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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 77.18
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 12, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Washington, Seattle
OP-18: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Claudia Frere-Anderson
Director
UW 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:

The University of Washington provides nearly 6,000 bicycle parking spaces on campus and the largest inventory of bike lockers in the country at nearly 800 spaces. There is space for another 1,100 bicycles in secure enclosures and bike houses. Many new facilities feature card-swipe access that works with a student, faculty or staff member’s Husky Card. Several UW buildings have secure bicycle rooms for use by building occupants, and most residential halls provide bicycle storage in designated rooms. More than half of the bike parking facilities are covered for added weather protection, and many buildings have shower facilities and lockers for personal items for bicycle commuters.

Recognizing that growing demand and a new light rail station on campus are poised to overwhelm the region's most significant and treasured multi-use trail, the UW has conducted a bold and visionary process to design and acquire funding for an entirely new, expanded, innovative Burke-Gilman Trail stretching 1.7 miles through the heart of the historic campus. Since commissioning the Burke-Gilman Trail Corridor study, released in 2011, the UW has facilitated and coordinated a design and public engagement process that has produced a design for a trail double the width of the current path, with separated travel spaces for people on bike and on foot, and vastly improved safety at all crossing points, including new bridges. The first .3-mile section of this new design was completed and opened in fall 2016.

The trail is supported by five miles of shared use campus paths and numerous city streets with bicycle facilities connected to the campus. Major campus roads shared between bicycles and motor vehicles utilize “sharrows” – shared lane markings.

UW features both staffed and do-it-yourself repair services for people who ride. The student union building features a student-run bike shop in the heart of campus, providing drop-off and DIY repair services throughout the day. The campus provides five DIY repair stations and bicycle pumps near bike parking facilities for anyone to use.

Since spring of 2016, UW has offered a Bike Buddy service, drawing from a pool of over 100 volunteers who ride to campus to provide assistance to new riders via a matching service.


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:

The University of Washington offers a variety of bicycle parking and storage options to its campus community. These include thousands of short term uncovered and covered rack spaces near building entrances, around 700 bicycle lockers, eight controlled access bike houses, and more than 30 bike rooms within campus buildings. Large bike rooms in new residence halls feature space for over 100 bikes each, with built in bike repair stations and convenient access to exterior building doors. Access for bike lockers and houses is purchased through Transportation Service, while bike rooms are administered through the building’s coordinator. Each bike house facility now includes a public bike pump.


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:

The University of Washington actively works to encourage bicycling and walking as commute modes on campus. The University has a complete network of more than five miles of walking and bicycling paths, including pedestrian bridges over arterial roads running along the south, west, and east edges of the campus. The Burke-Gilman Trail provides a 1.7-mile walking and bicycling “highway” around the heart of the historic campus. Bicycle parking facilities exist near all buildings and are required for all new buildings on campus. Parking for single-occupancy vehicles is extremely limited in the heart of campus, with most parking existing at the edges of the campus. This means almost everyone who visits the campus travels on foot on campus walking paths for part of their trip.

The University’s bicycle and walking programs are supported by a full-time Active Transportation Specialist who champions making the campus a great bicycling and walking destination.


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 University of Washington was an active partner in the launch of Pronto Cycle Share, which brought 12 stations to the University District/campus area and several dozen additional stations across the city in October 2014. The University provided significant in-kind assistance in identifying University District and campus locations for the bike share stations, and has allowed placement of stations on University property free of charge to the program. The University continued to provide in-kind assistance with marketing and promoting the system and worked with Pronto Cycle Share to offer the university community discounted annual membership until the system ceased operations at the end of March 2017.

Shortly after Pronto ceased operations , the University worked with multiple privately-owned bike share companies (Limebike & Spin) to permit operations for dockless bikeshare systems on campus. UW partnered with these private bikeshare companies to provide significant discounts (a minimum of 40% off all rides) for any participant using a University of Washington email address to sign up. The system went online in July 2017 and continues to show increases in bikeshare ridership across the city and campus.


