Time that we changed our mindsets over travel

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Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to have events such as the Big Green Commuter Challenge? Each year it encourages workers to leave their cars at home, or share one, and use trains, buses, cycles or foot power for the daily commute.

More and more companies have signed up since it began nine years ago. Last year the challenge saved more miles than ever before – 78,500. A total of 1,078 people from 32 organisations took part and nearly 31,000kg of emissions were avoided.

But the very fact it is being held again this year in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant shows that the message is still to get through to enough people.

So we commend the organisers of the challenge and how it makes us all think of the ways we choose to get around and what we could do to limit the impact of our journeys on the environment.

Transport is one of the big issues facing society. We have got so used to being cocooned in the comfort and convenience of our cars that breaking the habit is hard.

But lengthening traffic jams, pollution from those exhaust fumes and the soaring pice of petrol should make us think twice before getting behind the wheel.

Then there are the health benefits of cycling or walking to work.

If it saves us money, helps the planet and makes us feel better, what’s not to like?

A lot of it is about changing our mindsets, thinking about where we’re going and how far it is rather than just reaching for the car keys because it’s what we’ve always done.

Of course, reducing car use does depend on the provision of a quality public transport system. So it’s good to see that South West Trains and Stagecoach and First bus companies are joining in the challenge by offering the incentive of discounts.

Their involvement is crucial if people are to be persuaded to leave the car at home.

Because if an alternative is not attractive enough, whether it’s because of cost, comfort or convenience, then the car will win every time.