Lattes weren’t the only thing I decided to track in 2012! I also decided to track how I much I travelled over the course of the year. One reason I wanted to do so was simply for my own knowledge! I think if you really want to change something, you need to first measure it. I figured if I could compare how often I drive with how often I choose other methods, I might be more inclined to change my behavior. Another reason was to hopefully inspire others to look at their own habits.
Cars, buses, LRT, and good old fashioned walking! Photo by Darren.
I used a few tools to track this information. First, my Fitbit, which tracks how many steps I take each day. Second, I took advantage of the data I have been tracking for years about my driving habits. And finally, I recorded everything else in DAYTUM. To get distances, I would use Google Maps or this handy calculator. I use TripIt for all my out-of-town trips, so that’s where I got the flight distances.
Here’s what the overall distance data looks like:
No surprise there – I travelled further by airplane than any other mode of transportation. I flew to Toronto, Portland, Kamloops, London, Dublin, and Miami in 2012.
What’s more interesting is comparing how I got around Edmonton and the other cities I visited:
I suppose including the steps distance in that is a bit misleading, because walking around the house or office is included in that total, but there’s no easy way to break it out. Regardless, I think that chart more or less illustrates how I get around Edmonton. If a destination is in walking distance (about 20 minutes or so), I’ll generally walk. If it is far away, I’ll probably drive. For everything in between, I try to take transit.
If I could do it again, I would have tracked the # of trips in addition to distance (I have started doing that for 2013). I didn’t track how many times I used the car to get around Edmonton, for instance. I did track bus & LRT trips though, because I had to enter all that data into DAYTUM. In total in 2012, I made 141 trips using public transit:
Tracking the amount I walk has absolutely been motivating. There were lots of times that I tried to walk a bit more, just to get over 10,000 or whatever milestone I was close to. According to my Fitbit, I did 2,835,849 steps in 2012, covering a total distance of 2043.1 KM. That works out to an average of 7749 steps and 5.6 KM per day. Here’s what it looks like on a chart:
I did more than 30,000 steps on June 9 (which was the day of Al Fresco) and more than 25,000 once more on August 26 (which was the tour of the Northeast farms and Blink). I did more than 20,000 steps five times and more than 10,000 steps seventy-four times. My laziest day was Boxing Day when I did just 1860 steps (clearly, we stayed home).
Recording all of this data has definitely caused me to think about my habits more, and my lack of cycling stands out. If I had a bicycle, I could probably replace a number of the car trips that are either too far for walking or too inconvenient to wait for the bus. I really loved cycling when we were in Portland, so I think I will definitely try to do more of it here in Edmonton this year!