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Dear Decaturish – When severe weather strikes, commute alternatives pave the way to better days

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Dear Decaturish – When severe weather strikes, commute alternatives pave the way to better days


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Malika Reed Wilkins, PhD

Dear Decaturish,

In the wake of recent hurricanes and tropical storms, metro Atlanta saw gas prices increase and gas stations experience gas shortages. According to Gas Buddy, about 14 percent of Georgia gas stations — nearly 1,000 — didn’t have gas as Harvey left his mark on pipelines and Irma was bearing down. In metro Atlanta, 11 percent of gas stations were out of fuel. On top of limited supply, price per gallon went up 40-50 cents in most places. Some Atlantans even reported paying $3 a gallon.

Gasoline is a limited resource that many of us often take for granted. In our day to day hustle and bustle, traditional driving behavior often contributes to filling up our tanks more often than needed. In addition, driving alone during peak hours can also contribute to more idling and frequent stopping in stop-and-go traffic.

As many Atlanta Metro residents made travel adjustments during the storms, such as carpooling, teleworking and taking transit, we can apply those same alternatives throughout the year for the everyday commute.

Georgia Commute Options is a free program that makes it easy for you to find commute alternatives that can save you gas and even earn you money – just by trying a new way to commute.

Do you spend your mornings heading in the same direction, in the same traffic with hundreds of other cars on all sides? Our online ride matching program can locate someone who lives and works near you – and shares a similar commute – to start a carpool and split the gas cost. It’s likely someone in one of those cars you sit in traffic with every day.

In Decatur, taking transit, walking and biking to work are all incredibly accessible commute methods.

The Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association (CCTMA) serves stops along Clairmont, North Decatur, and Clifton roads between the Clifton Corridor and MARTA’s Decatur Station. This service runs Monday-Friday 5:35AM – 8:00PM.

Decatur’s PATH system allows bikers and walkers to commute safely to their offices. Decatur residents that live and work locally can walk or bike on PATH, avoiding congested major roads and getting some added exercise. Many Decatur residents say walking or biking to work is good for their physical health and even their mental health. Driving on congested roads can be tense and bumper to bumper traffic requires close attention to avoid wrecks. A walk or bike commute works as a stress release rather than another added stressor in your day.

Teleworking and compressed work weeks can save you gas by not getting in your vehicle at all. Studies show that employees feel more productive when they work from home. Many of us probably teleworked this week due to the threatening weather conditions and impending road closures. If teleworking worked well for you this week, consider making it a habit.

On top of everything else, Georgia Commute Options will even reward you for trying an alternative commute. If you are currently driving alone on your way to work, you are eligible to earn $5 a day when you switch to any of the aforementioned commute options. Carpooling, vanpooling, transit, telework, walking and biking are all eligible. And the best part is that these “clean” commutes won’t just enter you to win prizes — they’ll also save you hundreds per year on gas and commute costs!

This is not our last severe weather season, nor the last gas shortage we will face. I hope you will take this opportunity to explore the commute options available to you to conserve gas and of course to save you a little money. For more information about Georgia Commute Options and clean commuting resources, visit our website at www.gacommuteoptions.com

– Malika Reed Wilkins, PhD

Georgia Commute Options

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