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New Report: University Campuses Like UC Davis Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving
Davis, February 5th – As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like UC Davis are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released today. The report, titled, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” was released by CALPIRG Education Fund and features UC Davis.
“Across America, colleges and universities are showing that efforts to meet increased demand for transportation options deliver powerful benefits for their community and surrounding areas,” said Zach Weinstein at CALPIRG Education Fund. “These efforts are saving money for universities, and improving the quality of life on campus.”
Americans aged 16 to 34 years of age reduced their annual driving miles by 23 percent per person between 2001 and 2009, according to research based on the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration that is included in the study.
The report highlights UC Davis’ innovative goClub program, which uses incentives to encourage students, staff, and faculty to use sustainable transportation to and from the campus:
- As a result of the goClub ridesharing program, the percentage of graduate students sharing rides to campus more than doubled from 3.4% to 6.9% from 2007-2012.
- Faculty ridesharing rose from 6.7 to 8.9% over the same period, and among staff the rate increased from 10.1% to 12.6%.
- New data just released confirms that these positive trends are continuing, with the percentage of graduate students who carpool now at 7.8%.
- Over 40% of Davis students and staff bicycle to campus, demonstrating a growing preference to avoid traveling by car altogether.
- Incentives include reserved parking spaces for regular carpools, discounted parking permits, and emergency ride home service if a student or staff who carpools needs to get home early.
“Since the goClub launched in 2009 we have witnessed a steady increase in participation in all modes of transportation, including bus, bike, walk, train, carpool by students and employees alike,” said Leslie Mancebo, Transportation Demand Coordinator at UC Davis. “As the campus population grows, we will continue efforts to encourage members of the UC Davis Community to make sustainable transportation choices.”
As Baby Boomers grow older, Millennials have become America’s largest generation. Since government investments in transportation infrastructure often last decades, the question of whether current investment will match the needs of future travelers depends largely on how well Millennials’ preferences will be met.
“I’m a senior here, and I ride my bike to campus every day,” said UC Davis student Donna Farvard. “When I can’t ride my bike, I take the bus. I love the fact that I rarely have to use my car to get around, and I definitely plan on continuing to bike and use public transportation after I leave Davis.”
The report describes how universities are improving their communities by providing a wider range of transportation choices. This includes buses, biking, various types of vehicle-sharing that makes it easier not to have a personal car, and convenient apps that make it easier to navigate the options. The report also documents how campuses seek to avoid the steep costs of building additional parking facilities.
“Universities have a lot in common with cities,” added Weinstein. “They must get the most value out of limited land, they are acutely aware of problems associated with being overrun by cars; and they need to focus on the tastes and aspirations of young people. It’s no wonder that universities are leaders in finding successful ways to make it easier for people to drive less.”
You can download the report, “New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” here.
The report is the sixth in a series of studies on the national shift away from driving. The first report, Transportation and the New Generation, documents the dramatic decline of driving among Millennials. The second, A New Direction, examines the causes of declining driving and the implications for future transportation policy. The third, Moving Off the Road, documents state-by-state differences in declining driving, and shows how these differences do not correspond to how hard states were hit by the recession. The fourth, A New Way to Go, explores how new technologies and changing technological habits among Millennials are connected to the nation’s decline in driving and can encourage less car-dependent lifestyles in the future. The firth report, Transportation in Transition, released in early December, examines the data on declining driving and increasing transit and biking in America’s 100 largest cities.
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