STRATEGY 3.0 Reduced Transportation-Related Emissions

woman at the Halsted Street entrance to UIC-Halsted Blue Line CTA stop, under the signs that reads,

This strategy calls for UIC to reduce commuting-related emissions by giving transit incentives for faculty and staff as well as developing a more robust bicycle program. This strategy will also reduce University business travel-related emissions by switching to a more efficient fuel for the campus fleet, creating an air travel carbon offset program, and increasing efficiencies of inter-campus travel through teleconferencing and the use of trains. Reducing commuting-related travel and converting to a more efficient fuel will help UIC achieve its commitment to be a Carbon Neutral Campus and could reduce UIC's GHG emissions by 10,000 MTCO2e annually.

Review the original CAIP Strategy 3.0 (2018)

This strategy aims to reduce emissions through improved options for transportation, since transportation diversity reduces resident dependence on personal automotive travel, alleviating traffic congestion and associated pollutant emissions.

3.1.1 Transportation Demand Management (TDM)

student riding a bike on Harrison Street

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand of single-occupancy vehicles which are the largest source of UIC’s Scope 3 GHG emissions.

3.1.1.1 Transit Incentives for Faculty and Staff

GOAL

Pilot TDM programs to test most effective methods.
Manage parking demand with TDM strategies and pricing mechanisms.

This goal is meant to reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) commuting by 1.5% per year through multiple TDM strategies:

  • Implement and market a carpool/rideshare program for the UIC community (aimed at extreme commuters and healthcare workers in the first instance, but available to anyone in the UIC community)
  • Build on the success of the Value Pass implemented during COVID by institutionalizing daily parking in the pandemic recovery and beyond. A daily rate will mean part-time workers and people who work from home will be able to pay for what they use.
  • Reinstate pre-tax transit benefits.
  • Institutionalize and support work-from-home. This policy will integrate with the other programs, particularly daily parking, to allow for maximum flexibility for faculty and staff, who may choose to mix up their commutes from day-to-day.
  • Expand the UPASS. With the CTA, UIC secured the UPASS program to about 3,000 part-time students in spring 2020.

Details for all the commuting programs can be found at the UIC Commuting Planning website.

3.1.1.2 Bicycle Program

GOAL

Develop in institutionalize coordinated process for bicycle parking planning and management.

There are over 1,350 bicycle parking spaces across the campus, which can be viewed in the “Transit” tab on the UIC maps websiteThe Interior Bicycle Parking Room Standard intended for UIC Departments and Units can invest in secured indoor parking where appropriate accompanies with appropriate amenities for their employees and students. There is also a Building Standard (32 33 13 Site Bicycle Racks) for outdoor bicycle parking at UIC which has performance goals for building projects providing bike parking for at least 20% of average daily occupants and enough bicycle parking to meet existing demand, and any additional (latent) demand as well as to increase bike parking to 1,400 spaces at a minimum by 2024.

To maintain UIC’s Silver Level Bicycle Friendly University designation in 2025, UIC should expand the parking inventory and address the issue of parking in designated bike lanes.

Climate Resilience Connection

Transit diversity provides resilience in the event of extreme events impacting the environment or economy.  UIC faculty, staff, and students have access to several bus stops, bicycle share docks, CTA train stops, as well as Union and Ogilvie transportation centers.  This diversity of safe, reliable transportation options offers substitutes should one or more modes be compromised.

Climate Resilience 7.4: SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE

Transportation Services and Grounds (Facilities Management) is responsible for campus fleet, which consists of approximately 250 vehicles including cars, buses, and trucks. GHG emissions in this category are associated with traveling from one part of campus to another in a university vehicle like the campus shuttle, departmental, trades, and grounds vehicles. This category also includes travel from one University to another, such as trips from Chicago to Urbana-Champaign or Springfield, as well as faculty and staff air travel.

Expanding use of the campus shuttle to travel between East and West side for business would reduce emissions from departmental vehicles. Fundamental barriers to campus shuttle use includes lack of knowledge of the resources available, unreliability compared to other modes of transportation, and the need to improve the information technology associated with this service. Key action items include purchasing alternative fuel vehicles (Solution 3.2.1), increasing use of telecommunications/video conferencing (Solution 3.2.3), and the development of an opt-in carbon offset purchase program, which works in conjunction with existing travel reimbursement mechanisms (Solution 3.2.2).

3.2.1 Fleet Efficiency (Fuel Switch)

GOAL

Increase the number of hybrid, electric, and CNG vehicles by 5% by 2023, 15% by 2028, and 20% by 2033.

The campus fleet has shifted to include more E85 (flex-fuel), hybrid, and CNG powered vehicles. UIC is in compliance with the Chicago Illinois Clean Diesel Grant Program and has obtained assistance from the Chicago Area Green Fleet Grant Program, administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).  The timeline for implementation (of vehicle-type switching) is affected by the mileage, age of car, type of vehicle, departmental preferences, federal and state policy, and budgeting.

3.2.2 Air Travel Carbon Offset Program

GOAL

Evaluate an air travel carbon offset program for UIC.

A carbon offset program is necessary to reduce emissions attributed to UIC faculty and staff air travel. It is unreasonable to expect that faculty and staff can forgo all conferences and presentations to professional groups, which may require air travel. It is important to thoroughly understand carbon offset programs prior to implementing a program. Once an offset program is established for air travel, the program can be expanded to include other modes of travel.

The Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) has worked with UIC’s sister campus in Champaign-Urbana (UIUC) to develop an administrative mechanism that would allow units to “buy into” periodic campus-wide purchases of verified offsets. The OS and OBFS are responsible for administering this program.

3.2.3 Traveling Between Campuses

UI Ride shuttle bus with slogan,

GOAL

Reduce traveling to intercampus meetings by automobiles with trains and teleconferencing.
Promote use of UIRide.

UI Ride, the intercampus shuttle service connecting Urbana-Champaign and Chicago to provide an affordable, efficient, and convenient mode of transportation for the University of Illinois System faculty, staff, and students, encourages intracampus travel by reducing the number of SOV trips between Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield. Details at uillinois.edu/uiride