2017 Walk & Roll Challenge

The 12th Annual Walk & Roll Challenge Is On!

In support of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Walk & Roll Program, the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) is conducting the 12th Annual Walk & Roll Challenge during May 2017, to highlight the connection between transportation and air quality, to encourage the adoption of transportation alternatives, and to recognize local businesses and organizations whose employees record the most commuting and other purposeful trips taken by means other than driving alone in a motorized vehicle.

Any individual who lives in Bexar County or one of the seven counties surrounding it (Kendall, Comal, Guadalupe, Wilson, Atascosa, Medina, or Bandera County), is 18 years of age or older, and records their trips on Nuride.com may participate in the Walk and Roll Challenge.

Eligible to include in this challenge are trips participants travel to and/or from a specific destination (i.e., not solely for the sake of exercise) by carpooling, vanpooling, riding the bus, riding a bicycle, or walking. In addition to travel that actually occurs by alternative modes, “trips” will be credited to people who telecommute (work from home on a given day instead of going to the office) and to those who work in their office only four days a week or nine days every two weeks due to a compressed work schedule.

Because such alternatives reduce our trips to the gas pump, save gas money, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and provide health benefits, we refer to trips that are not taken as a single occupant in a motorized vehicle as “smart” trips.

Organizations located within the eight counties surrounding San Antonio that notify AACOG of their desire to participate in this challenge may also compete to see whose employees can collectively record the most smart trips per employee. Participating organizations may be recognized in various categories from best newcomer to most improved. Their participating employees, too, will be eligible to receive rewards and drawing prizes.

Any time, individuals recording trips on NuRide.com, the website where trips are officially being tallied for this Challenge, earn points towards over 100 different discounted or free offers from such businesses as Krispy Kreme, Advance Auto Parts, The Cove, Alamo Draft House Cinema, Verizon, Pinot's Palette, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, Clothesline Cleaners, Ride Away Bikes, and dozens more. During the challenge timeframe, there will also be gift card drawings for those who record trips. The more trips recorded, the better the chances of winning.

How to Participate in the Challenge

There is nothing individuals need to do to participate in the challenge but to register (if they have not already done so) and record their trips on NuRide.com.* Individuals will be automatically enrolled in the challenge if they record any trips on NuRide during May.

In order for an organization such as a business, government agency, school, or nonprofit organization to participate in the Walk & Roll Challenge, a brief note of intent should be sent to AACOG’s challenge administrator, Lily Lowder, with the name and contact information for an employee who will act as a challenge “officer” and will rally his or her coworkers to participate in the challenge. For more information, call Lily at (210) 362-5277.

All trips intended to count toward this challenge must be logged by 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2017. Winning organizations will be announced within the following week.

The Challenge Objective

The San Antonio region typically experiences multiple days from March through mid-November when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels. Some of the pollutants in our air originate from other regions of the country or from natural sources, but a significant portion is created locally from activities we engage in each day – such as driving our vehicles.

Poor air quality adversely impacts us in a number of ways. Prolonged exposure can cause such symptoms as headaches, nausea, and breathing difficulties. Periods of high air pollution levels have been associated with increased emergency room visits and school absences in a number of studies. Furthermore, certain groups are particularly sensitive to air pollution: children, the elderly, people who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory illnesses.

The consequences of air pollution don’t end with human health. Air pollution harms our environment and may impact economic growth. In addition, high air pollution levels jeopardize our ability to meet federal standards for air quality.

Until 2012, San Antonio could boast that it was the largest city in the United States that was still in compliance with all federal clean air standards. In that year, however, the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA exceeded the standard threshold for ground-level ozone, which is based on a three-year average of the fourth highest, eight-hour reading at any one of the area's official monitors.

If officially designated as a standard nonattainment area by the federal government, consequences could include increased regulations for new and existing businesses, the loss of some highway funding, and possibly emissions inspections for our vehicles.

The major sources of locally-generated air pollution are the vehicles we drive. Since these are sources we control, we have a unique opportunity to take action and improve the situation: drive less and take fewer trips in motorized vehicles by ourselves. Our Walk & Roll Challenge’s overall goal encourages citizens to do just that.

The overall goal of the 2017 Walk & Roll Challenge is to have at least 100,000 smart trips taken and recorded during the challenge timeframe. An accomplishment of this kind would mean that everyone in the Alamo Area is a winner because we would all be breathing easier!

*For basic, step-by-step instructions on how to set up a free NuRide account, record a trip, find a rideshare partner, and get your rewards, visit this site.