The Goal: Develop innovative alternatives to car-based commuting.
Travel by individuals in cars is expensive, inefficient and contributes to traffic congestion.
- In 2005, cars and light trucks traveled over 3 trillion miles - almost triple the vehicle miles traveled since 1970 1
- Supporting commuters who drive to work is expensive for the University - the cost to build new parking is estimated at $6,000 per space. Plowing and lot repairs cost thousands more. 2
- More than 270 SLU employees live within one mile of the University.
- Between 2002 and 2012, vehicle miles traveled by drive-alone commuters are predicted to increase by at least 15% - generating an additional 43 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) annually.3
- A typical household spends 18% of its income in driving costs - more than it spends on food 4
- In the United States, 78% of all trips to and from work are in single-passenger vehicles 5
- In 2002, cars and light trucks consumed 8.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, 42.5% of U.S. total consumption 6
- Vehicular gasoline consumption accounts for 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 7
St. Lawrence University's rural location provides beautiful scenery and quick access to wilderness but also long drive times to many services and the University itself. Students going home for break, employees commuting to work and sports teams traveling to away games accumulate thousands of driving hours.
Opportunities for St. Lawrence University:
Based on research provided by SLU students, the University has added a Toyota Prius to the University's fleet. This has proven to be an excellent first step in developing a vehicle fleet that is more fuel efficient and less polluting. In addition, the University contracts with a private bus company to provide reasonably priced one-way and round-trip transportation to major Northeast cities for students during holiday breaks.
- The University's fleet (20 vehicles) are driven an average of 23,850 miles per year. The purchase of fuel efficient vehicles to replace the current fleet could save the University thousands of dollars per year.
- The University should form partnerships with the St. Lawrence County Planning Office and other local organizations to develop a rural transportation network that includes a rideshare program for employees and explores the creation of public transportation options designed to fit the needs of SLU employees.
- The development of a web-based rideboard for students would greatly improve the opportunity for ride-sharing among students.
- More than 300 University employees live within walking and biking distance of campus (less than 2 miles) . Incentive programs to encourage employees to walk to work have been shown to improve employee health and to reduce absenteeism.
- Programs such as the Green Bikes should be expanded and we should explore the creation of a free or low-cost village and campus bus for students, staff and faculty.