Get started walking to work
Of all the ways to get to work, there’s a convenient and reliable form of transportation that is often overlooked: your own two feet.
Walking can be a great commute choice for short distance, or as part of a longer commute. And whether you walk to work once a week or every day, it’s a relaxing, easy, and inexpensive choice. Even if you must cross a bridge, take a train, bus, or ferry to reach your job, you can walk at least part of the way to work.
Is walking to work right for you?
To determine if walking is a good commute choice for you, consider the following questions.
How long is you commute?
If you live up to 5 miles from work, or can walk a similar distance to or from transit, walking to work might be right for you.
Are you in shape?
Walking is suitable for people of all ages and fitness level. Even if your most recent stroll took you only as far as your car door, when you start walking on a regular basis you’ll feel more fit in no time.
Can you afford the extra time to walk to work?
Walking, whether all or just part of the way to work, will definitely take longer. Consider, however, that the time you spend walking is probably more relaxing and rewarding. And walking burns about 350 calories per hour, so you can commute and stay fit at the same time.
How do I get started?
1. Choose a Route
Study a street map or download a Neighborhoods on Foot Walking Map and pick a route that will take you through safe neighborhoods on well-paved sidewalks. Lace up a pair of walking shoes and try your route on the way home from work, or on a weekend. Are the hills too steep? Consult you may and choose a flatter route.
Pick a route that includes transit stops, in case you’re running late or it starts to rain. Unless you’re training for a race, allow enough time for a leisurely walk so you can arrive at work relaxed. Try to imagine what the route will look like after dark, or drive be in the evening to see if the area feels safe.
If your work location is more than a comfortable walking distance from your home, a combination of walking and public transit – bus, ferry, train, or light rail – may be just the ticket. Grab an Orca Card, transit schedules or download One Bus Away, then estimate or time how long your walk takes to and from the train depot, bus stop, or ferry terminal.
2. You’ll Need Good Shoes
Sturdy, comfortable shoes – either athletic shoes or specially designed walking shoes – are essential. If you buy new shoes, break them in by walking around the neighborhood before you walk all the way to work. Some people store dress shoes in their office, while others carry a change of shoes.
3. Backpacks and Briefcases Are Handy
A backpack or briefcase with adjustable shoulder straps are useful for carrying footwear, office gear, and other essentials.
4. Prepare for bad Weather
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment. Bring along collapsible umbrellas or a fold-able raincoat. These handy pieces of equipment are easy to pack into your backpack or briefcase during the rainy season.
You’re On the Road
Although walking is a vehicle-less form of transportation, you still need to obey traffic laws. Observe traffic signals and be on the alert for cars and bicycles. Be visible and predictable. Avoid crossing the street between parked cars. If you listen to music when you walk, be aware. Make sure the music is low enough so can still hear honking cars, fire engines, and police sirens. And, don’t text when walking. Make sure you make eye contact with the driver, before you cross any intersection.
Walk with a Friend
A co-worker or neighbor who walks in the same direction can be a welcome companion to keep you motivated to walk on a regular basis.
Vary Your Route and Enjoy the Scenery
Walking puts you on intimate terms with your surroundings and helps you discover unexpected nooks and crannies of your environment. Take advantage of this freedom to explore, and vary your route to work. You’ll soon notice new bookstores, cafes, and other places to shop and browse on your way home from work or on your days off.
Issues & Solutions
Walking to work will make my commute even longer.
You can combine walking and mass transit to get to your job. Decide how much time you have for your entire commute and allot a portion of that time to walking.
My briefcase and other items are too heavy to carry.
Take home only what you need. Backpacks and lightweight briefcases with shoulder straps make it easier to carry work supplies when you walk.
I’m afraid of walking through unsafe areas.
Plan an alternative route, or ride public transit through unsafe or deserted areas. We encourage Walking Buses, which are friends meeting at a designated location and walking together.
My clothes will be wrinkled when I get to work.
When you walk at a moderate pace on a relatively flat route, you’ll arrive in good shape. You can shorten your walk or take the bus when you have special meetings that require dress clothes. Or bring clothes when you take the bus on alternate and leave them in your office. On days you walk, dress casually and change when you get to work.