Everyday on my morning commute (gag), I pass a message board on the interstate that displays the air quality in terms of color. Green = good. Yellow = not so good. Orange = bad. The sign has yet to display a “Red” air quality day — maybe we would all be dead at that point?
Anyway, if the air quality is yellow or orange, the board displays two follow-up messages: “Please carpool,” and “Please reduce travel.”
Do these messages, delivered at this place and time, have ANY effect whatsoever? What do they want us to do when we see the, “Please reduce travel,” message? Pull over on the shoulder and stop right there? Not go to work for the rest of the week?
Here’s my take: Most people drive right by without noticing (probably because they’re texting or engaging in other dangerous distracted driving behaviors). Of the small percentage that DO notice the sign, the majority disregard the message. And then there’s the tiny minority like me, who feel puzzled and/or guilty. But is there anyone out there who sees the message and actually drives less or sets up a carpool?
I’m making efforts to carpool. I really, really like my carpool set-up, except by-and-large it’s failing. It’s been two weeks since the stars aligned our work schedules matched for a carpool day, and before that day, there was another two weeks with no carpooling.
Since I have a reverse commute (most people in the county drive into the city for work — I do the opposite), there is no public transit option. The 16-mile one way bike ride would involve a lot of big, busy, not bike-friendly roads, not to mention the time involved. So most days I’m that lone person in a vehicle, passing the air quality message board (which is usually yellow or orange, hardly ever green), contributing to the region’s air quality problems and feeling rather helpless 😦