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How does the Commuter Challenge work?

When does the Commuter Challenge happen?

How are teams formed?

How do I track my trips?

Do all 5 team members need to live in the Santa Barbara area?

Who is a Convert?

What kinds of commutes/trips count for the contest?

What kinds of transportation count for the contest?

Can I count multiple trips daily?  How about mileage?

Why don't multiple trips or mileage count?

What is a utilitarian trip?

How do I find a team to join?

What are the prizes?

What if I bike one way and take the bus or carpool back?

Are electric bikes eligible for the contest?

Are motorcycles or scooters eligible modes for the contest?

What are the Weekly and Monthly Raffles?

Is this different from the Bike Challenge?

What are the stats from the 2009 Commuter Challenge?

What if one of my team members doesn't have internet access?

Can children participate?

Can Students Participate? (e.g. SBCC, UCSB, Westmont)

Registration Troubleshooting

Where can I get Commuter Challenge posters?

Can I use old Commuter Challenge Account?

What if I've forgotten my password?

How can I fill my team? I need more members. My team is too small. I need to switch teams.
How do I log trips w/different mileage from my normally programmed work mileage? What if I use more than one mode of transportation in one day?
Can I log trips while on vacation? How do I make team name and photo edits?
 
How does the Commuter Challenge work?
The Commuter Challenge is a friendly competition that runs for all November 2010, with five member teams making round-trips using sustainable transportation instead of driving alone. Team members log each day they use an eligible mode of transportation using the Commute Calendar. At the end of the competition, the team with the highest number of sustainable transportation days wins the grand prize. The top 50 teams will receive prizes, and we’ll also have raffles at least once a week. Please see our Prizes Page for more details. Our interactive website means participants can track teams' progress and post fun pictures and other information about their teams.

When does the Commuter Challenge happen?
The Commuter Challenge starts November 1 and ends November 30 - but registration is open now.

How are teams formed?
Create your own team
: Come up with a team name and create your own team. You can make your team "Restricted" and invite specific people to join your team or you can "Allow Anybody" to join. Each team must have at least 2 "Converts" to qualify for prizes.
A "Convert" is either:
a) someone who has never participated in a Traffic Solutions Commuter Challenge or Bike Challenge OR
b) someone who drives alone most of the time, but for the Commuter Challenge starts to use an eligible mode of alternative transportation (from Aug.1 - Sept. 30 used alternative transportation for less than 13 days)
or
Join an existing team: You can select "Join this team" to join a team (a yellow lock means it is a restricted team). If you were sent an email invitation for a restricted team, your Pass Code is embedded in the email message you were sent.
You will each begin to track the days you use eligible modes of transportation via your personal, web-based Commute Calendar. Registration begins on October 11, 2010, and the Challenge begins on November 1, 2010.
Upload your a team photo to earn an automatic 5 points.

How do I track my Trips?
During the contest, you and your team members log in to your Commuter Challenge/Traffic Solutions accounts and log each commute day using the Commute Calendar. The Commuter Challenge website provides users with real time status reports so you can find out how your team is doing compared to the other teams in the contest. Start logging your round-trips on November 1, but teams are welcome to join at any point during the month-long completion.

Do all 5 team members need to live in the Santa Barbara area?
The Traffic Solutions Commuter Challenge is open to anyone who lives or works in Santa Barbara County. People who live in Ventura or San Luis Obispo are eligible to participate as long as they work in Santa Barbara County.

Who is a Convert?
Two converts are required per team. A "Convert" is either
a) anyone that has not competed in a Traffic Solutions Commuter Challenge or Bike Challenge, OR
b) anyone that has used alternative transportation rather than driving alone less than once a week on average over the past 3 months (this means less than 13 days using alternative transportation from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30).

What kind of commutes/trips count for the contest?
A work commute that eliminates a car trip to-and-from work.
(Carpooling, vanpooling and telecommuting count, on top of the regular bike, walk, rollerblade/skateboard, bus and train modes.)

Non-Work trips that you make carfree.
(These must be without a car altogether - bike, walk, rollerblade/skateboard, bus, and train. For example, walking to the gym, biking the kids to soccer practice, and taking the bus downtown to go shopping.) On your calendar page, you'll find  the new button for Non-Work Carfree Trips.


