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Sustainable 2nd Century

Sustainable 2nd Century

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Campus Progress: Transportation

Our Sustainable 2nd Century vision: Riding a bike, catching a bus, carpooling and walking are no longer alternatives, but the standard at UC Davis.

Photo: Students riding bikes with a Unitrans bus in the background.

Where we are

At UC Davis, you can already expect to see more bicycles than automobiles, with 15,000 to 20,000 bicycles on campus each day.

The Davis campus is known for its bicycle culture. UC Davis was one of the first campuses to be recognized as a gold-level "Bicycle Friendly University" in 2011 by the League of American Bicyclists, who also recognized the city of Davis as the first platinum-level "Bicycle Friendly Community" in 2005. The campus and community provide an extensive network of bike lanes, off-street bike paths and bicycle underpasses for riders.

But sustainable transportation doesn't stop at two wheels. In 1968, students founded the Unitrans bus system with its iconic double-decker buses. Today 95 percent of Unitrans travel is powered by clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG), in partnership with the City of Davis.

On an average weekday, nearly 40 percent of campus visitors ride bikes to campus, 28 percent carpool or take mass transit, and about 7 percent walk or skate.

Encouraging creative commutes

Nearly 75 percent of all commutes to the UC Davis campus in 2009-2010 were via walking, bicycling, carpooling, riding a bus or taking a train.

Discounts, complimentary parking passes and other services are available to campus commuters who join goClub, operated by Transportation and Parking Services. In order to join goClub, commuters must commit to using alternative transportation — bike, train, bus, carpool, vanpool, or walking — for a majority of their trips to campus.

In addition to the incentives offered by goClub, commuters can purchase bikes at auction, maintain and repair their bikes on campus, and use campus lockers and showers to clean up after a long ride.

If it's a commute between UC Davis and UC Berkeley, faculty, staff and students can also ride a campus shuttle. The jointly operated shuttle replaces up to 17,000 individual trips between the two campuses each year.

Cleaner campus fleet

More than 30 percent of the campus vehicles that staff and faculty use for work purposes are considered "clean air vehicles." As of 2009-2010, the UC Davis fleet uses 99 vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas, 63 electric and neighborhood electric vehicles, 53 hybrid sedans and 17 plug-in hybrid electric sedans. Approximately 100 campus vehicles run on B20 biodiesel.

In 2010, the UC Davis fleet was ranked 4th in the "Government Green Fleet Awards" for North America.

In 2008-2009, more vehicles were retired than purchased for the fleet, and new vehicles included several neighborhood electric vehicles intended for shorter trips. Fleet Services has also sought to reduce toxicity in vehicle maintenance, including replacing standard lead tire weights with less toxic, stainless steel alternatives and using re-refined motor oil.

Graphic: Drawing of proposed bike path

The Bikeway and Transit Network Study recommended future bicycle paths to improve safety and efficiency.

Mapping and surveying campus travel

Campus planners continue to seek improvements to transportation infrastructure around campus.

In 2009, the Bikeway and Transit Network Study was completed to provide a blueprint for future bicycle path improvements. Improving safety at gateways between campus and the city, and growing the network to meet the needs of more potential bicyclists were among the study's goals.

Each year, UC Davis commuters are surveyed about how they arrive on campus and travel throughout the day. The survey identifies who uses what modes of transportation, among students, faculty and staff who live on campus, in Davis and outside of the city. This survey uses the research strengths of the Sustainable Transportation Center to aid campus planning by Transportation and Parking Services.

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