Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.61
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 2, 2022

STARS v2.2

Tufts University
OP-16: Commute Modal Split

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.07 / 5.00 Tina Woolston
Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total full-time equivalent student enrollment:
11,619

Full-time equivalent of employees:
4,497

Has the institution gathered data about student commuting behavior?:
Yes

Total percentage of students that use more sustainable commuting options as their primary mode of transportation:
91.80

A brief description of the method(s) used to gather data about student commuting:

The Tufts Office of Institutional Research administered an online commuting survey to all employees and students on the university’s four campuses on May 7, 2019. A 'census survey method' was used where the response rate needs to be at least 50% of applicable commuters. The email reminders were sent out to those who had not yet completed the survey for several weeks. Tufts emails the survey to most of the University (students, staff, and faculty), those that they have not pre-screened out as a non-commuter, and filters out those who are not applicable commuters. This filtering out happens when the survey participant indicates that they are “part-time” or if they are a student that lives on campus.

In the survey, students were asked how they commuted from home to Tufts during a typical 5-day week (Monday - Friday) from April 29 - May 3, 2019. Students who traveled by multiple modes of transportation (e.g., walk to the subway station) were asked to choose the mode with the most miles traveled. The survey has been distributed at the end of April since it is prior to finals and the end of the school year, represents a time without extreme weather, and not a particularly high vacation-taking period since it is in the heart of the academic year. On-campus students are not factored into the commuting students as it was presumed they used non-motorized transportation to campus.


Has the institution gathered data about employee commuting behavior?:
Yes

Total percentage of employees that use more sustainable commuting options as their primary mode of transportation:
54.55

A brief description of the method(s) used to gather data about employee commuting:

The Tufts Office of Institutional Research administered an online commuting survey to all employees and students on the university’s four campuses between April 29 and May 3, 2019. A 'census survey method' was used where the response rate needs to be at least 50% of applicable commuters. The email reminders were sent out to those who had not yet completed the survey for several weeks. Tufts emails the survey to most of the University (students, staff, and faculty), those that they have not pre-screened out as a non-commuter, and filters out those who are not applicable commuters. This filtering out happens when the survey participant indicates that they are “part-time” or if they are a student that lives on-campus.

The survey has been distributed in April since it is prior to finals and the end of the school year, represents a time without extreme weather, and not a particularly high vacation-taking period since it is in the heart of the academic year.


Percentage of students and employees that use the following as their primary mode of transportation:
Percentage of students (0-100) Percentage of employees (0-100)
Single-occupancy vehicle 8.20 45.45
Zero-emissions vehicle 1.24 2.94
Walk, cycle, or other non-motorized mode 72.77 10.48
Vanpool or carpool 1.10 3.37
Public transport or campus shuttle 10.81 27.10
Motorcycle, motorized scooter/bike, or moped 0.10 0.20
Distance education / telecommute 6.78 9.80

Website URL where information about student or employee commuting is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Due to COVID mode share surveys were not performed during 2020 or 2021. The 2022 survey was not complete as of the date of submission.

To obtain the numbers above, the total commutes for all 5 days of the week for each mode of transportation were averaged (e.g., 1146 students walked or cycled to campus on Monday, 1139 on Tuesday, 1126 on Wednesday, 1109 on Thursday, and 1065 on Friday - these numbers were added together to give a total number of walking/cycling commutes in the week). The total number of respondents to each of the five days were added up then divided by 0.359 so that we could get the total one-way commute trips for 100% of the off-campus population (15,565).

We then took our 3,098 on-campus students, assumed they each walked for five days that week (3,098*5 = 15,490) and then added those walking trips to the off-campus trips. This represents the numerator, and we used the total number of responses over the five days as the denominator, to get an average mode share over the course of the five days. This excludes anyone who listed they did not come to campus on a given day.

Students completing the survey could select one of the following commuting modes: Drove my own car, Drove my own motorcycle or moped, Carpool, Walked, Biked, MBTA Bus, Subway (the T), Tufts Davis Square Shuttle, Commuter Rail/Regional Train, and "I was not on campus".

The weather during the week was as follows (from wunderground.com):
Monday: mean temp 53 degrees F, precipitation 0.00"
Tuesday: mean temp 48 degrees F, precipitation 0.14"
Wednesday: mean temp 51 degrees F, precipitation 0.00"
Thursday: mean temp 47 degrees F, precipitation 0.04"
Friday: mean temp 53 degrees F, precipitation 0.04"

There were a few assumptions we had to make here. We had to assume that the self-reported off-campus students did not include students who live very close to or even on-campus, but not in university housing. This includes some students who live in Greek Houses on campus that are not owned by Tufts. We also assumed that 100% of students living in university housing walked for their commutes all 5 days of the week. We also got these full-time student numbers based on fall 2018 enrollment, when this survey was distributed in spring 2019. Many students study abroad during the spring semester, so the total number of students might be a bit smaller.

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.