Thursday, October 4, 2007

USC Santa Cruz Joins Colleges Nationwide in Eco-Friendly Car Sharing Program

--science + technology + innovation--

The University of California, Santa Cruz just made life easier for busy students while making university living a little greener. The school partnered with Zipcar, North America's largest on-campus car sharing service, to provide Zipcars to faculty, staff, and students, as well as community residents. The initiative is an environmentally- friendly alternative to the costs and hassles of keeping a car on campus. The effort promises to decrease the parking demand on campus and reduce traffic impacts on the community. For Zipcar, the relationship extends its on-campus reach to more than 50 university partners.

"This partnership with Zipcar enables us to offer car sharing conveniently on campus to all of our students at low rates. It is a natural fit with both our environmental initiatives and our desire to decrease parking demand and traffic impacts," said Larry Pageler, Director of UCSC's Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). "The program complements UCSC's existing alternative transportation program and will allow our students the mobility they need to travel off campus for shopping, errands and recreation without the need to bring their personal cars to the area. Car sharing also gives TAPS the opportunity to introduce the Santa Cruz community to another viable sustainable transportation program."

Studies by Zipcar have shown that their car sharing programs have many "green" benefits to campuses and local communities. Each Zipcar typically replaces up to 20 personally-owned vehicles, reducing the need for additional parking spaces and replacing older vehicles with new ones that have more stringent pollution controls. Zipcar members tend to drive significantly less, resulting in less congestion and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Members tend to use a variety of alternative modes and use Zipcar only when they need to.

Car sharing is a natural complement to the variety of sustainable transportation programs already provided by UC Santa Cruz. According to Pageler, almost 60 percent of all trips to campus are made in modes other than a single-occupant vehicle. More than 10,000 trips are made to campus via its extensive transit program each day. In addition, approximately 220
campus affiliates travel to and from campus in the 20 van-pools coming from San Jose, Monterey, Aptos and other locations. Many students, staff, and faculty have formed both formal and informal carpools, while many more walk or ride their bikes to campus. These efforts have enabled the campus to reduce its vehicle trips through the campus entrances by more than 10 percent, matching 1999-2000 levels, even though student enrollment has increased by 37 percent during the same time period. The Zipcar car sharing program will help these other programs continue to grow. By offering access to a vehicle on the occasions when one is needed, car sharing encourages people to adopt alternative modes of transportation, rather than bringing their own car to campus.

Zipcar was selected as UCSC's car sharing partner based on their ability to customize the car sharing program to meet the needs of UCSC students and a proven track record of providing universities with a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly transportation solution. UCSC now joins the dozens of colleges that have partnered with Zipcar to reduce traffic, noise and parking demands, including San Francisco State University, MIT, Columbia, Georgetown, Rutgers, American University, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, University of Toronto,University of North Carolina and University of Chicago.

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