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Fewer of Us Are Driving Alone to Campus

By Cody Kitaura/Dateline on October 25, 2016 in University

As the number of people traveling to campus has grown in the past year, the number of people driving alone to campus has fallen.

That’s good news for our overall carbon footprint, which shrank from 7.8 pounds of carbon-dioxide-equivalent per capita each weekday in the 2014-15 year to 7.2 pounds per capita in 2015-16.

The results are explored in a report on the Campus Travel Survey, an annual questionnaire sent to a sampling of faculty, students and staff asking them about the length of their commute, how they get to campus and more. The survey, a joint project of Transportation Services (TAPS) and the Institute of Transportation Studies, was distributed last fall and the results were detailed last month by Eric Gudz and Drew Heckathorn, graduate students with the Institute of Transportation Studies. Gudz graduated in June, so Heckathorn finished the project.

The survey also explores potential incentives to get people to stop driving alone, measuring reactions to ideas like free electric bicycles and more frequent bus service.

Gudz said he was surprised to see a gap between the number of people who had heard of the services provided by Transportation Services — like the bike auction or lock-cutting service — and people who had actually used them.

“There were less people who had tried the incentives but more people hearing about them,” he said.

The survey provides hard data to back up the bicycle-centered nature of our campus, and points out that while the number of people riding bikes to campus fell slightly last year, 45 percent of people reported biking on a regular basis. The number of occasional bicyclists — those who ride at least once per week — was 54 percent.

The survey also showed small increases in walking to campus and riding a bus, along with a 1.5 percent drop in people who drive alone.

Invitations to participate in the 2016-17 Campus Travel Survey will be emailed to a sampling of the campus community on Oct. 31. Officials encourage those who receive invitations to complete the survey.

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About the author(s)

Cody Kitaura/Dateline Cody Kitaura is a content provider and strategist with Strategic Communications at UC Davis. He can be reached at 530-752-1932 or kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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