Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
OP-18: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Dan Allalemdjian
Director, Transportation Demand Management
Environmental Stewardship, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution provide secure bicycle storage (not including office space), shower facilities, and lockers for bicycle commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the facilities for bicycle commuters:

The University has bicycle parking racks located near building entrances around campus. Additionally, the campus has two secure bicycle enclosures with space for about 108 bicycles, which can be used by bike commuters. The enclosures have swipe ID secure access only for its users, and offer weather protection. On-campus student and faculty housing have longer-term bike storage areas where bikes can be parked.


Does the institution provide short-term bicycle parking for all occupied buildings and makes long-term bicycle storage available for students who live on-site (if applicable)?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle parking and storage facilities:

Columbia's Morningside Campus has two bike-parking enclosures, with space for approximately 108 bicycles. Columbia has approximately 282 outdoor bike parking spaces between the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses.


Does the institution have a bicycle and pedestrian plan or policy (or adhere to a local community plan/policy) that sets standards and practices for campus streets to enable safe access for all users?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle and pedestrian plan or policy:

Columbia follows the Sustainability Plan to advance bicycle culture on campus. Columbia has set a reoccurring annual event and action plan that ensures bike commuters are recognized and provided for through events such as bike breakfasts, newsletters, commuter news stories, and bike share.

The University can be easily accessed by a number of bike routes and separated trails and bike lanes. These include:
The Hudson River Greenway bicycle trail, which runs the length of Manhattan and nicely connects to all Columbia campuses. This trailway is part of the East Coast bikeway, runs within a park along the river and is separated from cars.

Columbia maintains a compact urban and walkable campus that is mostly car-free. In the surrounding streets, infrastructure enhancements continue to be added to encourage and protect walking and biking. In recent months the NYCDOT has added pedestrian and bike-friendly enhancements to the streets and major thoroughfares connecting to Columbia campuses. Some of these include pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions on 116th Street and Broadway, and on Riverside Drive. The NYC Department of Transportation and Columbia collaboration continues on the proposed plan to add a bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue, which would further safeguard cyclists and act as another traffic calming measure along a major campus connector. In the area around Manhattanville campus, bike lanes and curb extensions have been implemented along 12th Avenue.

The University identifies bicycling parking on the University website with a map of all the bike rack locations.


Does the institution have a bicycle-sharing program or participate in a local bicycle-sharing program?:
Yes

A brief description of the bicycle sharing program:

In 2016, Columbia contracted with Zagster to improve bike share on campus and make bike share available to all Columbia members. The program has grown to 20 bikes, and four bike share stations across both the Manhattanville and Morningside campus. Columbia’s bike share program on average logs about 300 bike trips per month. The expanded station network provides the University’s members with more sustainable travel options for intercampus bike trips and helps instill bike culture into the Columbia culture. Bike share is also outlined as a strategy in Columbia’s 2017-2020 Sustainability Plan.

Additionally, in 2017 NYC's bike share program, Citi Bike, expanded their bike network to the campus, with six Citi Bike stations adjacent to campus buildings. Columbia officials collaborated with Citi Bike on their expansion to the local area. The Citi Bike program is America's largest, with over 10,000 bikes.


Does the institution offer free or reduced price transit passes and/or operate a free campus shuttle for commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the mass transit programs:

Columbia provides free shuttle bus service between its Morningside, Lamont, Manhattanville, Medical Center, and Harlem Hospital campuses.

The University has launched a real-time tracking app through Transloc that displays the location of shuttles and arrival countdowns.

Additionally, Columbia's shuttle doubles as a sustainable commute mode for many commuters residing in areas that are not well serviced by public transportation, further reducing the number of drive-alone commuters to campus. The Fort Lee NJ and Lamont shuttles carry over 300 Columbia passengers into Manhattan each day, allowing commuters to leave their car closer to home, and avoid driving into Manhattan.

Columbia's free shuttles also connect to Metro North Commuter rail station in Harlem, which services commuters who reside north of Manhattan, which is another area not well-serviced by public transit.

In 2017, Columbia added a park and ride option to Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory campus in Upstate NY to incentivize driving commuters to switch modes. Additional shuttle service was added to the existing Lamont shuttle route making it possible for 9 am - 5 pm workers to switch to a more sustainable commute mode. This new park and ride option sold out, and the University plans to expand the park and ride options.

Columbia University has partnered with NJ TRANSIT to offer full-time undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to purchase a bus, rail, or light rail monthly pass at 25% off the regular monthly pass price. Enroll through NJ TRANSIT's Quik-Tik program to take advantage of this offer.

Columbia University's benefits offer access to a Transit/Parking Flexible Spending Account. The Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP) is a convenient way to pay commuting expenses using pre-tax dollars. Both full-time and part-time employees may participate in T/PRP.

Columbia provides free shuttle bus service to non-Columbian elderly and disabled (as well as their attendants) via the ADA-accessible Intercampus Shuttle. The shuttle connects 96th Street, the Morningside campus, the Medical Center, and Harlem Hospital with stops at nearby subway stations.


Does the institution offer a guaranteed return trip program to regular users of alternative modes of transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the guaranteed return trip program:

This program is paid for and administered by the New York State Department of Transportation and is promoted via Columbia’s website.

http://environment.columbia.edu/transportation-demand-management


Does the institution participate in a car/vanpool or ride sharing program and/or offer reduced parking fees or preferential parking for car/vanpoolers?:
Yes

A brief description of the carpool/vanpool program:

Columbia promotes the New York State Department of Transportation’s free carpool database, 511 NY Rideshare, to all staff, faculty, and students via the University’s website. This service allows people who live or work in New York to list their ride and or search for rides to and from their home. By joining and patriating in 511 NY Rideshare, you are also enrolled in the Guaranteed/Emergency Ride Home Program. Additionally, the University provides tips on how to form and maintain a successful carpool arrangement.

