Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.76
Liaison Richard Johnson
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Rice University
OP-18: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Griffiths
Sustainability Intern
"---" 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?:

A brief description of the facilities for bicycle commuters:

(1) Rice has a total of 2,932 bicycle parking spaces that are conveniently located throughout the campus for all students, staff and faculty.

(2) Rice has a number of bike shower facilities for bicycle commuters. These showers can be found in the following building locations: Duncan Hall (3rd floor), JGSB (McNair Hall, 2nd floor), Ryon Engineering Lab (1st floor), Mechanical Engineering (1st floor), Keith Wiess Geology (3rd floor), Dell Butcher Hall (3rd floor), Rayzor Hall (2nd & 3rd floors), George R. Brown (3rd floor), Herring Hall (3rd floor), Humanities Building (3rd floor), MD Anderson Biology (3rd floor), FE&P (1st floor), Baker Hall (2nd floor), Keck Hall (Basement), Gibbs Recreation Center (1st floor), Brockman Hall (2nd floor), BRC (2nd floor), Anderson Clarke Center (2nd floor), Moody Center for the Visual Arts (1st floor).

(3) The Recreation and Wellness Center has rental lockers available to the general public, including bicycle commuters to the University. Renting a locker on a semester-basis costs $20-$30. Day lockers are also available. Additionally, most of the residential colleges have lockers/cubbies available for off-campus student use.

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)?:

A brief description of the bicycle parking and storage facilities:

Rice has a total of 2,932 bicycle parking spaces that are conveniently located throughout the campus for all students, staff and faculty.

Long-term storage for bicycles can be requested individually. Most residential colleges have storage areas where bikes can be held, and Rice University Housing & Dining will provide storage space if necessary. Additionally, many residential colleges rent storage pods over the summer which, for a small fee, can be used for bicycle storage. These pods are delivered to each residential college about a week before move-out, and are conveniently located for easy access. They are then brought back during move-in the following semester.

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?:

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

Rice University recognizes there are competing interests within the university community regarding the safe use of bicycles on the campus. Because of the campus layout, it is the current practice that bicycles and pedestrians share many campus sidewalks (meaning all outdoor walkways on campus regardless of how they are surfaced). Pedestrians wish to avoid physical encounters with cyclists, particularly in heavy traffic areas. Cyclists desire bicycle regulations that do not unfairly impair the use of bicycles for transportation on the campus. To balance these and other competing interest, and maintain a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, the university has adopted a Bicycle Safety Policy and related operational guidelines for all riders in an effort to address the needs of all interested parties. This policy applies to faculty, staff, and students who plan to or currently operate a bicycle on campus. Furthermore, the policy applies to only the main campus and nearby Rice properties such as the Bioscience Research Collaborative (BRC) and graduate student housing. More specifically, the policy outlines information regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety on the Rice campus, including how to register a bike, obey the rules of the road, yield to pedestrians, lock bicycles in racks and use bicycle helmets.

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

A brief description of the bicycle sharing program:

(1) Historically, the Rice Bike Share Program was started in 2012 by a class called Rice Into the Future, taught by Richard Johnson, Rice’s Director for Sustainability, and Elizabeth Long, a sociology professor at Rice. The program has transitioned into being a rental service provided by Rice Bikes, a student-run rental and repairs service on campus that allows students to rent bicycles. The bikes come equipped with a front basket, a U-bolt lock, and a set of front and rear lights. The semester rate for an individual rental is $65 with a $100 refundable deposit.
(2) Rice University partnered with the Texas Medical Center and Hermann Park to expand the Houston Bike Share system. A grant was approved in 2016 which will bring Bcycle stations to Rice campus.

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

A brief description of the mass transit programs:

(1) Rice University Shuttle System:
For the convenience of students, faculty, and staff, Rice’s comfortable, air-conditioned and lift-equipped buses circle Rice’s inner loop and connect the Graduate Apartments; Texas Medical Center/BRC; Media Center; Rice Stadium; and the Annex Building (which houses the Police Department; Post Office, Delivery Services, the Transportation Department, and Naval OTC); to the rest of campus for free.

(2) Metro:
Rice is located adjacent to Metro Red Line light rail corridor, with three stations located adjacent to the campus. This system connects Rice with downtown Houston, midtown, the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center, and the Reliant Park complex. Additionally, numerous Metro bus lines stop within walking distance of the Rice campus.

Rice undergraduate students can obtain a free METRO Q Card for unlimited use on regularly schedule METRO transportation systems, including the light rail, during the academic year.

Rice graduate students are eligible to purchase Metro Cards with a value of $500 for $55.

