Survey: Driving alone doesn’t suit Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- (May 7, 2013) -- A new University of Oregon commuter survey shows that students, faculty and staff are increasingly getting to campus by methods other than the single-person car trip.

The finding comes as the UO community gears up for the annual Business Commute Challenge, a weeklong promotion of active and healthy transportation options.

The survey earlier this year of students, faculty and staff showed that only 18 percent of the campus drives alone to work, with bicycling the top commute choice (21 percent). The survey also found:

  • Only 12 percent of students drive alone, and less than half of faculty and staff do so (45 percent). In comparison, about 68 percent of Eugene residents drive alone to work, according to the American Community Survey (US Census Bureau) in 2011.
  • About 62 percent of students and 72 percent of faculty and staff have bikes.
  • Almost half of students (49 percent) live within one mile of campus, significantly reducing the need to drive or even own a car.

The percentage of UO students who drive alone compares favorably with the numbers from schools with bigger, well-funded transportation programs such as Stanford (12 percent of students drive alone) and Portland State University (19 percent).

“The UO does really well – there are about 30,000 students, faculty and staff and the survey shows that most of us don’t drive alone as our primary mode of transportation,” said Emily Eng, a planning associate in Campus Planning and Real Estate. “It’s a great accomplishment and something to celebrate and build upon as we take on the Challenge.”

The Challenge, which runs May 11-17, is an annual, friendly competition to see which Eugene-Springfield business or organization can save the most drive-alone trips in one week. In 2012, more than 2,100 employees from 100 business teams participated. In one week, participants cut single-person car travel by 68,784 miles, reducing 55,695 pounds of carbon dioxide and saving about $13,000 in gas.

The survey was conducted by UO Campus Planning and Real Estate, the Office of Sustainability and the Oregon Leadership in Sustainability program.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cooper, UO media relations, 541-346-8875, mattc@uoregon.edu

SOURCE: Emily Eng, Campus Planning and Real Estate, 541-346-5606, eeng@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

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photo: Tim Christie