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Alternative transportation has become a common conversation topic as people become more environmentally conscious and seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes walking, biking, carpooling, and public transportation. Although electric vehicles are popular, they often require an upfront cost that is unaffordable for many people. There are other ways that we can be more environmentally friendly and pursue a healthier lifestyle. In addition to the environmental benefits, alternative transportation brings about several social benefits, including the development of social capital.
 
Social Capital
Social capital refers to the networks, norms, and trust that exists among people in a community or society. It helps people to build strong relationships with others, cooperate with others, and share resources. Alternative transportation helps to create social capital in several ways.
 
Walking
Walking is the most fundamental mode of alternative transportation. It is free and requires no equipment, and is one of the most sustainable modes of transport. Walking helps to create social capital by encouraging people to interact with their environment and other people. For example, when people walk to work, they are more likely to stop and talk to their neighbors or shop owners along the way, leading to the formation of new relationships and the strengthening of existing ones.
 
Walking also promotes a sense of community and belonging. When people walk in groups, they are more likely to interact with each other, share experiences, and develop a sense of solidarity. In addition, walking is a form of physical exercise that can help to improve people's health, which in turn can enhance their social interactions and overall well-being.
 
Biking
Biking is another sustainable mode of transport that can help to create social capital. Biking is faster than walking and can cover longer distances, making it an efficient mode of transport for many people. Similarly to walking, biking fosters social capital by building a sense of community among cyclists. Many cities have developed bike-friendly infrastructure, such as bike lanes and bike-sharing programs, which help to bring cyclists together and create a sense of belonging.
 
Cyclists often form groups or clubs that organize group rides, social events, and other activities that promote a sense of community and social interaction. Biking also helps to reduce traffic congestion, which can lead to reduced stress and frustration among commuters, and ultimately promote a more positive social environment.
 
Carpooling
Carpooling is another mode of alternative transportation that can help create social capital. Carpooling involves sharing a ride with one or more persons, reducing the number of cars on the road, traffic congestion, and air pollution. Carpooling also helps to reduce the cost of commuting and can provide a more social and enjoyable commute experience.
 
Carpooling cultivates social capital by gathering individuals in a shared space. When people carpool, they are more likely to interact with each other and form new relationships. Carpooling can also promote a sense of teamwork and cooperation, as riders work together to plan routes, share expenses, and make other arrangements.
 
Public Transportation
Public transportation is a vital form of alternative transportation that can help to create social capital. Public transportation includes buses, trains, and other forms of mass transit that are available to the public. Public transportation helps to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and the cost of commuting, making it an attractive option for many people.
 
Public transportation helps to create social capital by providing a common space for people to interact. When people use public transportation, they are more likely to interact with each other and form new relationships. Public transportation can also promote a sense of community and belonging, as riders share the experience of commuting together.
 
Furthermore, public transportation reduces social inequality by offering affordable and accessible transportation options for those who lack access to a personal vehicle. This can help to increase mobility and access to opportunities, and ultimately promote a more equitable and inclusive society.
 
Other Transportation Options
Bike-Sharing:
Not everyone can afford to purchase a bike, but many cities have bike-sharing programs that have become increasingly popular in recent years. These programs allow riders to commute by bike without the upfront cost of buying one.
 
Electric Scooters:
Electric scooters have also gained popularity in many cities as a low-cost, convenient, and eco-friendly mode of transportation. They can often be rented through smartphone apps and are a good option for short trips around the city.
 
Car-Sharing:
Car-sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go provide a sustainable and affordable alternative to car ownership. By allowing people to rent cars for short periods of time, car-sharing services make it easier for individuals to access transportation without having to buy and maintain their own vehicles.
 
Conclusion
In summary, alternative transportation options such as walking, biking, carpooling, and public transportation have numerous environmental and social benefits. They help to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable living while also fostering the development of social capital. Alternative transportation encourages social interaction and community building by bringing people together in shared spaces, ultimately leading to a stronger and more cohesive society.
As individuals, we can take steps to incorporate alternative transportation into our daily routines. Walking or biking to work, joining a carpooling group, or using public transportation whenever possible are all ways to reduce our impact on the environment and contribute to the development of social capital in our communities.
 
Check out Cascade East Transit for bus routes and schedules in Bend!