During the month-long Clear the Air Challenge, more than 8,500 participating Utahns eliminated nearly 1.9 million miles traveled and 169,035 single occupant vehicle trips, making this the most successful Clear the Air Challenge to date.
“As we always do, Utahns stepped up to meet the challenge,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “There’s no silver bullet to solve air quality issues, but working together we can make a significant difference. Our air is a resource we all share.”
The 5th annual Clear the Air Challenge was issued to encourage residents to reduce vehicle emissions and improve Utah’s air quality. Using a web-based tracking tool, participants were able to log trips eliminated by biking, walking, e-traveling, trip chaining, teleworking, using public transit, carpooling or working a compressed workweek.
"It's been exciting to see the positive impact and growing popularity of the Challenge over the last five years," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. "This exercise is a reminder that the work to improve our air quality requires widespread participation and even at the individual level, we can make a difference. As our local transit and active transportation options continue to expand, we hope that reducing driver miles will become easier and more convenient for our community and the entire region."
Over the past five years, Clear the Air Challenge participants have saved over 7.1 million vehicle miles traveled, saving more than nine million pounds of emissions and eliminating more than 600,000 car trips.
“We call this the Clear the Air Challenge, but it really has been the Clear the Air Opportunity,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “We have over one million residents in Salt Lake County and if every County worker avoided using their car just one day a week 700 tons of emissions would be eliminated from our air each year. What you do, one day a week or every day, makes a difference.”
The total number of participants, 8,643, represents an increase of more than 2,000 from the previous year. Last year, the Challenge included 6,591 participants who eliminated over 134,000 single-occupant vehicle trips, averting nearly 1.6 million miles driven.
“We are pleased to see such a jump in miles and trips eliminated,” said Jonathan Johnson, chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Clean Air Task Force and executive vice chairman of Overstock.com. “Utahns recognize the importance of clean air to our health and to our economy. The jump in participation shows that more and more people are willing to do their part.”
Outstanding businesses and teams were recognized for their efforts during an awards ceremony held at the Downtown Farmers Market:
1st Place Business Overall: Overstock.com
2nd Place Business Overall: Fidelity Investments
3rd Place Business Overall: ADP
Most Trips Saved by Business: O.C. Tanner
1st Place Team Overall: U of U Facilities MGT
2nd Place Team Overall: Goldman Sachs
3rd Place Team Overall: MHTN Architects
Of the 3,115 individual participants, more than 60 percent (1,895) were new to the Challenge, meaning they created an account in 2013.
Most Consistent Gold: Soren Simonsen - 562 trips saved
Most Consistent Silver: Dennette Nobles - 272 trips saved
Most Consistent Bronze: Jason Graf - 196 trips saved
Most Miles Saved Overall - Nichole Warren - 8,550 miles saved