The single life can be a desireable lifestyle, but a single-occupied vehicle has major drawbacks, in my opinion – that of a lifelong mass transit and shared transit advocate.
The shiny sports car that transported only one person to work does little good for the employee, employer, the local community and society at large.
Princeton University for the past decade has been working to curb their employees’ love affair with their cars when it comes to commuting to work in a single-occupied vehicle.
Kim Jackson, Princeton University director of TigerCard Services, Transportation and Parking Services, works as a transportation matchmaker, finding employees alternate ways of getting to work. She oversees a Commuter Concierge program to provide personalized commute plans to make it even easier for its employees to leave their cars at home.
The university kicked into a higher gear in the fall of 2017 with the implementation of the Revise Your Ride alternative commuting initiative that made it into the news again a few weeks ago, when the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), in its summer newsletter, featured Priceton University for its efforts.
GMTMA is a non profit, public private partnership dedicated to promoting and providing transportation choices that are designed to reduce congestion, improve mobility, increase safety and further sustainability in the region.
The GMTMA’s mission resonates completely with the intent of Princeton University’s transportation program, according to Jackson.
“Decreasing the number of cars that drive to campus is part the University’s ongoing efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce local air pollution and improve traffic,” she said.
Princeton originally initiated its campaign to cut the number of cars on campus in 2009, by providing several benefits: an extensive shuttle program (with real-time tracking), on-campus food service locations (no need to drive someplace for lunch); pretax payroll deductions to help with commuting costs for employees; subsidies on monthly transit passes; and preferred parking spots for vehicles providing car-pooling and van-pooling services.
Nine months ago, Princeton University put more resources into the commuter-alternatives by launching Revise Your Ride, which expanded its existing commute benefits program to also include a cash incentive for biking or walking and free monthly passes for NJ Transit bus riders.
More than 1,000 employees now participate in an alternative commuting program, including 600 members who signed up since October.
According to Jackson, Revise Your Ride participants over the last six months have:
- saved almost 10,000 gallons of gas
- reduced 200,000 pounds of carbon emissions
- avoided driving enough to cross the country 110 times
- avoided $30,000 in gas and maintenance costs.
As many in Princeton know, I personally prefer feet to wheels, and when I worked at Princeton University, I had the glorious ability and priviledge to walk to work. No one had to bribe me with anything other than an occasional bag of Cheetos.
Now that Reebok has launched vegan sneakers made from sustainable cotton and corn, out of corn, I look forward to the future of an all Cheetos sneaker, the ultimate sustainable and recyclable and tasty-ride alternative benefit.