As you may have noticed, our Commuter Challenge is being run slightly differently this year. If you are scratching your head and wondering, “Huh, why can’t I just log in to bikewashoe.org and log my miles like previous years?”, you aren’t alone. This little blip of a blog post is for you!
Over the last few years, we’ve had multiple discussions about what the best way is to track bike commute miles in Washoe County. We kept asking, “Do we really need to keep managing our own separate data set?” In no particular order, here are the major reasons we decided to switch how we ran our Commuter Challenge for 2019:
- By running the Commuter Challenge through our own site, it increased the demand on our already stretched thin, all volunteer organization.
- By running the Commuter Challenge through our own site, it created one more place that people were being asked to log miles (e.g., the National Bike Challenge, RTC Smart Trips, business-specific bike commute programs, etc.).
- By collecting bike commute data ourselves, we limited the collective power of those data as a tool to help leverage funds and inform policy to help make Washoe County a safer and more inclusive cycling community.
The RTC of Washoe County has been a major partner of TMBA for a number of years. They support us by hosting monthly planning meetings, donating design services, helping us spread our messages and more. Additionally, they recently completed a major update to their Smart Trips website (with an associated app to be released in the near future). By joining our Commuter Challenge with the RTC Smart Trips program, we are supporting this RTC program and benefiting from the RTC’s ability to better share and utilize these data for all Washoe County cyclists’ benefit.
The RTC will be sharing bike commute data from Bike Month with TMBA so that we can select a few individual winners, provide recognition to participating businesses, and highlight a few key Commuter Challenge stats once Bike Month is over (just like we’ve done in past years). By providing the RTC with basic data on just how often and how far people will ride their bikes for commuting purposes, however, we can improve the RTC’s ability to fight for more funds, improved infrastructure, and better policies. The RTC will be able to use this information when prioritizing long range projects, when partnering with state or federal departments of transportation, or when seeking funding or support from the Federal Highway Administration.
While we are focusing our outreach efforts on recording bike commute miles during Bike Month, we want people to know that Smart Trips can be used to demonstrate your impact on our community year round.
Now that you’re “in the know”, be sure to get signed up with RTC Smart Trips and log some bike commute miles! Hint: Once you’re signed up click on “Things To Do” at the top and then “Log Commutes” icon or just click on the “Commute Calendar” to get your miles logged.
Happy Bike Month and safe riding!