Green Transportation: 4 Tips for Navigating Public Transit

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public transit train sign

by Cassie Phillips

Public transit remains one of the best possible ways to stay green.

Public transit often saves you a great deal of time in the big cities where you have to worry about parking and traffic.

Still, it can be confusing for some people—especially those who aren’t used to it, or green living in general yet.

Here are some tips for people who are interested in making public transport a regular part of their lives:

1. Look Things Up Beforehand

You don’t need to go into the city blind when you have technology and are trying to maintain sustainability. You can almost always look up the departure and arrival times of buses, trolleys, and trains online. In the more advanced cities, you can even expect the times and any delays to be up to the minute.

Google Maps also has an incredibly useful feature in that it will give you directions via public transit. Just type in where you want to go and click the transit button, and it will find you a way to get there. You might need to take a taxi or (even better) walk for a little bit, but you can trust the majority of your trip will be on a nice public transit service.

Also look up any potential bike/scooter sharing programs that you might be able to use while in a city. One day while walking around Portland on a conference trip I started to notice that there were bike racks everywhere, and later learned for a small fee I could rent out bikes from places all around the city and drop them off as I needed to. For the next four days that’s how I got to navigate the city and see everything without being inside of a vehicle.

2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to Keep Data Safe

While using public transport is admirable and something a real Green Diva would do whenever they could, you also need to keep your security in mind. This also means the security of your data! And if you’re going to be in public places, it’s helpful to know about the dangers of public networks. On public networks, hackers or other cybercriminals can intercept your data and then use it to commit identity theft.

That’s why you need a VPN—a service that will safely connect you to an offsite server using an encrypted connection, protecting you when you are using the internet. This means security and privacy for your eco-friendly living.

There are many VPN providers out there, so to compliment your green endeavors, you’ll want to find a VPN that will best protect you on public transit.

3. Choose the Greener Transit Option

Public transit has a number of different options to it, and in some cases there are different options or several companies running programs to get you around the city. While almost any of them will be better than using a car, it’s best to find the greenest one. Why reduce your footprint by a third when you can reduce it by half?

If you find two different bus lines in cities that have different emissions standards for their vehicles, inquire as to which is greener and then use that one. Learning about the different options in a city and their impact on the environment will both educate you and remove the veil of ignorance as an excuse when trying to make a green decision. Use the market to your advantage when you navigate the city, and you will help move the invisible hand, however slightly, to making a greener world.

4. Find a Pattern

Once you get used to using public transit, you’ll start to have many of the times and lines memorized. Systems don’t really vary too much from place to place, and once you start to find a pattern, you’ll find yourself moving in and out, making every appointment or plan efficiently with time to spare.

You might not get it the first day or the first week, but you will eventually get the hang of things. Try to take a day with a friend to just explore and know where each of the different routes or lines take you. Don’t forget to take advantage of multiple forms of public transit to get exactly where you need to go and help the environment. Perhaps you can briskly walk that half-mile instead of waiting to hop on the bus (it’s healthier, anyway). Soon you’ll be getting around as if you’ve used it all of your life, and you’ll be helping the environment by doing so.

Here are some hidden savings of public transit:

public transit infographic


For more green-living tips, listen to the latest Green Divas Radio Show

Catch the latest Green Divas Radio Show—and other green, healthy and free radio shows—daily on (or get the GDGD Radio app)!

Image via ShutterStock

Cassie Phillips headshotCassie Phillips is a technology enthusiast who enjoys using technology to go green. A writer for Secure Thoughts, she recently decided to use her knowledge to help others go green while still having the luxury of technology.



Conscious Consumer, Eco-Travel, Environment, Featured, GD Ticker, sustainability

About the author / 

The Green Divas

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter too!

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