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$100K Grant Supports UAlbany's Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

NYSERDA, NYSDOT award aims to reduce vehicle miles traveled, highlight alternative transportation

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Traffic activity at the crosswalk

The University will evaluate transportation flow to and from campus in an effort to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as develop new transit recommendations. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 6, 2009) -- The University at Albany has received a $97,290 grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to identify commuter vehicle patterns of students, faculty and staff and research alternative modes of transportation. The University will evaluate transportation flow to and from campus in an effort to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as develop new transit recommendations.

"We have a high percentage of single driver commuters and wish to make them more aware of the opportunities for alternative transportation," said Mary Ellen Mallia, Director of Environmental Sustainability. "With this study, we hope to gauge and create awareness, garner a better picture of our transportation needs, increase use of alternative transportation and decrease our carbon emissions."

"In keeping with the vision of Governor David Paterson, the state Department of Transportation is committed to developing new ways to reduce energy use and improve air quality across the state," said NYSDOT Executive Deputy Commissioner Stanley Gee. "Innovative projects such as this will help achieve that goal, making New York State more energy efficient and reducing our carbon footprint."

"We applaud UAlbany's leadership in exploring new ways to achieve environmental sustainability," said Francis J. Murray, NYSERDA President and CEO. "This study provides a rare opportunity to evaluate the potential benefits of carpooling to a large number of students and employees at both the UAlbany and Harriman State Office Building Campuses. We look forward to its findings."

The University's Office of Environmental Sustainability along with Associate Professor Kate Lawson, Geography and Planning Department, will examine surveys to find out how people get to work. Researchers will study campus community awareness of alternative transportation, as well as identify clusters of commuters for potential car pooling opportunities. Additionally, the team will examine collaborative public bus routes with the Harriman State Office Campus.

UAlbany issues 15,000 parking permits annually, of which 85 percent are solo drivers. The adjacent State Office Campus houses 7,300 workers, most of whom are also solo commuters.

The 18-month study is expected to be completed in fall 2010.

UAlbany is committed to fostering and adopting an environment of sustainability. Last month, the University at Albany announced that it reduced energy costs by $280,000 as a result of its winter Intersession and Fall Energy Savings initiatives. The announcement was made at a lecture by leading environmental activist Denis Hayes, coordinator of first Earth Day in 1970. Last May, the University pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become climate neutral by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The University also launched its "Change a Light" campaign by distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs in residence halls and hosted an inaugural electronic recycling collection.

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