Transportation Fair spreads awareness about green traveling options

By By Rita Totten , Staff Writer

By Rita Totten , Staff Writer

Whether it’s walking, biking or driving, students had a chance to learn about their options when it comes to navigating around the U.

Transportation gurus gathered yesterday at the Marriott Library to educate the U community about available transportation options. The Transportation Fair showcased sustainable commuting options and exposed the transportation research being done on campus.

Tevan Gonzales, a sophomore in biology, attended the fair to find out what was going on around campus and said he was most interested in the U Bike Sharing program and campus buses. Gonzales said he relies on the bus to get to and from classes, but thinks they should run more frequently in the late afternoon.

“I think more could be done about getting the word out about other transportation programs on campus, like the U Bike Sharing,” he said. The program allows students to rent bikes to get around campus in an environmentally friendly way. It also circumvents the crowded traffic, parking lots and TRAX situation students and faculty are facing.

Daureen Nesdill, an assistant librarian at the Marriott Library, said the fair was a way to inform students and faculty about new transportation methods, construction happening on campus and future projects. The idea for the fair originated as a way to educate faculty on ways to get to work and expanded to include the U community.

“We recognized things are happening on campus so fast,” she said.
Facilities Planning attended the fair to showcase the U’s Campus Master Plan. The U is in the implementation phases of the plan, which is designed to make main campus denser with new research and academic buildings, said Tami Cleveland, a campus planner. The plan is, in part, meant to transform the U’s lower half into a pedestrian campus that encourages greener ways of getting around such as biking and walking, as opposed to driving.

For instance, U Facilities Management is redesigning HPER Highway to turn it back into a connecting lane on campus.

“We want to create a morelively and active way to get across campus,” Cleveland said.
For students still choosing to drive, the company Key2SafeDriving, which works with Safe Driving Systems, is developing software at the U that will block the use of a driver’s cell phone while their vehicle is in motion, so they can be safer on the road. An on-board diagnostic key would be installed in the car that would only allow for emergency calls to be made while the car is moving, said Jeffrey Taylor, a senior in civic engineering, who’s working on the project.

The key would also collect information on driver behavior and present it to drivers, giving them the chance to alter their habits. Drivers could also opt to give the information to their insurance company for possible rate discounts.

“It would create incentives to be a safe driver,” Taylor said.

Gonzales said he was interested in what Key2SafeDriving was promoting because he liked the idea of the incentives it could possibly offer safe drivers.

“It bothers me that I’m so careful, but I pay the same insurance rates as reckless drivers,” he said.

Jake Enslin, a sophomore in behavioral science and health, said what initially drew him to the fair was the free energy bars. But he was also educated in ways to make his carbon footprint smaller through recycling, using more public transportation and becoming more environmentally minded.

“I’ve started walking everywhere,” he said.