University Strengthens Effort to Boost Carpooling

University Strengthens Effort to Boost Carpooling

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Looking to stem traffic and parking congestion on campus, as well as to reduce the amount of automobile emissions, Boston College is stepping up efforts to promote carpooling and other alternative forms of transportation by students and employees.

The University recently appointed a full-time transportation manager and is distributing a survey this week to BC commuters to gain a better understanding of their travel routines and needs. BC administrators also are touting several programs that encourage employees and students to leave their cars at home when they journey to, or between, Newton and Main campuses.

Scott Winchell, an administrator in the Office of Program Management, has joined Facilities Services as transportation manager, and will serve as a liason to campus transportation services such as campus and special event parking, busing services and Environmental Protection Agency compliance. Winchell also will work with the offices of Government and Community Relations and Public Affairs to help communicate information on BC-related transportation issues.

The University recently began distributing a survey to randomly selected employees and students living off-campus. Survey recipients are asked to detail their commuting habits, including how often they drive to campus, what forms of public transportation they use and what time of day they typically travel to and from campus.

"The survey is part of our requirement under the Clean Air Act to report to the [Department of Environmental Protection] our commuting habits," said Winchell, "but let's face it, this is also the smart thing to do."

Winchell said that collecting information about its transportation needs will better enable BC to set policies that are both environmentally friendly and fair to students and employees.

He said the Department of Environmental Protection considers colleges and universities "community leaders" in environmental awareness and expects that schools will not only live up to the regulations, but surpass them when possible.

"We have to do what's right for the environment and make things easy for the BC community" said Winchell. "It's a delicate balancing act, but we're up to the task."

Last spring, BC began working with Caravan For Commuters, a non-profit organization that assists public and private employers in promoting carpools, vanpools, public transportation and shuttle buses.

To encourage participation in the program, BC administrators said those employees using carpools are given preferential parking spots on campus. In the event of an emergency at home, Boston College provides or arranges transportation through Caravan for the commuting employee or student.

For those students or employees who need a car during the day but do not have one on campus, Winchell said BC is contracting with ZipCar, an automobile rental service that allows members to use cars on an hourly basis for a small fee, plus mileage charges. Drivers must be 21 or older.

The University also will encourage employees and students to consider walking, bicycling or using public transportation to travel to and from campus.

BC operates a shuttle bus service between Newton and Main campuses that also makes stops in the Cleveland Circle area and along a portion of Commonwealth Avenue.

For more information on Caravan, see the World Wide Web site www.commute.com or call 1-888-4-Commute. The ZipCar web site can be found at www. zipcar.com. BC shuttle bus routes and schedules are available at www.bc.edu/bc_org/svp/house/busses/routes.html.

 

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