STCH is working to change how people move around in Hawaii. When we talk about alternative modes or ‘mode shift’, we are really talking about reducing overall vehicle miles traveled (VMT) across the state. By switching to less energy-intensive modes of transportation and creating efficiencies in our transportation sector, we can reduce consumption of imported petroleum, and the creation of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
To encourage mode shift, STCH supports infrastructure, policies, and land-use patterns that will help create a system in which it is easier to get out of your car and travel in other, less impactful ways.
Oahu Commute Challenge
The 2020 Oahu Commute Challenge encouraged Oahu-based commuters to ditch the car and travel to work by more sustainable modes throughout the month of February. Through special weekly challenges and daily commute points, participants were exposed to more sustainable transportation options and could win prizes along the way. In turn, through participants’ experiences we can help to identify key leverage points to improve Oahu’s mobility infrastructure and policies.
The challenge included 140 commuters from G70 Design, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Medical Services Association, Hawaii Pacific Health, Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaiian Telcom, and PBR Hawaii. Participants reduced 7,989 single-occupancy vehicle miles throughout the month, converting them to other modes, and 107 participants tried at least one new mode for the first time.
By shifting the modes of transportation away from single occupancy vehicles, we reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, STCH promotes mobility options, including the following, which will reduce our petroleum consumption:
South Shore Bike Path
The Lei of Parks (or South Shore Bike Path) is a decades-long community vision of interconnected walking and biking paths along Oahu’s south shore, ultimately connecting Diamond Head to West Oahu, enhancing public access to our shorelines and parks, creating non-carbon emitting transportation alternatives, and providing opportunities for people to recreate, exercise, and reconnect with land/water and each other. Some parts of the Lei of Parks exist (e.g., Honolulu Zoo to Ala Wai Golf Course, Pearl Harbor Historic Trail). Other parts are planned – e.g, the Leeward Bike Path Phases I and II. Over 500,000 people on Oahu live within 2 miles of the Lei of Parks, which could provide a scenic “last mile” transportation option that complements mass transit.
STCH, through Blue Planet Foundation, works with a group of non-profit community organizations and landowners including The Trust for Public Land, Bikeshare Hawaii, the Hawaii Bicycling League, the Department of Health, and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to bring the South Shore Bike path, a connected path from Diamond Head to Keana Point State Park.
The information gleaned from commute mode share data can inform decisions about Complete Streets policies and infrastructure investments for street connectivity, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks. Commit mode share can be a useful way for transportation decision makers to measure the success of such investments or policies over time. Changes in commute mode choice, for example, have occurred in areas where bicycling facilities have been added, suggesting that changes to the built environment might lead to changes in travel behavior.
—US Department of Transportation, 2016