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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
OP-21: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dan Allalemdjian
Director, Transportation Demand Management
Environmental Stewardship
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution provide secure bicycle storage (not including office space), shower facilities, and lockers for bicycle commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the facilities for bicycle commuters:

The University has bicycle parking racks scattered around all campuses. Some are located near building entrances and others not. Students are allowed to bring their bicycles into the buildings or can permanently lock their bicycle to a designated rack. The main campus has one bicycle cage with space for about 20 bicycles. The cage has a swipe ID secure access. This is a pilot program for the University.

Indoor, secure bike storage is offered in the Manhattanville new campus project area. New buildings in accordance with LEED that are seeking the applicable credits are being designed to have bicycle storage available when appropriate.

Columbia University has also formed a biking committee to explore ways to promote a more bike-friendly Morningside campus. Issues to be researched include providing expanded shower and locker facilities, bicycle fix-it stations, bicycle storage and a campus-wide bike sharing program.

Maps:
Morningside Bike Racks:http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety/bikemap.pdf
CUMC Bike Racks: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety/images/CUMC_Map_withBikeRacks.JPG


Does the institution provide short-term bicycle parking (e.g. racks) within 50 ft (15 m) of all occupied, non-residential buildings and make long-term bicycle storage available within 330 ft (100 m) of all residence halls (if applicable)?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle parking and storage facilities:

One bike cage available. And all other parking locations are in open areas or sheltered


Does the institution have a “complete streets” or bicycle accommodation policy (or adhere to a local community policy) and/or have a continuous network of dedicated bicycle and pedestrian paths and lanes?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle/pedestrian policy and/or network:

The University can be easily accessed by the Hudson River Greenway bicycle trail which runs the length of Manhattan. On campus, it's a very safe place to bicycle as there are no cars on campus. Some adjacent streets have bicycle lanes.

The campus is almost completely car-free, hence it's a very walkable campus. As class buildings are very close together, it makes more sense to walk than bicycle. No policy is in place for walking and bicycling. The University does identify bicycling parking locations on the University website


Does the institution have a bicycle-sharing program or participate in a local bicycle-sharing program?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle sharing program:

The Columbia University Bike Share Pilot was launched with 6 bikes reclaimed and re-purposed by Public Safety. The current bike share is only open to students but there are plans to expand it to the rest of campus. Student participants signed liability wavers, received safety training and volunteers repair the bikes . Students are held financially responsible for lost bikes or bike parts via a hold on their account organized through Housing. A bike share volunteer is “on call” for help with check-out or maintenance issues during the open hours for the bike share.


Is the institution certified as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists (U.S.) or under a similar third party certification covering non-motorized transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the certification, including date certified and level:

Columbia was just recently certified at the Bronze level for the 2014-2018 period.


Does the institution offer free or reduced price transit passes and/or operate a free campus shuttle for commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the mass transit program(s), including availability, participation levels, and specifics about discounts or subsidies offered (including pre-tax options):

Columbia provides an efficient, timely and safe means of transportation for faculty, staff, and students to travel for free between Morningside, Lamont, Manhattanville, Medical Center, and Harlem Hospital campuses on University operated shuttle buses. The University has launched a real time tracking app through Transloc that can be accessed via mobile devices so riders users can see where the shuttle is at any time.
Additionally there is a free shuttle that transports passengers between the Medical Center and the George Washington Bridge Port Authority Bus Terminal; the Ft. Lee, NJ leg transports passengers between the Medical Center and Ft. Lee, NJ which helps reduce the use of individual passenger vehicles being driven to campus.
Columbia University has partnered with NJ TRANSIT to offer full-time undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to purchase a bus, rail, or light rail monthly pass at 25% off the regular monthly pass price. Enroll through NJ TRANSIT's Quik-Tik program to take advantage of this offer.
Pre-tax commuter passes are available to Columbia employees.

Columbia provides free shuttle bus service to non-Columbian elderly and disabled (as well as their attendants) via the ADA-accessible Intercampus Shuttle. The shuttle connects 96th Street, the Morningside campus, the Medical Center, and Harlem Hospital with stops at nearby subway stations.