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

A brief description of the guaranteed return trip program:

(1) Rice has several different shuttles that run throughout the day. For students, in the case that they need a return trip after the operating hours of the shuttle, there is a night escort shuttle service. This service runs from Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Rice Police Department provides the night escort service on request. On some occasions, individuals requesting escorts may need to wait, depending on staffing, call priority and volume of calls.

(2) Although not a program run directly by the university, Rice's partnership with the Houston Metro allows user to take part in Metro's Guaranteed Ride Home program. This free service provides riders a way home in the event of a midday emergency, up to three times per calendar year. The program is available to all STAR vanpool riders and bus patrons whose route does not offer Midday service.

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

A brief description of the carpool/vanpool program:

(1) Through 2016, Rice participated in the NuRide carpool program. In this program, the carpool contact list is designed to help members of the Rice community find other individuals interested in carpooling. Carpools consist of two or more Rice employees or students and must be registered with the Rice Parking Office. One permit is given per carpool, and one proxy card is issued for each carpool member in the same lot. More specifically, faculty and staff who wish to carpool with two or more other Rice employees/students may each register for parking in the Greenbriar lot, then split the cost of a single premium lot or garage decal. Carpools must have two or more Rice employees/students and members must carpool 60% or more of the time to maintain carpool status. The carpool receives one proximity card and a hangtag, which can then be easily switched from one car to the other. When carpool members are not carpooling and they bring their own cars to campus, they must park in the Greenbriar Lot or in a paid visitor lot.

(2) Rice offers its employees a Commuter Benefits Program through WageWorks, which is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for public transit—including train, bus, or vanpool—as part of an employee’s daily commute to and from work. Those enrolled in the program save on average 30-40% on public transit.

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?:

A brief description of the car sharing program:

Rice has partnered with Zipcar to bring self-service, on-demand car sharing to the University. Rice was the first ZipCar site in the state of Texas. To use Zipcars, students/faculty simply must register as a member, reserve a car online or by phone, use their Zipcard to enter the car, and drive away. When they are done, they must return the car to the same location where they picked it up.
As a Rice Zipcar member, you get:
-Access to Zipcars 24/7
-Discounted hourly rates for faculty, staff and students age 18 and older: rates start at just $7.50/hour or $69/day.
-Gas, insurance and maintenance are included for free!
-Join for only $25 a year, and receive $35 in driving credit your first month.

As of 2016, Rice University had 9 ZipCars parked on campus, and the number of ZipCars will increase in the near future.

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

A brief description of the electric vehicle recharging stations:

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

A brief description of the telecommuting program:

Telecommuting is offered as a matter of standard practice in the institution. It is at the discretion of department heads and supervisors to allow staff to telecommute. Faculty of course are free to telecommute.

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

A brief description of the condensed work week option:

A schedule that includes 40 work hours in fewer than five days out of seven (such as four ten-hour days) is called a compressed work week. Rice University encourages a compressed work week when it will achieve, maintain, or enhance excellent service and performance. Such schedules may also improve employee morale and assist the University in meeting requirements for employee trip reduction in compliance with the Clean Air Act. The department chair or supervisor, in consultation with the appropriate vice-president or dean in consultation with the Provost, and with review by Human Resources, will determine whether a job is suitable for a compressed work week schedule.

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

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

There are incentive for employees to live on-campus, serving as Residential Advisers, in Rice's residential colleges. In addition, each residential college also has an accompanying masters' house, where the faculty master (and spouse and family, if applicable) of that residential college reside.

There are, however, no further incentives or programs to encourage employees to live close to campus.

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)?:

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

Through several LEED certifications, Rice has designated preferred parking spaces for low-emitting fuel efficient vehicles on the Rice campus. One such location is the BRC and its accompanying parking garage.

Rice, via its mascot Sammy the Owl, participated in an alternative transportation commercial produced by the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Commute Solutions program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLDm-xzGo9g

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

Rice University bikes: http://www.rice.edu/bikesatrice/

Rice Bikes: http://bikes.rice.edu/

Rice bike sharing program: http://bikes.rice.edu/rental/

Rice University shuttle system: http://transportation.rice.edu/

Rice University carpool program: https://sustainability.rice.edu/carpool-service

Rice University Zipcar program: http://www.zipcar.com/rice

Rice University condensed work week program: http://professor.rice.edu/professor/Compressed_Work_Week.asp

Night Shuttle Service: http://students.rice.edu/students/Security.asp

Houston Metro's Guaranteed Ride Home program: http://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/ServiceGuarantee.aspx

Sammy the Owl in Commute Solutions commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLDm-xzGo9g

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.