Columbia University Named #1 School for Sustainable Transportation

Electric fleets, carpool and car share incentives, and bicycle-friendly amenities help Columbia earn top performer for transportation in the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index.

August 30, 2018

Columbia University was recognized as the top school for Transportation in the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) that highlights top-performing colleges and universities.

Columbia’s #1 ranking was achieved for its electric and alternative fuel vehicle fleet; sustainable commuting options; bicycle-friendly amenities; carpool and car share incentives; and high percentage of students, faculty and staff that utilize sustainable transportation.

“We are honored to be recognized by AASHE as a leader in sustainable transportation and for our ongoing campus-wide sustainability efforts,” said Vice President of Campus Services Scott Wright. “All Columbians should be proud of the part they play in making Columbia the model for higher education. We will continue to look for new and innovative ways to reduce our footprint while providing best-in-class service to our community.”

Last month, the University converted its entire intercampus campus shuttle network fleet to new battery-electric buses. Among the first electric buses to be introduced in New York City, the vehicles offer both environmental and health benefits, including reduced emissions and noise pollution, and improved air quality. Columbia also added a number of electric vehicle charging stations on campus.

Columbia supported a flourishing bicycling community on, around, and between campuses with secure bike storage, shower facilities, and a campus bike share program. For these efforts, Columbia was recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.

Commuter incentives designed to help reduce parking and traffic congestion included discounts for carpooling car sharing programs.

These initiatives are an important part of Columbia’s campus-wide sustainability plan, unveiled in 2017, which pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent by 2020 and serves as a roadmap to create a more sustainable campus.

“We are pleased to highlight Columbia University in this year’s Sustainable Campus Index,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We hope that the efforts and progress made by Columbia will help to continuously advance sustainability within higher education and also help lead to a more equitable and ecologically healthy future for society as a whole.”

The 2018 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI) recognizes top-performing colleges and universities overall and in 17 sustainability impact areas related to academics, engagement, operations and administration, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The SCI also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent reporting year.