Columbia University's benefits offers access to a Transit/Parking Flexible Spending Account.
The Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP) is a convenient way to pay commuting expenses using pre-tax dollars. Both full-time and part-time employees may participate in T/PRP.

The website URL where information about the program is available:
Columbia NJ Transit Discount: http://transportation.columbia.edu/nj-transit
Columbia Shuttle Tracker App: http://columbia.transloc.com/info/mobile
Columbia's FSA Tax Free Public Transit Program: http://hr.columbia.edu/files_humanresources/imce_shared/FOBIB-2012.pdf


Does the institution offer a guaranteed return trip (GRT) program to regular users of alternative modes of transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the GRT program:

This program is paid for and administered by the New York State Department of Transportation and is promoted via Columbia’s website.

http://environment.columbia.edu/transportation-demand-management


Does the institution participate in a car/vanpool or ride sharing program and/or offer reduced parking fees or preferential parking for car/vanpoolers?:
Yes

A brief description of the carpool/vanpool program:

Columbia promotes the New York State Department of Transportation’s free carpool database, 511 NY Rideshare, to all staff, faculty and students via the University’s website. This service allows people who live or work in New York to list their ride and or search for rides to and from their home. By joining and patriating in 511 NY Rideshare, you are also enrolled in the Guaranteed/Emergency Ride Home Program. Additionally, the University provides tips on how to form and maintain a successful carpool arrangement.

http://environment.columbia.edu/transportation-demand-management



Does the institution participate in a car sharing program, such as a commercial car-sharing program, one administered by the institution, or one administered by a regional organization?:
Yes

A brief description of the car sharing program:

Columbia University has partnered with ZipCar to offer an institutional discount for ZipCar memberships for departments and individuals. The University also has a corporate Hertz Connect car share membership that offers Columbians environmentally friendly vehicles at low hourly or daily rates. Incentives to join include a waived application fee per member for all employees, the annual membership fee waived is for all employees, and the surcharge waived for students 18-20 years old.

Columbia's Zipcar page: http://www.zipcar.com/columbia/
Additonal information about Columbia's Hertz Connect program:
http://www.campustravel.com/university/columbia/

http://environment.columbia.edu/transportation-demand-management


Does the institution have one or more Level 2 or Level 3 electric vehicle recharging stations that are accessible to student and employee commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the electric vehicle recharging stations:

The University currently has four, Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, two each in the two commuter garages on the Morningside campus.  These garages are designated primarily for faculty and administrators commuting to campus, and the charging stations are available to all parkers in these garages. These stations are not available to students. The University does not have electric vehicle charging stations at the Medical Center.
All four are ChargePoint CT 2003 stations, which are capable of accepting credit card or billing account payment, but the University currently is not charging for their use.


Does the institution offer a telecommuting program for employees as a matter of policy or as standard practice?:
Yes

A brief description of the telecommuting program:

As part of its flexible work arrangements (FWAs), Columbia University allows telecommuting subject to meeting the needs and operational goals of the department with the approval of the department manager. This policy applies to all officers of administration, libraries, and non-union support staff of Columbia University. Telecommuting entails regularly working outside of the office (for example, a work-at-home arrangement or a remote-access arrangement) for at least part of the work week. In order to facilitate arrangements under which staff may telecommute as part of their work schedule, departments are expected to decide each request for telecommuting on an individual basis. Certain positions may require telecommuting, and the department will notify staff at the time of hire.

The University offers FWAs as a way to meet the needs of its staff, and strengthens the University's position as an employer of choice. Telecommuting also has a positive environmental benefit by allowing reduced trips to and from campus. All formal FWAs must be approved by the department in advance and must allow the department to meet the business needs and operational goals. Short-term and/or non-recurring FWAs are permitted by this policy as well. Such arrangements do not require that the formal process be followed, but need to be approved in advance by the department manager. Short-term arrangements may include adjusting a work schedule for a determined period of time (i.e. a day, a week, etc.).


