“ Transportation makes up 27% of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the US, making it the second largest producer after electricity generation.“ –EPA
Since New Mexico State University is primarily a commuting-based university, with nearly 75% of students commuting onto campus, the Office of Sustainability is continuously striving to educate the campus community about the importance of alternative transportation methods as well as transforming the campus environment to foster more sustainable alternatives. Listed below are some of the initiatives that the NMSU community is supporting to alleviate fossil fuel consumption and reduce NMSU’s carbon footprint created from transportation.
The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program is an initiative of the League of American Bicyclists, which encourages states, communities and businesses to provide better facilities, encouragement activities, infrastructure and education for cyclists and publicly rewarding them for doing so. The benefits of bicycling are far-reaching, including helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions, saving money, reducing congestion, optimizing space, improving health and enhancing campus quality of life (https://bikeleague.org).
New Mexico State University is currently in the process of providing a more bicycle friendly campus for our students, faculty, staff and visitors. The NMSU Sustainability Council will be taking on this initiative during the 2012-2013 school year.
Bike Share Program
The all-volunteer Sustainability Council and the Office of Sustainability are in the planning stages of creating a bicycle share program at NMSU. We hope to tie it together with the City of Las Cruces in the future.
A bike share program is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis. Bike share allows people to depart from point “A” and arrive at point “B” free from the worries of ownership.
Bike share has seen explosive, global growth over recent years. According to Wikipedia, as of April 2013 there were around 535 bike sharing programs around the world, made of an estimated fleet of 517,000 bicycles. In May 2011 there were around 375 schemes comprising 236,000 bikes. Those two years saw a doubling of bike share globally.
Many bike share systems offer subscriptions that make the first 30-45 minutes of use very inexpensive, encouraging their use as transportation. This is different from a bike rental, which Outdoor Recreation does at the Activity Center. If ASNMSU helps fund the program, rides would be free to students.
For more information about the goals and accomplishments NMSU has achieved thus far, please check out the BFU page on the Environmental Health and Safety website.
NMSU and Las Cruces Bicycle Route Map
Graduate student Grant Hamilton spent spring 2013 semester as an intern for the Office of Sustainability. His project for the semester was to create a bicycle route map. His very impressive map can be found here: NMSU and Las Cruces Bike Route Map
The NMSU Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) Office has gone to great lengths to minimize its campus fleet, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while saving money for the University. From 2009 to 2012, the TPS Office reduced its vehicle fleet and rental fleet by 23% and as a result, on campus fuel consumption has decreased by 54%. The University is also purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles as well. In 2011 the NMSU fleet had about 90 electric vehicles, two hybrids, twelve B-20 biofuel vehicles, and eight vehicles using E85.
NMSU Transportation Services (in the Administration and Finances Auxiliary Services Unit) is actively reducing our greenhouse gasses (GHG) by reducing our fleet of vehicles on campus. They are also using alternative fuels lowering our GHG as well. For more information please read the NMSU 2011 Transportation and Parking Analysis report.
The University is serviced by a shuttle system that primarily provides transportation from parking areas to various academic and housing centers on campus. The service is provided by the local City of Las Cruces transit system “RoadRUNNER” Transit. The University contracts with RoadRUNNER Transit to provide this service at the direction of the University. The service is paid for through a student imposed fee that is added to the tuition. The level of service provided and the routes and schedules are determined by a student run committee that administers the collected transportation funds. The University provides assistance to the committee.
Aggie Shuttle is to encourage people to park on the east end of campus and ride to distant destinations instead of driving on campus. The transit program provides free shuttle routes that transports riders with a valid NMSU ID from free parking lots from all across campus, rather than driving their personal vehicles. The Aggie Transit is intended to reduce campus congestion, promote public transportation, and reduce carbon emissions.