Columbia Wins Sustainable Commuter Transportation “Best Overall Program” Award

At its annual International Conference – held this year in New York City – the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) presented Columbia University with an award for “Best Overall Program” in transportation demand management (TDM). The award recognized Columbia’s achievements in reducing drive-alone commutes, providing alternative sustainable transport for commuters, and the purchase of six battery-electric buses, among other initiatives.

August 07, 2019
Columbia University representatives from the Transportation and Environmental Stewardship offices accept the award from ACT at the International Conference on August 7, 2019.

“Columbia is a leader in sustainability, and this award reflects the effort we’ve put forth in the years since our first campus Sustainability Plan was implemented in 2017,” said Jessica Prata, Assistant Vice President for Environmental Stewardship. “We’ve surpassed our original goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent by 2020, and our innovative transportation programs are an integral part of that success.”

ACT’s International Conference is the premier gathering of TDM professionals in North America, attracting over 550 attendees from across the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Attendees include individuals from major employers, departments of transportation, municipalities, transportation management associations, metropolitan planning organizations, consultants, transit agencies, vendors, and other shared use mobility providers.

"With so much innovation and investment taking place in TDM, we are honored to be shining the spotlight on this year's recipients of ACT's National TDM Awards,” said David Straus, ACT Executive Director. “This year's awardees represent a diverse mix of individuals and organizations that are helping improve the quality of life of commuters across the country."

Highlights of Columbia’s sustainable transportation initiatives include:

  1. Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) rates are now under 2% for students and 14% for employees.
  2. The comprehensive intercampus shuttle network connects University locations in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Rockland County, as well as key transit hubs.
  3. Six new battery-electric buses now operate on intercampus shuttle routes, among the first electric buses to operate in New York City.
  4. Carpool parking discounts were extended to hundreds of construction workers building Columbia’s new campus at 125th Street in Manhattan.
  5. A University-operated park and ride is in service for commuters northwest of NYC. Priority is given to SOV commuters.
  6. Significant investments were made in maintaining and expanding University operations and housing options within the urban, culturally rich, walkable environment of NYC.
  7. Rapid transit comes every four minutes to Manhattan campuses.
  8. A Smart Commuter email signature badge incentive program drives culture change and spreads commute resources.
  9. Free car share memberships are given to those who sell their personal car or switch to a sustainable commute.

Columbia also provided a tour of one of its electric buses at the ACT conference, shuttling interested attendees from the New York Marriott Marquis to the new Manhattanville Campus at 125th Street and Broadway.