What kinds of transportation count for the contest?
Mode Work Non-Work
Bike
Carpool
Vanpool
Walk
Rollerblade/Skateboard
Bus
Telecommute
Train
Drive Alone


Can I count multiple trips daily?  How about mileage?
Although we encourage you to use eligible modes as often as you can each day, only one point can be earned per day for the Commuter Challenge contest - you earn one point for any day you have completed one round trip or more. It is still one point, regardless of the mileage or number of round trips in a day.

However, to keep track of your personal cost savings, as well as mileage and air pollution reductions, you should make sure your “average one-way daily commute” is updated before logging your commute days. The original mileage is calculated based on your home and work addresses. You can also use the multi modal trip option to detail mileage for multiple modes in one day.


Why don't multiple trips or mileage count?
Traffic Solutions has created the one-point-a-day rule to keep the playing field even for our valued converts, who are just getting used to using alternative transportation. The Commuter Challenge contest allows them to think about short round-trips they can take using alternative transportation and still be competitive with more seasoned users.

What is a utilitarian trip?
On top of work trips, utilitarian trips include round-trips when the purpose of the trip is to go to a particular place where you might have otherwise driven alone. Here are some examples of utilitarian trips: a round-trip to a restaurant, to the grocery store, to the beach to take a walk or run, to the gym to work-out over lunch, to school, or to a trailhead to go for a hike. If you make any of these trips without a car, you can earn a point for the day.

Eligible = Eliminate a car trip to work or go carfree to: Ineligible = Doesn't eliminate a
car trip
Work or School Recreational walk/hike/bike ride
Shop or Dine Running/Cycling as training or exercise
the Gym or Park Walking the dog
Visit friends/family etc.
the Library  
etc.  


How do I find a team to join?
If you don’t want to form a team with coworkers, friends, or family, you can always join an open team when you create your account. Teams without yellow locks displayed are open.

What are the prizes?
Our prizes are all summarized on the Prizes Page.

What if I bike one way and take the bus or carpool back?
This type of round-trip would count as a multi-modal trip, and there is indeed a button to code such trips on the Commute Calendar. Our goal is to eliminate car trips, so you can use any combination of eligible modes that you’d like. However, if you ride your bike to work and have someone get in the car to come and pick you up and drive you home, that doesn't count because a car trip was generated. Logging multi-modal trips.

Are electric bikes eligible for the contest?
Electric bicycles are eligible for this contest, as long as the bicycle has pedals (not an electric scooter, in other words).

Are motorcycles or scooters eligible modes for the contest?
Motorcycles and scooters, (including electric ones), are not eligible modes if there is only one person riding. If you carpool with someone on your motorcycle or scooter, then the round-trip counts as an eligible carpool mode. Please note - it must be a utilitarian trip that would have otherwise required two cars/motorcycles - recreational rides are not eligible. Why? After much discussion internally and with others, we made the determination that motorcycles and scooters create too much variability in terms of congestion relief and air quality benefits to include in the Commuter Challenge. They only reduce pollution if they are newer bikes. They only reduce traffic congestion if the motorcyclist lane splits. Motorcycle and scooter use would present too many questions and variables to deal with given our current resources.

You may be interested in this article, "Is your scooter a polluter?" Two-wheeled gas sippers, including motorcycles, put out more emissions per mile than an SUV, says the EPA. View the article.

What are the Weekly and Monthly Raffles?
There will be weekly raffles and one bike raffle at the end of the month. The raffles are for all Commuter Challenge participants logging eligible commute days on their Commute Calendars. The more round-trips you log for the week or month, the greater your chances are of winning that weekly or monthly raffle. The weekly raffles are not based on total team performance, but your personal trips for the prior week or month. Visit our Prizes Page for a list of all prizes.

Is this different from the Bike Challenge?
Traffic Solutions coordinates regular Commuter and Bike Challenges. Our most recent Bike Challenge was in May 2010, but for November, we are having another Commuter Challenge open to additional sustainable modes of transportation.

What are the stats from the 2009 Commuter Challenge?
1,585 Registered Participants!
1.46 million lbs of CO2 - Eliminated!
45,752 Car Trips - Eliminated!
76,518 Gallons of Gas - Saved!
More than 1.5 Million Miles - Reduced!
$869,323 - Total Participant Savings!      

What if one of my team members doesn't have internet access?
If one of your team members does not have internet access, then the team captain or a fellow team member should create an account for him/her using a different email address and login name on the Traffic Solutions/Commuter Challenge website. The captain or fellow team member will be responsible for using the second account to log their team member’s commute days.

