Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.93
Liaison Srinivasan Raghavan
Submission Date Feb. 24, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Missouri
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Michael Burden
Sustainability Coordinator
MU Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

The University of Missouri and the Sustainability Office proudly partner with local organizations in many endeavors, including, but not limited to regularly bringing the Columbia Farmer's Market to campus, working with local and regional food banks to improve access to healthy food, and supporting local bike/pedestrian education and infrastructure initiatives. Together we all work towards a more sustainable future. Some of the local organization partnerships include, but are not limited to:

*Jefferson Institute

*GetAbout Columbia

*Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District

*U.S. Green Building Council: Missouri Heartland Chapter

*Hinkson Creek Watershed Restoration Project: Show-Me Yards

*Columbia Business Times: Gleaning profit from pollution

*Missouri River Communities Network

*Alternative Community Training

*Ryan Enterprise: Plastic recycling and manufacturing

*Mid-MO Recycling: Electronic waste recycling

*City of Columbia

*Grow Well Missouri

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

The University of Missouri collaborated with the city of Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department to conduct a study about crosswalks. The summary of the study is found below:

The Impact of a Signalized Crosswalk on Crossing Behaviors in a Low-Income Minority Neighborhood
by Courtney Schultz1, Sonja Wilhelm Stanis1, PhD, Stephen Sayers2, PhD, Ian Thomas, PhD
1Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Missouri. 2Department of Physical Therapy, University of Missouri. 3PedNet Coalition

Background and Purpose
Communities with predominantly low-income and minority populations are effected by the highest levels of sedentary behavior and obesity (Day, 2006). These underserved communities often have limited access to parks and active transportation resultant of high-speed, high-volume streets and an outdated built environment. While studies suggest that sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic calming measures can increase pedestrian safety (Pucher & Dijkstra, 2003) few studies have evaluated pedestrian crossing behaviors as a result of infrastructure changes. In 2012-2013, the completion of a signalized crosswalk and landscaped median linking low-income housing with a public park provided a natural experiment to examine the effect of an infrastructure project upon active living behaviors.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of changes to the built environment to determine whether street crossing infrastructure modifications change pedestrian crossing behaviors or traffic patterns in a low-income and predominately racial/ethnic minority community.

Data collection occurred at one Intervention site (Providence Road) and one Control site (College Avenue) in Columbia, MO. We selected the Control site by examining relevant characteristics of the neighborhood (e.g., size, income level), and the corresponding street (e.g., number of lanes, typical traffic volumes/speeds, pedestrian crossing facilities). Street crossing behaviors were collected using direct observation and assessed the mode of transportation, legality of the crossing (e.g., at intersections/crosswalks or not), as well as race/ethnicity, gender, and age within 5-6 zones at both sites. Magnetic traffic detectors were also embedded in both the Intervention and Control streets during the data collection to capture traffic volume and speed. Data collection ran concurrently at both sites for seven days (Monday-Sunday) over the same two-week period in June 2012 (pre-intervention) and June 2013 (post-intervention), crossing behaviors were recorded for three hours each day (7:30am, 12:30pm, and 3:30pm) while traffic data were collected continuously for 168 hours during the first week.

Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables. Independent samples t-tests assessed overall changes in pedestrian crossings and traffic volume at each site from 2012 to 2013. Changes in legal/illegal crossings and traffic speed (above the speed limit/below the speed limit) at each site from 2012 to 2013 were analyzed using Pearson’s Chi Square.

