Ground Transportation

In 2009, employee commuting was responsible for approximately 1,626 MTeCO2 emissions, nearly 10% of Colgate’s total emissions. 

These emissions are likely to decrease in the future even if Colgate takes no action at all.  Currently, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require an average fuel economy of about 28 mpg for cars and 22 mpg for light trucks, and the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles on the road is near 21 mpg, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.  According to a new EPA CAFE ruling, the standard will be raised to 35 mpg for new cars for the combined fleet average by 2016.  That is a 42% improvement in fuel efficiency over today's vehicle fleet.  Once these new vehicles are on the road, emissions should decrease at Colgate by 20–40% even if no actions are taken at the institutional level, unless commuting distances increase to compensate.  However, since our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is focused on action items that we can implement within the next five years, the impact of the new emissions standards will not be considered as a mitigation strategy.

The Colgate vehicle fleet consists of 95 vehicles (22 student/faculty vans, 68 Buildings and Grounds vehicles, and 5 Campus Safety vehicles) and is responsible for approximately 400 MTeCO2 emissions per year, about 2% of Colgate’s total emissions.

Finally, the Colgate Cruiser is responsible for approximately 70 MTeCO2 emissions per year, 0.4% of Colgate’s total emissions.  While its emissions are minimal, its cost to the university is substantial, so, independent of the Climate Action Plan, the university will want to ensure that the Cruiser is scheduled efficiently.


4.6.1 Encourage carpooling
A 2010 transportation survey administered by Environmental Studies students revealed that of the 318 employees who answered the question about whether they would consider carpooling, 122 people (38%) answered either “yes” (18 respondents) or “maybe” (104 respondents).   An additional 12 people said that they were already carpooling; the remaining 184 responded “unlikely” or “never.”  With this significant level of interest in carpooling, it is possible that Colgate can increase its carpooling rates from the current 4% level to 10% of employees or 96 (960 employees X 0.10) individuals.  If we assume that each carpool consists of 2 people than we can form approximately 50 carpools.  If we spread this initiative out over four years, we would average 12 new carpools per year.  

In 2010, Colgate joined an online rideshare program called Purpool that was created by faculty members at SUNY Purchase with a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant.   Members of the Climate Action Plan Transportation Subcommittee selected this rideshare program because it is user-friendly, private to the Colgate community, and free of charge.  Purpool is open only to the Colgate community, so user information will not be shared publicly. Only employee names, emails, and zip codes will be shared among the Colgate community.

Milestone:
By 2015, at least 48 new carpools are formed involving 96 employees.

Metrics and Timeline:
Establish 12 new carpools per year for the next four years.

Recommended Action:
Promote and incentivize the Purpool rideshare program.

Carpooling estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.


4.6.2 Encourage employee bicycle commuting
In the 2010 transportation survey administered by Environmental Studies students, of 323 employees who answered the question about whether they would consider bicycling, 60 people (19%) responded either “yes, if I had a bicycle” (15 respondents) or “maybe” (45 respondents).   An additional 24 people said that they were already bicycling; the remaining 239 responded “unlikely” or “never.” 

Of the total group of 84 respondents who already bicycle or might want to bicycle, the percent who would be more likely to bicycle given the following incentives/assistance were:
  • Better bicycle parking: 30%
  • Information about safer routes: 6%
  • Free showers and lockers: 13%
  • Pre-tax accounts for bicycle expenses: 18%
  • Low cost bicycle purchase or rental: 20%
  • Park-and-ride locations: 6%
  • Bicycle racks for the Cruiser: 10%
  • Rides home in bad weather: 35%
Nearly 500 Colgate employees live in the immediate Hamilton area, presenting many opportunities to increase bicycle commuting to work.

With the assumption that most bicyclers will choose other transportation methods when the weather is bad, a reasonable goal is to add 20 half-time bicyclers per year over the next three years.

Milestone:
By 2015, at least 60 employees become half-time bicycle commuters.

Metrics and Timeline:
  • Create 20 new half-time bicycle commuters per year between FY 2013 and 2015.
  • Purchase 10 new bikes per year between FY 2013 and 2015 specifically to encourage employee commuting.

Recommended Action:
  • Promote and incentivize bicycle commuting on campus.
  • Hire student intern to help create, manage, and promote the program.
Employee bicycle commuting with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.


4.6.3 Encourage student bicycle commuting
Out of the total population of nearly 2,800 students, 752 have registered cars on campus (approximately 27%).  However, survey results reveal that the vast majority of students are not using their vehicles to commute back and forth to classes. Furthermore, Colgate does not allow student parking during the week between 8:00am and 3:00pm.  In fact, most students commute by walking (78%), biking (10%), taking the Cruiser, or carpooling.  With this being said, there appears to be an opportunity to further encourage and promote bicycle ridership.  According to a 2010 bicycle commuting survey, the lack of owning a bike was the most popular reason for not riding a bicycle at Colgate (72.5%) while 70% of current bikers responded that they wanted more bike racks.

Milestone:
The number of students who commute by bicycle increased from 10% in 2010 to 15% in 2015.

Metrics and Timeline:
  • Purchase 10 new bikes per year (30 total) between FY 2013 and 2015 to encourage student bicycle commuting.
  • Purchase 10 new bike racks between FY 2013 and 2015 to encourage student bicycle commuting.

Recommended Action:
  • Acquire 30 new bikes by 2015 to include in the Green Bikes program.
  • Install new bike racks at Newell Apartments, in Parker Complex and outside Case-Geyer Library.
  • Implement a campaign to make students more aware of the Green Bikes program and the environmental and health benefits associated with bicycling.
  • Hire student intern to help create, manage, and promote the program.
Student bicycle commuting with estimated cost savings over time.



