicycled, these costs would go down. All taxpayers, businesses and citizens would save money.

More bicycle use means a smaller carbon footprint. Autos are the single largest source of air pollution in the United States. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. Substitute bicycling for short auto trips and reduce your carbon footprint by 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile.

Ten bike commuting excuses and solutions:

  1. I am out of shape. Ride at an easy pace. You will improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter.
  2. It takes too long. Trips of less than three miles are quicker by bike. Trips of five to seven miles in urban areas may take the same time or less than by car because bicycles can utilize bike paths to move past congestion.
  3. It’s too far. Combine riding and mass transit to shorten your commute. Ride to a coworker’s house and carpool to work.
  4. No bike parking. Find a storage area in your building or office. Formally request that your employer provide bike parking.
  5. I do not own a bike. Driving a car costs the average family over $700 each month. A new bicycle and gear will pay for itself in a few weeks.
  6. No showers. Most bike commuters do not shower at work. Ride at an easy pace to work to stay cool and dry.
  7. I have to dress up. Pack clothes with you and change at work. Try rolling clothes instead of folding.
  8. It’s raining. Fenders for your bike and raingear for yourself will keep you dry.
  9. The roads are not safe. Obey traffic signs, ride on the right, signal turns, stop at lights and wear bright clothing. Wear a helmet every time you ride.
  10. I have to run errands. Bolt a rack to the back of your bike to add carrying capacity. Make sure you have a lock to secure your bike.

May is National Bike Month. Encourage your employment site to participate. Visit the League of American Bicyclists website for a guide to National Bike Month that includes ideas for events, how to celebrate National Bike-to-Work Day on May 20 and more about bicycle economics.
Download the guide

Get ready to ride at the Pedal Nation Bike Show

Bicycles are taking over the Oregon Convention Center for the Pedal Nation Bicycle Show on Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10. Check out fun, interactive activities for the whole family. Test ride bicycles, learn safe riding skills, talk with experts, map your commute route and enjoy Portland’s largest display of bicycles, gear and apparel all under one roof.
This family-focused event includes:

  • Pedal Passport Challenge with prizes (including a Bike Friday folding bike or Burley bike trailer)
  • Little Nutty Kids Zone by Nutcase
  • Try the Ride Zone
  • urban riders fashion show
  • Goldsprint stationary bike races
  • BMX Flatlanders
  • seminars and workshops by local bike experts.

Tickets for the event are $10 for adults at the door. Kids 12 and younger are free with a paid adult. Purchase your tickets before April 4 and receive $2 off. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

Learn more about the Pedal Nation Bicycle Show

Tap the app for all show details on iPhone or Android.

Drive Less Save More is proud to sponsor this family-fun event to support biking in our region. Using travel options – biking, walking, taking transit and carpooling – helps reduce the amount of money you spend getting around, which is good for your wallet, your health and the health of our planet.

Purchase event tickets

Help your family bike safely around the region.
Learn more about Metro’s Bike There! map

About Drive Less/Save More and Metro

Driving less is good for your wallet, your health and the health of the planet. Instead of driving, try biking, walking, carpooling or taking transit for short trips to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the air clean. Metro, Drive Less/Save More and other transportation partners across the region work to increase the use of travel options to ease congestion and reduce pollution. The goal is to raise public awareness among employers as well as individuals about the benefits of driving less. To learn how you and your employees can drive less, visit

Contact infoMary Ann Aschenbrenner
Metro Regional Travel Options
600 NE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97203

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