Participants and Partners Celebrate Impactful Central Ohio Commuter Challenge

July 12, 2017

Commuters from throughout Central Ohio recently gathered at the Columbus Commons to celebrate a successful 2017 Central Ohio Commuter Challenge. 

It’s no accident that the Commuter Challenge takes place in June. During warmer months, the Central Ohio region is more likely to experience higher levels of ozone pollution. By choosing sustainable modes of transportation, participants reduced vehicular congestion and improved air quality throughout the region.

Last year, MORPC teamed up with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), CoGo bikeshare, and car2go to offer the first Central Ohio Commuter Challenge. Commuters set the bar high by taking advantage of the opportunity – saving $25,253 in costs and reducing single-occupant vehicle miles traveled by 93,531 miles. That amounts to 72,580 pounds of greenhouse gases being diverted.

In 2017, we exceeded expectations- over 600 people participated in the Challenge, causing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) to be reduced by 130,813 miles and saving a collective $35,063. Participation in the Challenge has also reduced the amount of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by 69,455 pounds.

“We were thrilled to see participation increase for the second year of the Commuter Challenge,” said Patty Olmsted, vanpool program developer at MORPC. “Based on the trips that all of the participants logged at, nearly every statistic is an improvement over the 2016 challenge, which was the first year we did it.”

Community leaders announced both the individual and team winners at the Commons last week. Leslie Carson, a graduate student at The Ohio State University, won the $500 individual grand prize.

“I choose to use sustainable transportation because I wanted to save money on gas and not have to worry about driving through rush hour traffic,” Carson said. “COTA provides an easy and affordable way to get to and from school every day. I also liked that I could see the amount of CO2 I was saving and track my trips online.

The top two teams in the challenge, Aver and Daily Groundhog Migration, won packages to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, along with other COTA monthly passes, COGo day passes, and car2go credits.

Don’t forget to sign up for Air Quality Alert emails at or call MORPC’s toll-free air quality hotline at 1-888-666-1009.