In the Fall of 2017, a new vanpool began service between Columbia and Tenafly NJ, making it Columbia's first vanpool service. Marketing efforts to expand vanpool services and support existing vanpools are occuring.


Does the institution participate in a car sharing program, such as a commercial car-sharing program, one administered by the institution, or one administered by a regional organization?:
Yes

A brief description of the car sharing program:

Columbia has partnered with Zipcar to offer a car sharing service at a discounted price for University affiliates. This initiative saves space, and user fees incentivize members to only use a car when they really need one.

In early 2018, Columbia secured a deal with Zipcar to bring Zipcars closer to campus, a new Zipcar parking location opened up at 125th Street and 12th Avenue.


Does the institution have one or more Level 2 or Level 3 electric vehicle recharging stations that are accessible to student and employee commuters?:
Yes

A brief description of the electric vehicle recharging stations:

In 2018, Columbia increased the number of EV charging stations at Morningside campus's commuter parking garage from 4 charging ports to 6 charge ports. Parking attendants increased the usage of these ports by swapping out the vehicles after one fully charges.

In 2018, Columbia installed the first EV charge port in a Columbia residential parking garage reserved for staff members who have Columbia housing.

In 2018, Columbia's Medial Center campus added its first commuter parking lot EV charging port.

Employees are not charged any cost for charging their EV's at Columbia.


Does the institution offer a telecommuting program for employees as a matter of policy or as standard practice?:
Yes

A brief description of the telecommuting program:

As part of its flexible work arrangements (FWAs), Columbia University allows telecommuting to meet the needs and operational goals of the department with the approval of the department manager. This policy applies to all officers of administration, libraries, and non-union support staff of Columbia University. Telecommuting entails regularly working outside of the office (for example, a work-at-home arrangement or a remote-access arrangement) for at least part of the work week. To facilitate arrangements under which staff may telecommute as part of their work schedule, individual departments decide on each request for telecommuting on an individual basis. Certain positions may require telecommuting, and the department will notify staff at the time of hire.

The University offers FWAs as a way to meet the needs of its staff and strengthens the University's position as an employer of choice. Telecommuting also has a positive environmental benefit by allowing reduced trips to and from campus. The department must approve all formal FWAs in advance and must allow the department to meet the business needs and operational goals. Short-term and non-recurring FWAs are permitted by this policy as well. Such arrangements do not require that the formal process is followed but need to be approved in advance by the department manager. Short-term arrangements may include adjusting a work schedule for a determined period (i.e., a day, a week, etc.).


Does the institution offer a condensed work week option that reduces employee commuting (as a matter of policy or standard practice)?:
Yes

A brief description of the condensed work week option:

Columbia University has a comprehensive flexible work arrangement policy that allows flexible work arrangements (FWAs) subject to meeting the needs and operational goals of the department with the approval of the department manager. This policy applies to all officers of administration, libraries, and non-union support staff of Columbia University. The University offers FWAs as a way to meet the needs of its staff, and strengthens the University's position as an employer of choice. FWAs also have a positive environmental benefit by allowing reduced trips to and from campus. A FWA is any variation in scheduling work hours and/or location from the traditional on-campus daily pattern. The categories of available arrangements are Flextime; Telecommuting; and Nine, Ten, and Eleven-Month Employment Programs. The department must approve all formal FWAs in advance and must allow the department to meet the business needs and operational goals. Departments decide whether to allow an individual to participate in a flexible work arrangement on a case by case basis. The flexible work arrangement policy and the associated guidelines pertain to formal FWAs which occur on an on-going basis. Short-term and non-recurring FWAs are permitted by this policy as well. Such arrangements do not require that the formal process be followed, but need to be approved in advance by the department manager. Short-term arrangements may include adjusting a work schedule for a determined period of time (i.e. a day, a week, etc.).


Does the institution have incentives or programs to encourage employees to live close to campus?:
Yes

A brief description of the incentives or programs to encourage employees to live close to campus:

Columbia maintains a compact urban campus, in a prime location in New York City that has excellent access to rapid transit and walkable amenities, which leads to Columbia's minimal transportation impact. Columbia's location in New York City is a draw that attracts students to study and employees to work at the University and adopt a walkable, car-free lifestyle. The area in which Columbia sits is filled with high-density apartment buildings, restaurants, and many other attractions to where students and staff can easily walk, bike or take a short train ride.

The University houses almost all undergraduate students on campus. Columbia offers affordable housing to many of its tenure-track and tenured faculty, and graduate students, such that many live in Columbia owned buildings on within walking distance to campus.

Columbia's employment office has a preference for hiring employees locally. The University gives preference to job candidates from select local ZIP codes vs. non-local. In turn, this motion means Columbia's travel impact is kept minimal.

Columbia’s Work/Life Office assists faculty, staff, and students who are looking for private housing. The Work/Life Office provides individual consultations to help Columbia members connect to accommodation services that include available rental, co-op and condo listings; information and contacts for realtors, attorneys, inspectors and other real estate professionals and mortgage information.


Does the institution employ other strategies to reduce the impact of commuting (e.g. preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, cash-out of parking programs)?:
Yes

A brief description of other strategies to reduce the impact of commuting:

In 2018, Columbia launched new carpool incentives for qualifying employees. Now carpool groups of three or more can be reimbursed 25% of their parking expenses. Employees need to apply via Columbia's Transportation website.

Construction workers working to build Columbia's new Manhattanville campus are also extended carpooling incentives. Workers who are in carpools of three or more can qualify for free parking.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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