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UC San Diego Receives SANDAG Diamond Award for Providing Flexible Commuting Alternatives

Commute Solutions Manager Curt Lutz and Transportation Services Director Josh Kavanagh
(Left to right) Commute Solutions Manager Curt Lutz and Transportation Services Director Josh Kavanagh.


  • Colleen Sheehan

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  • Colleen Sheehan

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The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recognized the University of California San Diego with a Diamond Award for its continued commitment to offering employees and students sustainable transportation alternatives. Although the campus population is increasing each year, 57 percent of UC San Diego commuters use alternative transportation instead of driving single-occupant vehicles, reducing transportation-related CO2 emissions by approximately 58,165 metric tons annually. Alternative transportation options include public transit, campus shuttles, bikesharing, carpools, vanpools, Zipcar car sharing, Zimride ride-matching service and Lyft credit packages.

Last December, UC San Diego partnered with Spin, the dockless personal mobility company, to bring bikesharing to campus. Since then, campus commuters have taken more than 175,000 rides and traveled more than 25,000 miles, surpassing the “around the world” mileage marker.

UC San Diego also partnered with Lyft to offer another option to complement existing alternative commuting programs. Students, staff and faculty can purchase Lyft Flex credit packages and receive a 10 percent bonus. To improve passenger safety and traffic flow, UC San Diego collaborated with ride-hailing companies to identify preferred pick-up/drop-off zones and establish geo-fenced restricted passenger zones on campus and at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and both UC San Diego Health locations. Preferred zones are located within a short walk from most buildings.

“As the campus grows, we are working diligently to offer our community members convenient, cost-effective alternative transportation options that meet their needs,” said Gary Matthews, vice chancellor for Resource Management and Planning. “These efforts play a significant role in reducing the campus’ carbon footprint and meeting the university’s carbon neutrality goals.”

In spring quarter of 2014, UC San Diego students passed the first Student Transit Fee Referendum to create U-Pass, a universal transit pass that provides unlimited bus and trolley rides during academic quarters. Last April, nearly 72 percent of voting students passed the second Student Transportation Fee Referendum to extend the U-Pass program for six more years, effective fall quarter 2019. The discounted U-Pass program provides thousands of students convenient, affordable transportation.

To encourage more employees to try transit, Transportation Services is offering a limited-time free ECO Pass trial for new riders. Since the free trial program began in June, nearly 300 additional faculty and staff riders have tried transit, increasing employee participation in the ECO Pass program by more than 25 percent.

UC San Diego is one of only 17 employers to receive a Diamond Award in the Platinum Tier, the highest level of commuter sustainability. SANDAG has recognized UC San Diego with 15 Diamond Awards in the past 17 years.

SANDAG’s iCommute Diamond Awards recognize employers in the San Diego region who have made strides to promote alternative commute choices in the workplace. Employers earn points based on  employee engagement, annual iCommute event participation and shifts in employee transportation choices.

Learn more about UC San Diego’s commuting and campus mobility options.

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