Total pedestrian crossings at the Intervention site (Providence Road) increased from 1,464 in 2012 to 1,658 in 2013 (p<0.001). Between 2012 and 2013, the number of legal crossings at the Intervention site increased from 553 (38%) to 795 (48%) (p<0.001). In both years, the majority of observations were pedestrians (1,099 [75%], 2012; 1,316 [79%], 2013) followed by bicyclists (332 [23%], 2012; 310 [19%], 2013). Amongst children and teens, legal crossings rose from 45(25%) to 94(61%) and from 90(23%) to 169(41%), respectively between 2012 and 2013 (both: p<0.001). In addition, total traffic volume at the Intervention site fell slightly from 148,857 vehicles in 2012 to 148,508 in 2013 (p=0.01). Motor vehicles that were traveling above the speed limit of 35 mph decreased from 67,922(46%) in 2012 to 51,339(35%) in 2013 (p<0.001).
There was no change in the number of total pedestrian crossings at the Control site (College Avenue) from 2012 (4,385) to 2013 (4,485) (p=0.90). Legal crossings increased at the Control site, but only by 2% (2,341 [53%] in 2012 to 2,507 [55%] in 2013) (p=0.01). Similar to the Intervention site, pedestrians were most commonly observed (3712 [85%], 2012; 3890 [87%], 2013), followed by bicyclists (640[15%], 2012; 549[12%], 2013). Amongst children, the small number of legal crossings did not significantly change (10 [77%], 2012; 18 [95%], 2013) (p=0.135) but for teens changed from 497(39%) to 162(55%) (p<0.001), respectively between 2012 and 2013. As with the Intervention site, total traffic volume at the Control site fell from 132,428 in 2012 to 124,635 in 2013 (p<0.001). However, motor vehicles that were traveling above the speed limit of 35 mph increased from 64,310 (49%) in 2012 to 73,552 (59%) in 2013 (p<0.001).

The replacement of an unsafe pedestrian bridge with an at-grade, signalized pedestrian crosswalk and landscaped median significantly impacted both pedestrian crossing behaviors and vehicular traffic behaviors. Specifically, the installation of the pedestrian crosswalk yielded reduced proportions of illegal crossings (especially among children), and reduced the percentage of vehicles speeding on the highway through the neighborhood at the Intervention site while the percentage of vehicles speeding at the Control site increased. This study suggests that street crossing infrastructure changes do change behavior, which will help inform future street crossing interventions and may be used to guide policies promoting physical activity in similar communities where high-speed arterials are barriers to parks and active living.
Implications for Practice and Policy

By demonstrating increased pedestrian safety and traffic calming, this study adds support to the feasibility of advocacy efforts to reverse transportation practices that favor automobiles at the expense of pedestrian accessibility. These successful outcomes could be used to support advocacy efforts seeking to modify the built environment to increase physical activity in underserved neighborhoods.

Support/Funding Source
University of Missouri Research Board Grant

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

A multi-year integrated Stormwater Master Plan with the City of Columbia, University of Missouri (faculty, staff, students), Boone County, and MODot that identifies and employs BMPs (Best Management Practices) and uses BMPs for public education and research to improve water quality in our urban watershed. This group meets monthly and discusses ways to fix any storm water issues in the Hinkson Creek watershed. In 2003, the institutions submitted a joint storm water permit application to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources under Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This plan formalized coordination of storm water management activities. A renewal application was submitted in 2007.

MU has established a variety of policies and plans which include storm water considerations. These include the Campus Master Plan, the Campus Design Principles, Storm Sewer Permissible Discharges Guidance Document, and the University of Missouri Design Guidelines.

This group is also part of the collaborative adaptive management team. The goal of the collaborative adaptive management process is to improve water quality in Hinkson Creek by using a science-
based approach guided by a local stakeholder committee. It will assess the entire stream system, including the creek and other parts of the watershed. Improving the ecosystem should help support the return of the biological community to a fully functioning level as well as addressing other pollutants that may be contribution to water quality issues.

The Collaborative Adaptive Management (CAM) approach allows a wide range of actions to be investigated. Each of these actions is expected to contribute to reaching the water quality goals; some of these activities may reduce peak stormwater runoff, others may reduce the pollution in the runoff; under Collaborative Adaptive Management (CAM) both can contribute to the solution by improving the
water quality and supporting the biological community. By learning as we implement actions, we hope to find the most effective
approach(es) to address the water quality challenges in the watershed.

+ Date Revised: April 23, 2015

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

The University participates in the St. Louis Higher Education Sustainability Consortium (STL-HESC). This organization is run by campus sustainability champions at higher ed institutions with support from a second tier of agencies, businesses and nonprofits when necessary and called upon. Big plans these days for STL-HESC include forging stronger connections with "Tier II" agencies and businesses and partnering more closely with the St Louis RCGA (Regional Chamber and Growth Association), as well as continuing initiatives with the online course directories, green living guide and other competitions.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.