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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 70.78
Liaison Margaret Lo
Submission Date Sept. 1, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

George Mason University
OP-18: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary Liang
Sustainability Analyst
Sustainability
"---" 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:

In addition to having bike storage, shower facilities, and lockers for bicyclists at numerous buildings on campus, George Mason University has a Bicycle Commuter Benefit Program for its faculty and staff. A bicycle commuter receives a $20 voucher each month for area bike shops; two complimentary daily parking passes per month; and use of shower facility at the Recreation and Athletic Center and/or Aquatic Center without becoming a member.


Does the institution provide short-term bicycle parking for all occupied buildings and makes long-term bicycle storage available for students who live on-site (if applicable)?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle parking and storage facilities:

Mason provides bike racks for most buildings on campus. Bike rack assessments are done yearly, and the amount of bicycle parking has been growing at a rate of at least 5% per year. As part of any new building project, bicycle racks are included in the design, and any housing buildings have covered parking as part of the project. Currently, Mason has long term bicycle storage near all housing areas and bike shelters at the majority of on campus housing.


Does the institution have a bicycle and pedestrian plan or policy (or adhere to a local community plan/policy) that sets standards and practices for campus streets to enable safe access for all users?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle and pedestrian plan or policy:

As part of the 2011 Transportation Master Plan, Mason committed to having facilities for all modes of transportation as part of any new road construction or major road improvements. Mason currently has bicycle infrastructure, such as bike racks, and shared bike lanes, on campus. Additionally, Mason will further improve it's pedestrian system by improving accessibility, addressing conflicts with other transportation modes, and connecting campus neighborhoods with transit services and parking facilities.

For more information, please see the transportation master plan at
http://transportation.gmu.edu/pdfs/GMU_FairfaxCampus_TransMgmtPlan_Final.pdf, or our bike and alternative transportation map, http://goo.gl/maps/uQ9Co.


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:

On Mason's Arlington campus, 10 capitol bikeshare bikes are installed in front of Founders Hall. Capital Bikeshare has over 2,500 bicycles in their network at over 300 stations across Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA. The bikes can be return it to any station near the rider's destination. More information can be found at http://www.capitalbikeshare.com


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 programs:

Mason has a robust commuting program where:
--Mason Shuttles operates several different shuttles providing free service to Mason students and employees.
--Students, faculty, and staff ride free on Fairfax City buses with a valid ID.
--Full time employees commuting to work on public transportation can request up to $255 per month from the State of Virginia to cover commuting costs.


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

A brief description of the guaranteed return trip program:

The Guaranteed Ride Home program (GRH) is designed for employees who rideshare (carpool/vanpool), use mass transit (bus, train), bicycle, or walk to work at least two times a week. It is absolutely free to sign-up for and free to use. Once an employee registers, he or she can use the GRH service up to four times a year. The year will begin once you register for the program.


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:

Mason Zimride is a fun and easy way to share the seats in a car or catch a ride. With Zimride, participants can find friends, classmates, and coworkers going the same way. Mason Zimride helps participants offer or request rides for commutes, road trips, and popular events. If a participant has have a car, driving costs are split among riders. If participants do not have a car, they can find rides where they need to go. Mason Zimride requires an @gmu.edu email address, and participants can sign-in using a Facebook account if they are part of the George Mason University network.

Mason also has a vanpool program that offers a stipend for commuters to travel via van to campus from areas such as Fredericksburg, Virginia.


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:

Mason has Zipcars available on Mason Pond Drive, in the Rappahannock Parking Deck and in Lot R on the Fairfax campus, and nearby mass transit stops. Mason students can join Zipcar for $15/ year, while faculty and staff can join for $25/year.


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:

Mason has six electric vehicle charging stations in three parking garages.


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:

Mason strongly supports flexible work schedules for its employees. It has numerous flexible work options including a compressed work schedule, flextime, job sharing, remote work, and telework.

Mason has found that flexible work options can be a great strategic tool for supervisors and faculty/staff retention; continuity of operations; productivity enhancement; and extended office coverage (compressed schedules). For faculty and staff, the benefits are putting commuting time to a different purpose, reducing commuting costs, potential productivity enhancement, and better work/life fit.

The university is very oriented to flexible work arrangements and has had a Telework/Flextime policy in place since 2002. The policy was implemented in response to comments received during our triennial Quality of Worklife Survey. Mason's ITU department offers support for teleworking through virtual private networking (VPN), voice over IP, and unified communications (e.g. voice mail to email).

In addition to telework which is, by far, the most utilized option, remote workers at Mason have positions that would normally be based on campus. But to keep a valuable employee, Mason has created a category of flexible work called Remote Work. Currently, Mason has employees who work out of state in New York, Florida, California and a several other states. Although it is possible to be hired as a remote worker, in most cases, the employee worked on campus and had a life changing event. For example, a spouse or partner's career took them to another state. Rather than lose them, their supervisors felt that their positions could be done effectively in a remote capacity. This option is open for faculty, classified staff and even wage employees. The remote community is a small but very engaged group.

This is not a case of employees being out of sight; out of mind. Flexible work is part of the culture of Mason and employees who telework or remote work are valuable and important contributors.


Does the institution offer a condensed work week option that reduces employee commuting (as a matter of policy or standard practice)?:
Yes

A brief description of the condensed work week option:

Mason strongly supports flexible work schedules for its employees. It has numerous flexible work options including a compressed work schedule, flextime, job sharing, remote work, and telework.

Faculty or staff, with the approval of their supervisor and department head can design a compressed schedule that works for them. While many people compress to have a non-work day every week or every other week, there are no parameters on how flex time or compressed schedules must be used. Additionally, employees can combine flexible work options – telework and compressed schedule for example.

In addition to formal flexible work policies which require signed agreements, Mason fosters a culture of flexibility. Employees, with their supervisor's permission, may flex their hours to accommodate a personal situation. If an employee's desired flex start time is within one hour plus or minus from their normal start time, no written agreement is required.

Mason has found that flexible work options can be a great strategic tool for supervisors for faculty/staff retention; continuity of operations; productivity enhancement; and extended office coverage (compressed schedules). For faculty and staff, the benefits are putting commuting time to a different purpose, reducing commuting costs, productivity enhancement, and work/life balance. Mason offers training to staff and supervisors on how to set up and work with the many flex work options.


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:

Mason has luxury apartments on campus for any Mason employee, graduate, or professional student to rent. Rental rates for this housing are priced slightly below market rates for comparable units. There is an established selection procedure that prioritizes applicants by categories, with preference given to new faculty and staff.


Does the institution employ other strategies to reduce the impact of commuting (e.g. preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, cash-out of parking programs)?:
Yes

A brief description of other strategies to reduce the impact of commuting:

Mason has a preferred parking program for fuel efficient vehicles driven by students, faculty, and staff on all US campuses. Qualified vehicles can park in designated parking spots in six parking lots and decks on the Fairfax campus.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.