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Transit and Trails: Connecting People to Nature on Public Transit

November 24, 2009

City bus gg80_to_sf_webNature pic sunset_matt_davis_fog2_webDon’t own a car, but want to get out to one of the Bay Area’s hundreds of parks and trails? Or perhaps, you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint and wondering how to get to your favorite hike without using your car?

Transit and Trails is a new resource for outdoor enthusiasts who want to leave their cars behind and easily get information on how to take the bus (or ferry) to reach Bay Area hiking trails and campgrounds.

A project of the Bay Area Open Space Council (BAOSC), the new interactive website identifies hundreds of trailheads and 150 campgrounds to explore across the Bay Area’s 1.2 million acres of preserved lands. Just enter your starting location, and roughly how far you want to venture, and the site suggests possible hikes and featured trips. Once you decide where you want to go, it connects with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s 511 Transit Trip Planner to provide a detailed trip itinerary, complete with a map, transit times, fares and walking directions to and from the transit stop.

BAOSC a collaborative of more than 55 member organizations actively involved in permanently protecting and stewarding important parks, trails and agricultural lands in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. They are committed to connecting people to the land.

According to Bettina Ring, Executive Director of the BAOSC, “Transit and Trails is the first ever trip planner focused on parks and trails…It brings all the needed information to your fingertips so you can easily plan your outing.”

The ROI of Not Driving

Trails pic tnt_find_hi_sat_web

The site also calculates the cost of driving to your destination and estimates the pounds of carbon you would save by using public transit, so you can calculate the ROI of leaving the car at home.

Wouldn’t this make a great iphone application?

Transit and Trails makes it easy for you to access all the amazing parks and open spaces in the Bay Area while minimizing costs (save on tolls, gas and parking) and reducing your carbon footprint. Give it a try!  Since I live in Marin and can reach many trails from my front door (or if I need to travel, I have the dog along)  I have not tried the service yet.

Deborah Fleischer is founder and president of Green Impact. She is a LEED AP with a Master in Environmental Studies from Yale University and over 20-years of direct experience working on sustainability-related challenges in both the public and private sectors. You can follow her at @GreenImpact.

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