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Jaimie Woo,
U.S. PIRG

New Report: University Campuses Like Georgetown & George Washington University Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., February 5th – As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like Georgetown University and George Washington University are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released today. The report, titled, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” was released by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

“Across America, colleges and universities are showing that efforts to meet increased demand for transportation options deliver powerful benefits for their community and surrounding areas,” said Jaimie Woo at U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “These efforts are saving money for universities, and improving the quality of life on campus.”

Americans aged 16 to 34 years of age reduced their annual driving miles by 23 percent per person between 2001 and 2009, according to research based on the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration that is included in the study.

“Providing transportation options like our free GUTS shuttle bus, discounted bicycle share memberships, and access to car-sharing services are key components of Georgetown's sustainability programs, helping our university community get around the region with ease and convenience, and without dependence on a car,” said Audrey Stewart, Director of Georgetown University’s Office of Sustainability.

As Baby Boomers grow older, Millennials have become America’s largest generation.  Since government investments in transportation infrastructure often last decades, the question of whether current investment will match the needs of future travelers depends largely on how well Millennials’ preferences will be met.

Megan Chapple, Director of George Washington University’s Office of Sustainability shared, "From bike and car sharing services to public transportation and free shuttles, the diverse options for transportation at the George Washington University are part of what makes life on campus dynamic and full of opportunities. Our students, faculty, and staff have access to the entire District at their doorstep.”

“University and college campuses are at the forefront of encouraging news ways to get around that don’t depend on personal cars. Public officials who want to stay ahead of the curve should be taking notes,” said Woo.

The report describes how universities are improving their communities by providing a wider range of transportation choices. This includes buses, biking, various types of vehicle-sharing that makes it easier not to have a personal car, and convenient apps that make it easier to navigate the options. The report also documents how campuses seek to avoid the steep costs of building additional parking facilities.

“Universities have a lot in common with cities,” added Woo. “They must get the most value out of limited land, they are acutely aware of problems associated with being overrun by cars; and they need to focus on the tastes and aspirations of young people. It’s no wonder that universities are leaders in finding successful ways to make it easier for people to drive less.”

You can download the report, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” here: http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/new-course

The report is the sixth in a series of studies on the national shift away from driving. The first report, Transportation and the New Generation, documents the dramatic decline of driving among Millennials. The second, A New Direction, examines the causes of declining driving and the implications for future transportation policy. The third, Moving Off the Road, documents state-by-state differences in declining driving, and shows how these differences do not correspond to how hard states were hit by the recession. The fourth, A New Way to Go, explores how new technologies and changing technological habits among Millennials are connected to the nation’s decline in driving and can encourage less car-dependent lifestyles in the future. The firth report, Transportation in Transition, released in early December, examines the data on declining driving and increasing transit and biking in America’s 100 largest cities.

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