Sunday, March 22, 2009

Transportation Tracker

I recently joined SparkPeople at the recommendation of a friend. I mainly used the fitness tracking feature to keep up with my daily exercise, but decided I would get a lot more out of it if I would use the nutrition tracker to keep tabs on my calorie consumption each day. WHAT AN EYE OPENER! I think I cut my consumption by around 1/3 to 1/2 after only a few days of using this feature. No wonder I was gaining weight these last several months! I've lost a few pounds (in conjunction with also starting a regular exercise program that includes two BodyPump classes each week) since I joined.

So, what does this have to do with transportation? My household was recently selected by the federal Department of Transportation to participate in a one day survey of our travel habits. No biggie, I thought. I'm game. (The small monetary incentive certainly didn't hurt.) So, for one day I wrote down every bit of travel for our household for a 20-hour period including bike rides and walks. Let me tell you--it was another eye opener! In one typical Friday I made 17 stops, only one of which included a short walk and there were no bike rides to be had among any of us. The bike riding part wasn't the shocker though, as we live on a fairly busy street. But, the number of stops seemed completely ridiculous! By the end of my 1.5 hour call with the DOT representative where she recorded all of my information such as miles between stops and time it took to drive there (this 1.5 hours didn't even include my husband's or kids interviews), I was completely embarrassed. I was told it typically only takes about 20-30 minutes.

This got me thinking--while I do not consider myself a particularly "earthy-crunchy" person, I am sure I can do better than 17 trips per day where 16 of those involved cranking up my car. I got tired just talking about all of those trips. So, SparkPeople...are you listening? Could you possibly add another feature to your site that helps me track my car mileage? It'd be nice to have it all in one place so I can work on trimming that as well!

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