4.6.4 Encourage flexible work schedules
Reducing employee commuter emissions and encouraging carpooling will be more successful if employees can work more flexible hours.  Nineteen percent of employees who expressed interest in carpooling (or 7% of all employees) said that flexible work hours would make them more likely to try carpooling.  Additionally, some employees might be able to work from home successfully for 1–2 days per week, or to work four 9 to 10-hour days on campus instead of five 7.5-hour days.  These policies all have the potential to reduce emissions from employee commuting.  However, many employees are needed on campus for particular hours, so flexible scheduling policies will reduce commuting emissions only for a certain percentage of employees.

Milestone:
By 2014, 10% of Colgate employees incorporate flexible work hours into their work schedule.

Metrics and Timeline:
Through more flexible scheduling, 70 employees reduce their annual commuting emissions by one-fifth or 33 gallons per commuter.

Recommended Action:
Human resources further investigates opportunities to incorporate flexible scheduling in our workforce.

Employee flex schedules with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.



4.6.5 Zipcar service to campus
Recent changes to Zipcar’s policies have removed the requirement that the university guarantee a certain level of monthly business.  The current policy requires only that Colgate provide parking spaces and some routine administration (such as checking cars for cleanliness).  The SGA is lobbying for Zipcars to be brought to campus.  Student driving is not included in Colgate’s emissions, but the existence of Zipcars may also impact Colgate’s emissions.  For example, Zipcars can be used as part of Colgate’s emergency ride home program for carpoolers or bicyclers.  Also, some smaller student groups might choose to use a Zipcar rather than a Colgate transportation vehicle.

Milestone:
Beginning in 2012, Colgate has access to two Zipcars on campus.


4.6.6 Offer group purchasing of fuel-efficient vehicles
Since Colgate’s greenhouse gas emissions will decrease if employees purchase more fuel-efficient cars, it is in Colgate’s interest to help employees make these purchases.  Colgate could support these purchases by helping employees negotiate a group purchase plan with a dealership.

Milestone:
By 2015, Colgate offers employee purchasing discounts for fuel efficient vehicles.

Metrics and Timeline:
Commuter emissions decrease by 10% off of the 2010 baseline by 2015 as a result of this program.

Recommended Action:
Purchasing Office looks into options for group purchasing of fuel efficient vehicles.


4.6.7 Purchase electric vehicles
Colgate’s vehicle fleet includes about 15 vehicles that would be suitable for replacement with low-speed electric vehicles.  Electric trucks have official payloads of ~1500 lbs, but in the initial purchase, it would be best not to approach this limit.  Colgate’s light-duty vehicles include ones that are used to transport custodians on campus, and also vehicles used by ITS, athletic trainers, mail services, the locksmith shop, the paint shop, and preventive maintenance to transport employees and light equipment. Over the next few years, approximately six of these are likely to be replaced presenting an opportunity for Colgate to purchase electric vehicles .  If Colgate wishes to be particularly cautious, leasing options exist.  

Milestone:
By 2015, six electric vehicles replace traditional gasoline vehicles in Colgate's vehicle fleet.

Metrics and Timeline:
Starting in 2013, replace an average of two internal combustion vehicles per year with electric models.

Recommended Action:
  • Identify specific vehicles to replace with electric models.
  • Work with B&G staff to ensure that jobs can be performed adequately if electric vehicles were used.
Electric vehicles with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.


4.6.8 Purchase hybrid-electric vehicles
Vehicles that are used for long trips or on highways are not currently suitable for replacement with electric vehicles.  However, hybrid-electric vehicles can be appropriate substitutions.  There are seven campus vehicles that might be appropriate to replace with hybrid-electrics, including those used by admissions, athletics recruiting, and campus safety.  Of these, three are likely to be replaced in the next couple of years.   

Milestone:
By 2015, three hybrid-electric vehicles replace traditional gasoline vehicles in Colgate's vehicle fleet.

Metrics and Timeline:
Starting in 2013, replace an average of one internal combustion vehicle per year with hybrid-electric models.

Recommended Action:
  • Identify specific vehicles to replace with hybrid-electric models.
  • Work with Colgate employees staff to ensure that jobs can be performed adequately if hybrid-electric vehicles were used. 
Hybrid-electric vehicles with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.



4.6.9 Biodiesel (B20 Blend)
Biodiesel is a low-carbon vegetable oil- or animal fat-based alternative to diesel fuel.  Biodiesel blends are now available through the diesel fuel marketplace with competitive pricing.  Blends of less than 20% biodiesel can be used in Colgate's existing diesel fleet with no, or only minor, modifications. 

This project looks at replacing 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel with B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petrodiesel) blend. 

Milestone:
In 2012, Colgate purchases 5,000 gallons of B20 to help fuel our diesel fleet.

Metrics and Timeline:
During 2013, Colgate reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 11 MTeCO2 and saves $500 by replacing 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel with B20.

Recommended Action:
  • Establish contract with diesel fuel distributor to procure biodiesel.
  • Communicate biodiesel use with mechanics and vehicle fleet operators.
Biodiesel project with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.


4.6.10 Implement a no-idling policy
Idling for 10 minutes typically uses the same fuel as driving one mile.  Vehicle idling wastes fuel, but is not normally necessary for safety, and, contrary to widespread belief, actually decreases engine life rather than increasing it.  This project would result in a new campus-wide policy that prohibits idling for more than five minutes at a time.  `No idling’ signage would also be a part of this project in order to help reinforce and communicate this new policy.

Milestone:
By 2012, Colgate has a campus-wide `no idling’ policy in place.

Metrics and Timeline:
By 2012, have a policy statement written and endorsed as a new campus policy.

Recommended Action:
  • Implement new campus-wide `no idling’ policy.
  • Install new signage to alert drivers of campus policy.
`No idling’ policy with estimated cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions.