Mass. government encourages residents to go car-free this week

State officials are encouraging residents to leave their cars at home this week for the third annual Massachusetts Car-Free Week, offering rewards for those who track and submit their non-car trips.

The week-long event, which runs from Monday, Sept. 17 to Sunday, Sept. 23, aims to decrease the state’s carbon footprint and promote sustainable travel options by suggesting that residents walk, bicycle, carpool or take public transportation, according to the event website.No other state in the nation has proclaimed a statewide car-free week celebration, according to Massachusetts Department of Transportation. However, Massachusetts joins over 1,000 cities in 40 countries in the week-long car-free event. This year, the state is partnering with NuRide, a free rewards program that gives members points for their car-free miles, which they can trade in for coupons and discounts from local retailers.

This week, new members can use the code “greenma” to get 1,000 additional free points, according to the company. The week-long event supports GreenDOT, MassDOT’s environmental sustainability initiative that supports the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008.

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The act requires a 25 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. The transportation sector generates more than one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in Massachusetts, according to MassDOT.