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New Work Out Plan: Take Public Transit
Arlington, VA is the latest city to promote losing weight and finding love by riding public transit. Image via Grist.

Arlington, VA is the latest city to promote losing weight and finding love by riding public transit. Image via Grist.

63.7% of the D.C. region’s workers who are over 16 drive by themselves to the office.  But now, Arlington, Virginia, is reaching out to its lonesome single-occupancy vehicle drivers in a public campaign to make them fitter and flirtier.

The city’s Car-Free Diet campaign,  sponsored by Arlington County Commuter Services,  provides drivers with a calculator to see how many calories they burn, dollars they save, and CO2 emissions they reduce by following a car-free diet.

The campaign’s site offers an array of tempting transit options — including biking, walking, Arlington Transit, Metro Bus and Rail, and carpools — to keep drivers’ mobility levels high, while whittling down their waistlines.  And promotional posters feature a pair of slim transit riders noticing how attractive and sustainable the other is.

New research published in the August issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine says Arlington is onto something. After surveying around 500 people who began using a new light rail in Charlotte, North Carolina, researchers found a typical 5-foot-5 commuter who used the system to get to and from work lost an average of 6.45 pounds over 12 to 18 months, and had a 81 percent lower chance of becoming obese than their neighbors who did not use the system.

Whether they got dates on their commutes is a different story. But Arlington is not the first city to promote sustainable transport as a tool to meet your mate.

In May, more than 100 buses in Copenhagen were fitted with love seats, “offering the possibility for people to communicate, to smile a bit more and possibly, to win someone’s heart.”

For those who have been won over by the idea, but are having a hard time putting it into practice,  VideoJug — a self-help site about how to “get good at life” — features a video entitled “How to Meet a Woman on Public Transportation.”

Watch a video about Arlington’s Car-Free Diet:

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