VIEWS: Touring DC Without Exhausting Your Feet or the Environment

Dispatch from SSC Intern Crystal Kirsch

While staying in the DC area for the summer, I decided there was a lot I wanted to see. So I began to consider my options for getting around the metro area without exhausting myself but also without any significant impacts on the environment. I also wanted knowledgeable information about the district’s history.

I found a lot of different options for touring by bus or trolley. The price was fair, usually averaging at about $35 for the entire day but it was also an eco-unfriendly option. There were walking tours available for around $10 and while walking has little to no impact, I didn’t think I (or my family) was up for it - walking all day long in the summer heat. Finally, I found the perfect option – Segway tours! They are certainly the most expensive option, costing at around $40 for a two-hour tour and $70 for three-hours, but I knew it was going to be worth all the expenses.

Segways produce a low environmental impact as they are over 15 times more efficient than a large SUV (much more efficient than a large tour bus) and create no carbon emissions. They are run by battery power so they only use electricity when they are being recharged. See “The Role of the Segway® Personal Transporter (PT) in Emissions Reduction and Energy Efficiency” for more information.

There are at least three Segway tour companies in DC. I chose City Segway Tours because they had enough available openings on the day/time we wanted to tour. My experience was phenomenal. The employees are trained to help you learn how to use your Segway properly and are constantly there to ensure that you are comfortable with your experience. With a top-speed of 12mph, I was cruising through DC much faster than the walking tour would have allowed. The employees were also knowledgeable and offered information on all of the major touring attractions and were happy to answer questions about the sites. Their expertise was also portrayed when the time came to take pictures. Not only were they happy to take pictures of us but they always knew exactly how to ‘position’ us as to include the entire attraction. They never cut anyone or anything out and always made sure the picture met our approval.

I would definitely recommend choosing a tour of DC by Segway to anyone looking to see the sites. It was well-worth the $70 and I felt good about the fact that I chose a mode of transportation that did not have a negative impact on the environment.