College campuses offer clues for car-free living
Municipal leaders looking to reduce automobile reliance should visit the nearest college campus for ideas. In a February 5 report, the consumer group U. S. PIRG highlights the role universities and colleges play as urban labs in the United States. But the information sharing isn’t one way — cities also guide campuses.
The report, A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy, cites examples of the synergistic relationship. Palo Alto, Californnia, turned to nearby Stanford University for advice on reducing solo car trips and parking spaces. Harvard University worked with the cities of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the university is located, and Boston to add a dozen bikeshare stations to its historic campus.
Distance learning, car sharing and mass transit are among the alternatives to personal vehicle use pioneered on college campuses, the report says. With colleges so far ahead of most U. S. cities on mass transit, it adds, “policymakers at all levels of government should be looking to the innovative examples of these campuses.”