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:

The University of Washington’s transportation demand management program - U-PASS - offers faculty, staff and students with a variety of low-cost transportation options. The U-PASS includes an unlimited transit pass for eight different transit agencies, including all buses, light rail, streetcars and commuter rail in the central Puget Sound region. The program has received approximately 30 awards in its 25 years, including Platinum Commute Trip Reduction Champion from the City of Seattle, Enterprise Seattle’s Commuter Challenge Diamond Ring Award, the Association for Commuter Transportation Leadership Award, the Governor’s Commute Smart State Agency Award, proclamations from both the City of Seattle and King County recognizing the program, and numerous awards from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Seattle campus U-PASS members account for over 11.5 million trips annually. One in every nine trips on the King County Metro system - the eighth largest transit agency in the United States - is made using U-PASS.

As transit costs have increased in recent years, University of Washington students took it upon themselves to make U-PASS a universal student fee, ensuring stable funding for the student program’s future. Through this process, the University’s transportation department has worked with students to ensure shared and open governance. The department has a full-time Transit Specialist position dedicated to the vision of the UW campus as a premier transit destination, with core responsibilities in setting policies, community outreach, and ongoing collaboration with service providers to improve transit users’ experience.

University employees are able to purchase a subsidized U-PASS with pre-tax dollars, or receive a U-PASS free with the purchase of other transportation permit products. Approximately 50% of all faculty and staff take advantage of this program.

The University also operates five different shuttle programs. Two shuttles provide connections between the University and its campuses at South Lake Union and Harborview Medical Center. The newest shuttle service connects the main campus with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a research partner organization. Others serve those with limited mobility, as well as those who need to get home safely late at night. All shuttles are open to UW commuters and also provide fare-free public transit to the community at large.


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:

Faculty and staff who have a U-PASS, who have an emergency come up which requires them to leave campus to return to their home, a daycare or even a park and ride lot, can use the Emergency Ride Home program. The University will reimburse them for 90 percent of the meter fare for their taxi ride (does not include tip) up to 50 miles per quarter.


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:

The University of Washington’s U-PASS program offers a monthly vanpool fare subsidy to student, faculty and staff vanpool members. Vanpools additionally receive complimentary parking in any UW-owned parking facility, and carpools have access to designated carpool parking in high-use facilities. UW Transportation Services has a full time Shared Use Mobility Specialist who provides system and customer support to UW vanpoolers to help facilitate and expedite new vanpool creation and participation. The Shared Use Mobility Specialist also promotes rideshare options on campus and encourages the University’s rideshare community through events and outreach. Each campus vanpool receives a van, insurance, maintenance, gas and roadside assistance covered by our transit agency partners as part of their vanpool participation package. There are currently over 500 vanpool participants at the University of Washington. These participants utilize vanpools from six different transit agency partners, including Intercity Transit, Kitsap Transit, Community Transit, King County Metro Transit, Island Transit, and Pierce Transit. King County Metro has the largest and oldest public vanpool program in the nation.

The University raised the level of vanpool subsidy from $70.00 per month to $80.00 per month in December of 2014. As a result, more than half of the UW’s vanpoolers (52%) pay no fare for their vanpool, up from 47% prior. Forty percent of all vanpool fares paid by U-PASS members are now covered by the University, with an approximate total of $27,000 paid monthly to support vanpooling to the UW.

The University of Washington’s U-PASS program also offers reduced cost carpool parking to students and employees. Daily carpool permits cost just $7.50 for a 2 personal carpool or $5 for a 3 person carpool, compared to a daily Single Occupancy Vehicle permit cost of $15.

The UW offers personalized rideshare matching assistance through its personal trip planning service as well as a UW-exclusive rideshare matching platform through Zimride. The UW Zimride network is the fourth largest in the nation with more than 8,153 users. Students, faculty and staff members can use their existing UW NetID to login to the secure UW Zimride network to search for a rideshare partner for either a one-time trip or regular commute trips. UW rideshare customers can also access the region's public rideshare network Rideshareonline.com.


