March 7, 2024

Commuting is Community

Did you know that cars and trucks are responsible for approximately 17% of global CO2 emissions? Transportation is an important part of our lives, yet it contributes substantially to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Vehicles powered by fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, emit mostly carbon dioxide (98%) and small amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. Beyond GHGs, they release pollutants causing air, soil, and water contamination, leading to 7 million deaths a year from car-related air pollution.  

Changing the way we get around is an important part of embracing an eco-friendly future. 

Set your institution up for success!  

For colleges and institutes, transportation falls into the category of Scope 3 emissions. That means emissions that are not directly produced by an institution itself, but are instead emitted by activities it is indirectly responsible for – such as commuting to and from campus.  

Our new guide Commuting and Campuses: A Guide to Sustainable Transportation Solutions can help reduce Scope 3 emissions on your campus. The guide shares valuable lessons learned from across the sector, resources to start new initiatives, and ideas to inspire others to make a bigger impact. 

10 ways to use the guide: 

No matter where you are on your sustainable transportation journey, use this guide to encourage your staff and students to travel in more sustainable ways. 

  1. Organize a commuter survey. Commuter surveys are a method of gathering information about how students and staff are travelling to and from campus, their reasons for choosing certain modes of transportation, and typical travel times, and gauging levels of interest in shifting to more sustainable modes of transportation. 
  2. Optimize your transportation systems. Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is a strategic plan to make the most of your current set upsetupcouraging people to use more efficient modes of transportation. TDM plans can provide strategies for reducing the reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, and improve overall transportation efficiency. 
  3. Support bicycle purchasing. One way to encourage a shift in transportation on campuses is financial support for students and staff who would like to purchase a bicycle. This can be in the form of loans, grants, or subsidies. 
  4. Start a bike share program. Bike share programs are a great way to make bicycles available for shared use to students and staff on a short-term, as-needed basis. 
  5. Invest parking revenues in sustainable transportation incentives. Allocating revenue from things like parking fees can increase available funding for sustainable transportation initiatives. 
  6. Open end-of-trip facilities and protected bicycle parking. End-of-trip facilities are amenities provided at the destination point of a cycling trip. They make commuting by bicycle more attractive, convenient, and comfortable by addressing common challenges and concerns cyclists face.  
  7. Connect to active transportation infrastructure. Connecting or creating active transportation corridors that connect to your campus can help more students and staff use active modes of transportation. 
  8. Minimize trips to and from campus. Providing services on campus or situating the campus in a central location, providing student housing, and offering flexible work and study arrangements can help reduce motor vehicle congestion to and from campus. 
  9. Strengthen relations with government. Building a strong working relationship with decision-makers in your local government means having a government partner who knows your transportation needs and goals. They could also help you discover potential funding sources to support initiatives and help your ideas become reality. 
  10. Celebrate and create awareness. Creating a fun, supportive, and informed culture around sustainable transportation can encourage more students and staff to get out of their vehicles and try out other modes of transportation.  

The guide was developed as part of the ImpAct-Climate program, funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

March 4-8 is SDG Week Canada. 

SDG Week Canada is a national collaboration to increase awareness and encourage progress towards to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on college, institute, and university campuses.  

  • In that context, use this guide to advance your institutions commitment to SDG 13 Climate Action!  

SDG Week Canada is organized by the Sustainability Hub at UBC, SDSN Canada hosted by the University of Waterloo, and Colleges and Institutes Canada. 

Your institution can take part by organizing a panel, workshop, or other events on campus. Each event helps create a supportive national environment in which post-secondary institutions work together and across disciplines to advance the SDGs, to better integrate the guiding values of the SDGs across programming, and to build long-term momentum for SDG action across the sector.