Winter Transportation: How to Be Green Even When There’s White

Did you know that in downtown Rochester, there once was a complex subway system in which passengers could travel anywhere the city? Well, It’s true! In 1927, after the path through which the Erie Canal utilized was abandoned, the site became a over and underground subway that ran on electric cable. The network of rails combined to form a complex system that enabled Rochestarians to move throughout the city. It even crossed major streets such as Court Street, Exchange Boulevard, Broad Street, and ran along South Avenue. One of the allures of this once prolific system is that it would allow people to navigate in the city in any season without contributing to larger amounts of carbon emissions. While, today the public subway itself no longer exists, winter transportation can still be achieved sustainably! Below are some green tips and tricks to reduce pollutants from transportation, even when there is white snow coating the ground:

  • Check your car to make sure it’s weather-ready. Often, broken car parts from winter’s harshness, can lead to fluid leaks, contamination, and accidental waste. To prevent this, make sure fluid levels and air filters are correctly functioning.
  • Make sure tires are up to an appropriate standard for enduring the tough winter, as less slipping and sliding makes for fewer emissions from engine revving.
  • Carpool! After a snowy night, it can be time consuming to brush off, dig out, and warm up your car before heading to work or school. Share rides with others so you can all pitch in to cut down on that time and, an added bonus, lower your carbon footprint.
  • Take advantage of public transportation. Research local schedules to see if any buses come close to the destinations you used to bike or scooter to in springtime! Check the University of Rochester shuttle schedule, as well as the Rochester public RTS schedule to start.
  • For those with electric cars, winter has been shown to reduce potential mileage making it more difficult to get around in cold weather. One way to help recover some of that lost mileage is by implementing seat heaters for warmth in place of circulating cabin heat, as it expends less energy.

Despite the chilly outdoors, it is shown that taking walks in winter can actually have many health benefits! “Going for a winter walk and getting 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands two to three times per week should suffice for getting enough sun for vitamin D production.” Because Vitamin D is crucial for keeping bones strong and moods happy, take your legs out for a brisk 20-minute walk in the snow- your body and mind will thank you!


Written by Julie Elliot, Class of 2015

Image Source:

DescriptionWinter Walk.jpg
English: Lahti, Southern Finland. Jan 2011
Source Winter Walk

Author Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho from Lahti, Finland
Camera location 60° 58′ 58.76″ N, 25° 39′ 26.6″ E


One Reply to “Winter Transportation: How to Be Green Even When There’s White”

  1. It seems like every day I’m hearing about other ways in which we’re damaging our atmosphere. It saddens me to read about all of the damage we’re doing – especially to our air. I’ve been doing tons of studying over the last two years or so, and I was probably most surprised to discover that the Environmental Protection Agency has discovered that the air inside of the normal home in the US is actually 2-5x more polluted than the air outside. Combine this with the fact that many adults can handle up to 70,000 liters of air each day, it seems like a pretty serious) (cause for concern about the non-stop pollution of our atmosphere. How are we expected to stay free of illness – no matter how well we try to live and eat – if we are constantly taking in gases and contaminants?

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