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:

The University of Washington was one of the first schools to partner with a carsharing entity by working with Flexcar in 2001. Currently, UW partners with Zipcar (who purchased Flexcar) who provides 16 cars on campus. U-PASS members receive discounted Zipcar memberships and other perks. Additionally, the cars housed on campus are available for use by students ages 18-20, whereas cars off campus are only for those over 21.

UW Transportation Services offers the UCAR program to the campus community. UCAR is an exclusive university affiliate car-sharing program housed within UW Fleet Services. UCARS are available for use related to university education, research, outreach and business.


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 of Washington recently invested approximately $1.3 million in EV charging infrastructure, significantly expanding its program.

There are currently 12 Level 2 electric vehicle recharging stations on campus for use by student and employee commuters. The charging station parking spaces are reserved for exclusive use by electric vehicles, but users must still pay for their parking time.

There are an additional 40 Level 2 stations in stalls reserved for electric UW Fleet vehicles.


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:

The University of Washington allows employees to telework when the employing department and supervisor determine that teleworking will allow work to be performed effectively and productively. Neither Human Resources nor Transportation Services mandates teleworking, but leaves it to each department and their employees to determine if teleworking is appropriate for each specific case.

Transportation Services as well as Human Resources have webpages with resources to support employing departments and employees in determining if telework (either regularly or occasionally) is appropriate and how to arrange to telework. In addition, Transportation Services provides one-on-one help to employees who are interested in telework through individualized trip planning.


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:

Condensed work weeks are instituted on a by-department and by-supervisor basis, based on operational need. The UW has established enabling policy and deployed this strategy in a decentralized fashion. University of Washington Human Resources has webpages and training sessions to make it easier for employees to find information about Flexwork and Telework programs. In addition, Transportation Services provides one-on-one help to employees who are interested in condensed work weeks through individualized trip planning.


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:

The UW has a faculty/staff housing program and is in the process of developing a new campus-adjacent workforce housing project. The University also offers additional resources for employees online through its HR department: http://hr.uw.edu/benefits/more-ways-to-save/housing-for-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:

In December 2014 UW Transportation Services published its Climate Action Strategy for Transportation (CAST). This year-long effort provided a road map for continuously improvement in carbon performance in order to meet the University’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

One of the key strategies that came out of the CAST was the launching of an individualized trip planning service – providing personal commute planning assistance to new and existing students, staff, and faculty. By helping people sort through the complexity of their commute options this service provides a singular message to aid in outreach – “let us help you make your commute one of the best parts of your day.” The program provides approximately 2,500 trip plans annually.

UW Transportation Services recognizes students and employees who model smart commute choices with its Commute Champions program. This program celebrates commuters who choose options that have a low-impact on the environment. Winners are honored with a party, a framed certificate, a reward, and recognition on Transportation Services’ website, newsletter, and Facebook page.

Bike commuting is encouraged and supported by events and classes that make starting and continuing to bike commute easier and more fun. The University offers free monthly bike classes, with topics ranging from getting started, to tips on riding in the rain, to how to use bike share. Two separate team-focused bike challenges (one in November and one in May) encourage peer-to-peer support, offer trip-logging platforms, provide rewards, and celebrate biking to campus.

Transportation Services works to activate its customers through the Commute Ambassadors program. Through quarterly meetings, a group of 30 faculty and staff Commute Ambassadors get an update on transportation issues affecting campus, including major construction projects, transit realignments, transportation events (such as Bike Month), and road closures. Ambassadors pledge to distribute this information to their university colleagues and promote resources such as trip planning to those in need.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Transportation Services homepage: transportation.uw.edu
U-PASS transit pass program: transportation.uw.edu/student-u-pass
Climate Action Strategy for Transportation: transportation.uw.edu/files/reports/cast-020415.pdf

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.