Can children participate?
Yes. If there is an automobile round-trip eliminated by a child biking, walking, skating, taking the bus, or carpooling with another family, then the child can log this as an eligible day. If no automobile round-trip is eliminated, then the trip is not eligible. Recreational biking, walking, and skating are not eligible. We encourage families to form a team and do things like biking together to school, taking the bus to afterschool sports and activities, or walking instead of driving to visit friends. Children should be old enough to create their accounts, log-in for themselves, and keep track of their progress in their own Commute Calendar. We suggest that children who bike be old enough to ride their bikes safely on the street.

Can Students Participate? (e.g. SBCC, UCSB, Westmont)
Yes. But participants must be sure to NOT sign up as an employee of their school when they create their account.
Registration Troubleshooting

I can’t log in
If you can't remember your password from the last time you used your Traffic Solutions Online account, you can click on the "Forgot Password?" link at www.TrafficSolutionsOnline.info. If you cannot remember the email address that you used for your account, please email info@trafficsolutions.info or call 963-SAVE. Please do not create duplicate accounts, you should use your existing Traffic Solutions Online account.

I can’t join a team because it is locked
If a team is locked, the captain has chosen to restrict it to certain people. If you are asked to join a locked team, the captain should send you an invitation email or Commuter Challenge card that contains the pass code to join the team.
Where can I get the Commuter Challenge posters?
Download the Commuter Challenge Poster or email info@trafficsolutions.info for larger printed copies.
Can I use my old Commuter Challenge Account?
You should definitely use your 2008 or 2009 account from the Commuter Challenge or Bike Challenge, this is exactly the same as a general Traffic Solutions Online account which you may be using for our other programs, or your employers benefits program. Please follow the registration links and you will be prompted to create a new account or use your existing Traffic Solutions Online account. If you have forgotten your password, you can use the "Forgot Password?" button and it will be e-mailed to you. You can also call 963-SAVE or email info@trafficsolutions.info for help.
What if I've forgotten my password?
If you have forgotten your Traffic Solutions Online/Commuter Challenge password, you can use the "Forgot Password" link on the login page, and your password will be e-mailed to you. If this doesn't work, or you don't remember your login name you can email us or call 963-SAVE.
How can I fill my team? I need more members.

If you have 3 or 4 members and need help filling your team to 5, you should open it up to everyone. To unlock your team, log in to your Traffic Solutions Online account and go to the MY CHALLENGE section.

Scroll down to your team info and follow the link to Edit Team Info

Once here, confirm that you have chosen "Allow Anybody" and that your team is not closed out.

My team is too small. I need to switch teams.

If you have a team of 1 or 2 members and can't find people to fill your team, please consider joining an open team. First log in to your Traffic Solutions Online account and go to the MY CHALLENGE section.

Scroll down to your team info and follow the link to Delete yourself from the team.


Re-click your MY CHALLENGE button once or twice and then scroll down to the list of teams and join an open team (one w/o a lock) that has less than 5 people
 
How do I log trips w/different mileage from my normally programmed work mileage?

To keep track of your personal cost savings, as well as mileage and air pollution reductions, you should make sure your “average one-way daily commute” is updated before logging your commute days. The original mileage is calculated based on your home and work addresses. If you choose to make utilitarian trips that have different mileage, you can update your mileage box before you color code any day on your calendar. The mileage box will hold the last value you enter, and continue to assign that mileage to every date you color code from then on (until you change the mileage box again). Please make sure to keep this value up to date so all calculations will be accurate.

 
What if I use more than one mode of transportation in one day?
If you use more than one eligible mode per day, we have a "multi modal" option on the Commute Calendar. Choose the grey multi modal button, then click on the appropriate day, and the day will expand such that you can log mileage for each mode you used. You will still only receive one point per day for the Commuter Challenge.

 
Can I log trips while on vacation?
If you are using a bike, walking, rollerblading/skateboarding, or taking a bus or train while on vacation, you can use the "Non-Work Carfree Trip" button on your Commute Calendar. The Commuter Challenge is for employers and individuals who work or live in the County of Santa Barbara, but if you leave town for a while it's OK.
How do I make team name or photo edits?
Log in to your Traffic Solutions Online/Commuter Challenge account and click the button on your top toolbar that says My Challenge. Scroll down about a third of the page and you will see links to "Edit Team Info" and "Manage Photos." Use these to make edits to your team name or to upload your team photos. Remember, teams get an automatic 5 points for their first team photo.

Email us or call 963-SAVE if you still have questions.

Traffic Solutions is a division of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments

©2007 SBCAG Traffic Solutions