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Attention angelenos: 3 tips to green your commute

A projection for 2040.
A projection for 2040.
Nick Andert

Los Angeles has the top five congestion points and its residents have the longest commute times in the country – is anyone surprised? 98% of LA commutes are made in cars. Luckily, that number isn’t growing as much as public transportation commutes.

LA has a transit score of 49.9, putting it at #9 out of the top 10 best public metro systems in the U.S. It may come as a surprise, but the huge bus ridership, (478 million trips in 2013) is growing and billions of dollars are being funneled into expanding networks across the city. Are you ready to join the continuously improving green commute?

Shorter travel times and lower costs per commute won’t be the only benefit of hopping on a bus or riding your bike; carbon footprints will be reduced and the air will be a bit fresher to breathe. If you’re walking or biking part of the way, your health will get a natural boost too.

Legislation will be under way in 2016 – either a new sales tax or the acceleration of Measure R on the ballot. But people are already imagining the bright possibilities of the future.

Hobbyist designer Nick Andert imagines the ideal Los Angeles Metro system based on current lines, short-term plans, and a bit of creative liberty. Check out the extensive map here.

Until his (and our) dreams come true in the coming decades, do your lungs and Mother Earth a favor – consider a full or part time green commute.

Our public transportation system isn’t perfect yet, but you can travel in several eco-friendly ways starting now. Jumping on the public transportation bandwagon by taking advantage of the current bus, rail, subway networks, and bike paths. Whether your commute is 2 miles or 20, taking the Metro or a mix and match of Earth-friendly options are available to you – all it takes is a bit of planning. Check out the list below for options you may not have considered.

With our beautiful Mediterranean climate, a brief walk, bike, and/or bus ride could end up being an enjoyable start and end to your workday, so you can save your gas money for when you really need your car – like moving or taking long trips out of town. Better yet, the heap of LA sunshine of late reminds us that it’s almost summer. Time to save and gear up for concerts and vacations.

As you take advantage of transportation alternatives now, look forward to more lines and more eco-friendly convenience to come – maybe we’ll eventually rival cities like London and Hong Kong. How will you rethink your commute until then?

How about the Metro?
How about the Metro? James Browning, Expierencing LA,

How about the Metro?

Download the Go Metro Los Angeles app and start connecting point A to point B. You can map out a full commute if possible, and if it’s not, consider biking or walking to the stop that fits your trip. The Metro offers 6 easy-to-use and eco-friendly lines, costing $1.50 a ride, a $5 day pass, a $20 day pass, or a TAP card, which you probably want as a local. Better yet, Metro lines often connect to the Metro Express Line (the light rail), which provides fast service from the Westside to Downtown, Hollywood, South Bay, and Long Beach. With gas hovering between $4 and $5 a gallon, a limitless bus pass will be nice to your wallet, the planet, and your health.

Ever think of biking part or all of the way to work?
Ever think of biking part or all of the way to work? Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition,

Ever think of biking part or all of the way to work?

Most paths and bike-friendly lanes are spread out throughout the city, but often easily connect to Metro stops, which are equipped with bike holders. Grab a bike, enjoy the scenery, and get to know your neighborhood and the surrounding areas. When you’re whizzing by in a car, it’s easy to miss a charming park or inviting boutique.

Use public transportation for local weekend activities.
Use public transportation for local weekend activities. Getty Images,

Use public transportation for local weekend activities.

The less-convenient-than-your-car aspect won't be as daunting when you’re not rushing to work, but heading to an afternoon at LACMA, the Art Walk, or lunchtime drinks. Enjoy a mood boosting commute to your destination – make the journey part of the fun.