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Four local families fed up with fueling up put their skills to the test to cut back on their driving for one week in this year's Drive Less Family Challenge. It was an extremely close competition, but the Markley-Johnsons came out on top reducing their driving by 94 percent!
Like many busy professional couples, Julia Markley and Lance Johnson put on the miles commuting to work, running errands and getting their two kids around. Starting with a 500-mile weekly average, the Markley-Johnsons reduced their driving during the challenge to just 31 miles. As part of the competition, families had to keep up with their regular travel routine.
"We're in it to win it," said Julia at the challenge kick-off. "I think we can do it!" The Markley-Johnsons took the challenge head-on by taking up bike commuting, tapping into transit and using Zipcar. The family also started walking to nearby shops and restaurants and made use of home delivery services, ecodrycleaner and Spud!.
As the challenge winners, the Markley-Johnsons were awarded with a Samsung Mondi and six months of CLEAR Mobile Internet service. And, as a special surprise, the family also received a brand new Burley d'lite ST bike trailer with generous interior space, tinted windows and fast-acting folding system.
Placing second was the Hays family of six from SE Portland, who reduced their miles by an impressive 93 percent. Dan Hays works full time, while his wife, Jane, spends most of the day shuttling their four kids to and from different schools and soccer fields. The family relied on transit, including the new MAX Green Line, plus biking and planning out trips.
"We're amazed at how many miles we saved just by planning our day ahead of time," said Dan Hays. The family enjoyed working together to drive less and noted the challenge helped bring them closer, in addition to saving all those miles.
In third place was the Pettersen family of four in Vancouver, who cut their miles by 71 percent. Tara Pettersen was making the dreaded south-bound commute into Portland everyday for work. Her husband Kirk commuted into downtown Vancouver. During the challenge, the family used transit and Zipcar, plus Kirk started bike commuting, using his new electric bicycle.
In fourth place, Sheldon and Susan Penner reduced their driving by 33 percent, a significant feat with Sheldon needing to make site visits for his IT company, Amicus Data. Sheldon realized a lot of success in cutting back the miles by tapping into technology (electronic mapping and remote computing) and actively checking in with clients to see if they have any service needs while he's in their area. Other simple measures like stocking his minivan with parts that he might need has also helped in cutting out extra trips.
Check out posts, pics and videos from the challenge families on the
Drive Less Save More Facebook Page.