Alternative Transportation At UNM

November 15, 2010

UNM Makes Progress in Alternative Transportation

Alternative Transportation

The Mid-Region Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments (MRCOG) hosts a pub­lic meet­ing in the Fiesta Room at Stu­dent Union Build­ing on Wednes­day, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. MRCOG will release find­ings from a UNM and Cen­tral New Mex­ico Com­mu­nity Col­lege trans­porta­tion study show­ing that UNM has made notable progress in pro­mot­ing the use of alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion among stu­dents, staff and faculty.

The find­ings are based on results from Park­ing and Trans­porta­tion Ser­vices’ (PATS) 2010 Com­muter Sur­vey con­ducted in March and other data MRCOG has obtained about trans­porta­tion mode-usage and infra­struc­ture in the UNM-area.

Clo­vis Acosta, PATS direc­tor, said, “We have made sig­nif­i­cant progress in reduc­ing auto­mo­bile trips to and from cam­pus through our alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion pro­grams. Data from 2004 showed that 78 to 79 per­cent of the UNM pop­u­la­tion com­muted to cam­pus alone in an auto­mo­bile. Our most recent data from this year shows that the rate of dri­ving alone has decreased to approx­i­mately 58 per­cent with increases in the use of ABQRide, bicy­cling, car­pool­ing and walk­ing to get to and from campus.”

These find­ings res­onate with the 2009 UNM Mas­ter Plan Update which focuses on how UNM meets its sus­tain­abil­ity goals of reduc­ing its over­all car­bon foot­print and works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other gov­ern­men­tal enti­ties to develop an inte­grated trans­porta­tion net­work to reduce auto­mo­bile trips to and from campus.

Mary Ken­ney, uni­ver­sity plan­ning offi­cer, said, “UNM’s future expan­sion responds to and reflects the Albu­querque metro area growth. Issues that sur­round growth such as increased traf­fic, park­ing chal­lenges, and com­mu­nity air-quality are broad in nature and require a col­lab­o­ra­tive approach for mit­i­gat­ing them. Working with MRCOG, we are well on our way to col­lec­tively devel­op­ing solu­tions that will move us all towards a more sus­tain­able future.”

Forty-two per­cent of stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty are com­mut­ing to cam­pus using a mode of trans­porta­tion other than dri­ving alone in an auto­mo­bile. PATS staff believe their com­pre­hen­sive plat­form of alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion pro­grams has encour­aged stu­dents, staff, and fac­ulty to con­sider using other modes of trans­porta­tion to com­mute to UNM. The ABQRide Free Bus Pass pro­gram, Zip­car, the bicy­cle locker pro­gram, and pro­mo­tion of alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion on cam­pus at the Trans­porta­tion Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter in the SUB are exam­ples of PATS most pop­u­lar ini­tia­tives on campus.

Acosta also believes the pres­ence of fre­quent tran­sit ser­vice has greatly enhanced the alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion expe­ri­ence for the UNM community.

UNM is served by eight major ABQRide routes, includ­ing all of the Rapid Ride routes. For indi­vid­u­als who live in prox­im­ity to these ser­vices, using alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion on a reg­u­lar basis to come to UNM is fea­si­ble. Our data shows that those who do live in prox­im­ity to fre­quent tran­sit ser­vice or in prox­im­ity to cam­pus where they can walk or bicy­cle are sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to use alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion,” Acosta said.

Acosta adds that while UNM’s alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion usage is notable, a major­ity of UNM stu­dents, staff and fac­ulty live more than four miles from cam­pus and not within con­ve­nient access to good tran­sit service.

UNM is a major des­ti­na­tion for stu­dents, staff, and fac­ulty who live in this entire region, which is known for its com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial sprawl. For this rea­son, despite gains in alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion usage, dri­ving alone remains the most pop­u­lar form of trans­porta­tion to UNM largely because most of the UNM com­mu­nity does not have access to prac­ti­cal alter­na­tives,” Acosta said.  “Our con­tin­ued col­lab­o­ra­tion in region-wide strate­gic trans­porta­tion plan­ning is crit­i­cal to ensur­ing stu­dents, staff, fac­ulty, and vis­i­tors can access this cam­pus and advanc­ing usage of alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion,” he added.

I am look­ing for­ward to hear­ing com­ments from our UNM community,”Kenney said. “I believe that this will form the basis for our future direc­tion in devel­op­ing alter­na­tive and easy tran­sit to and from cam­pus, work, and home.”

Media Con­tact: Ben­son Hen­drix, (505) 277‑1816; e-mail: bhendrix@unm.edu

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