Does the institution offer a condensed work week option for employees as a matter of policy or as standard practice?:
Yes

A brief description of the condensed work week program:

Columbia University has a comprehensive flexible work arrangement policy that allows flexible work arrangements (FWAs) subject to meeting the needs and operational goals of the department with the approval of the department manager. This policy applies to all officers of administration, libraries, and non-union support staff of Columbia University.
The University offers FWAs as a way to meet the needs of its staff, and strengthens the University's position as an employer of choice. FWAs also have a positive environmental benefit by allowing reduced trips to and from campus. A FWA is any variation in scheduling work hours and/or location from the traditional on-campus daily pattern.
The categories of available arrangements are:
-Flextime
-Telecommuting
-Nine, Ten, and Eleven-Month Employment Programs

All formal FWAs must be approved by the department in advance and must allow the department to meet the business needs and operational goals. Departments decide whether to allow an individual to participate in a flexible work arrangement on a case by case basis.
The flexible work arrangement policy and the associated guidelines pertain to formal FWAs which occur on an on-going basis. Short-term and/or non-recurring FWAs are permitted by this policy as well. Such arrangements do not require that the formal process be followed, but need to be approved in advance by the department manager. Short-term arrangements may include adjusting a work schedule for a determined period of time (i.e. a day, a week, etc.).


Does the institution have incentives or programs to encourage employees to live close to campus?:
Yes

A brief description of the incentives or programs to encourage employees to live close to campus:

With a prime location in Manhattan, the location of Columbia in the city is a draw that attracts students to come study and employees to come work at the University. As an urban hub, students faculty and staff desire to live locally on or near campus. The University houses most undergraduate students, tenure track and tenured faculty plus graduate students in its own buildings on or surrounding its campuses. The Housing office at CUMC and the Housing Information and Referral Service, through Columbia’s Office of Work/Life assists faculty, staff, and students who are looking for housing anywhere in the NYC metro area.

Most new incoming full-time faculty are eligible to receive University housing that is within walking distance to campus. Roughly 75% of faculty live in Columbia housing and within walking distance to campus. All 60 building superintendents are required to live on campus. Further, the Columbia employment office has a preference to higher employees locally through the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. When presented with various candidates for employment, the University gives preference to the local (local defined as Upper Manhattan) candidates vs. non-local (other parts of NYC, other locations, etc.). The Housing Information and Referral Service is an initiative of the Office of Work/Life. The service provides individual consultations on renting or purchasing apartments and homes within commuting distance of Columbia University campuses. The service is available to all faculty, including faculty being recruited to the University, and to all other Columbia University employees. Services include:
-General Real Estate and Housing Information
-Metropolitan New York area overview
-Housing challenges in the New York area
-Neighborhood information for NYC, Westchester, New Jersey and other areas
-Map of local area with rental, co-op and condo building locations
-Definition of real estate terminology
-Issues of buying vs. renting
-Information and contacts for realtors, attorneys, inspectors and other real estate professionals
-Eligibility and requirements, including Dean's approval, for The Provost's Faculty Housing Assistance Program

Rental Options
-Landlord and managing agent information
-Lease information
-Tenant information
-Short term and temporary housing options Purchasing Options
-The process of purchasing a property
-Mortgage information and options
-Affinity Lending Program

The website URL where information about the incentives or programs is available:
http://worklife.columbia.edu/housing-information-referral-service
and
http://worklife.columbia.edu/faculty-recruitment-relocation


Does the institution have other incentives or programs to encourage more sustainable modes of transportation and reduce the impact of student and employee commuting?:
Yes

A brief description of other sustainable transportation initiatives and programs:

Columbia's location on Manhattan island in a transit rich area means taking an sustainable travel mode comes naturally for most people. In 2014 Columbia employed a full time Transportation Demand Management coordinator who is developing initiatives to further reduce the number of autos commuting to the campus and provide more alterative travel options. In 2015, many new transportation initiatives will be rolled-out, such as emergency ride home, rideshare assistance, commuter events and more.
Additionally, Black Car services default CU requests to hybrid vehicles (if available).

http://environment.columbia.edu/transportation-demand-management
http://transportation.columbia.edu/


The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable transportation program(s) is available:

Short-term bicycle parking within 50 ft of all occupied, non-residential buildings:
The University has bicycle parking racks scattered around all campuses. Some are located near building entrances and others not. Students are allowed to bring their bicycles into the buildings or can permanently lock their bicycle to a designated rack. The main campus has one bicycle cage with space for about 20 bicycles. The cage has a swipe ID secure access. This is a pilot program for the University.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.