Trip Chaining Fact Sheet
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Remember when you got your chores done all at once so you could go out and play? Trip chaining is the same idea...only you'll save the air in addition to saving time.
When you start your car after it's been sitting for more than an hour, it pollutes about five times more than when the engine is warm1. That's why combining your errands into one trip means more time in your life, less traffic congestion, and less pollution...which all adds up to cleaner air.
So make a list, plan your route, and trip chain. You'll be saving a lot more than just time.
Here are some trip chaining facts to consider:
- Family and personal business—including window shopping, purchasing goods and services, doctor visits, picking up or dropping off someone, and other personal reasons, such as haircuts, banking, and car repair—account for about 45% of all trips.2
- Combining three separate short trips (such as to a nearby bank, post office, and grocery store) into one trip every week could eliminate about 200 miles on your vehicle, and save you 10 hours and 10 gallons of gas every year.3
- Emissions are highest when a vehicle is started "cold." For example, starting a 5-mile trip when the engine is cold generates about 17% more nitrogen oxides and 50% more volatile organic compounds than the same trip when the car is started warm.1
- Eliminating five separate 1-mile trips reduces about the same amount of ozone-related pollution as eliminating one 15-mile trip.1
- Between 1995 and 2001, there was a 21% increase in the number of commuters who trip chained in the home-to-work direction and a 12% increase in commuters who trip chained in both directions.4
Top 10 Ways to Trip Chain
Trip chaining is combining several errands into one trip, which saves time & money. Work trip chaining into your schedule by using these Top 10 Ways To Trip Chain:
- Plan ahead. Take time to plan out your route & think about everything you need to get done.
- Make a list. Write down everything you need & you won’t make a last minute trip to the store. Use the handy list found here: http://www.italladdsup.gov/downloads/TripChainChecklist.pdf
- Use the most efficient route. Internet sites & GPS receivers can help you plot the shortest route.
- Try making only right turns. United Parcel Service (UPS) determined that left turns, which cause drivers to wait for traffic and or signal lights to change; tend to take more time and waste more gas than right turns.
- Avoid backtracking. Follow a pre-planned route and use a list to remember everything you need.
- Combine errands. Stop at the library, post office & bank, pick up prescriptions & dry cleaning & drop off donations on the way to or from work or the grocery store.
- Use nearby stores. Explore your neighborhood shops. Use local services like dry cleaners, hair salons, convenience stores, etc. Walk to the local coffee shop for a break or the local eatery for lunch.
- Group appointments together. Schedule hair cut or dentist appointments for the same day for everyone in the family.
- Consider one-stop shopping. Many stores & shopping centers offer the opportunity to get all of your needs taken care of in just one place.
- Use Internet or mail order services. Try Netflix for movies, pharmacies for prescriptions, catalogs & home shopping television & cable channels for home goods & clothing.