If you were to walk through Santa Clara University’s parking lots a few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen electric vehicle charging stations, you wouldn’t have passed by cars with the green Zipcar logo on their sides, and you probably wouldn’t have seen bicycle racks as full as they are today.
That is because SCU's Transportation Services has recently brought a number of sustainable transportation options to campus to encourage students, faculty, and staff to share rides, commute on their bicycles, and use public transportation. All of these programs will help SCU achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by the end of 2015.
SCU brings Zipcar to campus for an eco-friendly way to get around
Zipcar is the world’s largest 24/7 car-sharing service, and whether it’s running errands, driving around campus, or taking a road trip, Zipcar has a car for you. At SCU, the Zipcar fleet includes ten fuel-efficient cars on campus, and registered individuals can pay to borrow one of them for a designated period of time. Cars can be checked out by the hour or for an entire day, and fuel is included (up to 180 miles per day). Registration and reservations are easy, and for those who can’t afford a car but still need to use one for work, school, or other reasons, Zipcar is a perfect match.
Dero ZAP encourages campus bicycle commuters
Dero ZAP is a campus bicycle commuter program that encourages University employees to ride their bikes to work instead of driving. The program provides bicycle commuters with points that can be redeemed for commuter parking in the future. After registering with Dero ZAP, commuters can pick up a ZAP tag at the Transportation Services office, and then for every day they ride their bike to campus, they will receive a point. Bicycle commuters can also log in to the Dero ZAP system to track the number of points they have accumulated, the miles they have ridden, the calories they have burned, and the gallons of gas they have saved, among other stats.
This program is perfect for faculty and staff who don’t live too far away from campus and can usually bike to work but sometimes are in a rush and have to drive. The points they accumulate every day by riding their bikes will add up, and when its crunch time or they need to carry things with them in a car, they can redeem these points and park for free on campus.
Zimride opens up ridesharing for SCU community
SCU now offers a private rideshare social network through Zimride. The network can use Facebook to make sharing a ride an easy and fun thing to do. With Zimride, you can share seats in your car or catch a ride for daily commutes, weekend road trips, or transportation to popular events. Find SCU friends, classmates, and coworkers who are going the same way you are, and climb aboard. All you need to get started is an @scu.edu email address, so use Zimride because it is a cheap, convenient, and sustainable option for all your commuting needs.
SCU parking lots now feature ChargePoint stations
For members of the SCU community who own an electric car, charging has never been more convenient. ChargePoint stations are located in numerous locations on campus, and they are a simple way to make sure your car’s battery is full before you leave campus. The stations cost $1 per hour to use and accept all major credit cards, and as an added bonus, permit holders can recharge for free at any of the eight stations on campus. Car emissions are a major driver of global climate change, so switching to an electric vehicle is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. SCU has made it easier for students, faculty, and staff to use electric vehicles with its ChargePoint program.
Mass transit options available close to campus
For those who don’t have a bike and aren’t interested in using one of SCU’s car or ride-sharing programs, there are a number of mass transit options that are available and close to campus. The CalTrain and VTA Transit Stations are right across the street from campus on El Camino Real. There is also excellent bus and rail service in the area, including a free shuttle to the airport that leaves every fifteen minutes. To make public transportation options even more attractive to university employees, SCU offers discount deals on mass transit tickets. Incentives also include free daily parking passes for those who buy a monthly mass transit ticket.
The transportation program at SCU offers many convenient, inexpensive, and sustainable options for students and employees so that we can feel good about our choices while still getting to the places we need to go. Whether you are biking to campus, looking for a ride up the Bay, or need to charge your new Tesla’s battery, SCU has an option for you. The program substantially encourages members of the SCU community to think about sustainability when traveling, which is especially important given how much traveling can increase our carbon footprint. So next time you are planning a trip, consider one of SCU’s eco-friendly transportation options.
By Aven Satre-Meloy, '13 Sustainability Intern--Communications