Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Madeline Schuh
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
OP-18: Support for Sustainable Transportation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" 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?:
No

A brief description of the facilities for bicycle commuters:
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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:

Facilities and Real Estate Services provides comprehensive list of bike racks and bike lanes on and near campus, available on an interactive Bicycle Resources map - https://www.facilities.upenn.edu/maps?location_type=All&search=bicycle&glid=&=Apply.

All of Penn's 62 bike corrals which provide parking for over 6,200 bikes are stationed around campus are equipped with video surveillance for security. Sheltered bike corrals are available at several locations on campus, and parking is also available in two parking garages on campus.


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:

The University Bicycle Policy was re-written and promulgated in 2013, with four goals:
• Enhance pedestrian, vehicular and rider safety;
• Ensure safe ingress/egress to and from all University facilities;
• Reduce bicycle thefts;
• Encourage bicycle registration.
The full policy is available here: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v60/n31/revisedbicyclepolicy.html


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:

Penn participates in the Philadelphia bike share program, "Indego". This program features over 600 self-service bicycles and 70 bike share stations throughout Philadelphia. Six stations are located on campus: at 40th and Spruce, 38th and Spruce, 36th and Sansom, University City Station and two at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, there are many other stations surrounding campus and in the nearby West Philadelphia neighborhood.


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:

Penn encourages the use of public transportation. To assist commuters who choose to use public transportation, Penn offers discounted options and/or pretax benefits through these programs: the "Commuter Pass Program" (COMPASS), "TransitChek®", "PATCO" "Freedom Pass" and "N.J. Transit". All programs are available to full-time University faculty and staff who are not participating in the parking permit program.

In addition, Penn has extensive free shuttle bus service in the evening hours, which transport students, staff, and faculty throughout the nearby adjacent neighborhoods. A partnership between Penn and Drexel allows students, staff, and faculty to use both campus's services.


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:

Penn participates in the "Emergency Ride Home", administered by the "Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission". The "Emergency Ride Home" service is a safety net for commuters who use public transit, carpool, or vanpool to work on a regular basis. In the event of an unexpected personal or family emergency or illness, unscheduled overtime, or if the regular ride home is not available for certain reasons, registered commuters are provided with a free ride to home, their car or to the place of the emergency.
For more information, see: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v60/n31/revisedbicyclepolicy.html


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:

The Penn Transit website provides information about carpool commuting to campus, and provides significant discounts on parking to carpool program participants. Penn provides access to a free computerized service that enables commuters with convenient transit services, car pools and vanpool groups for residents of the 5-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region. For more information, see https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation/car-pooling/enterprise-carshare.html


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:

Since September 2010, Penn has partnered with two car-sharing companies, "Zipcar" and "Enterprise Carshare". Penn provides discounted membership to departments on campus and, through a special arrangement, allows students under 25 years of age to participate in the car-sharing programs. There are currently well over 50 carshare stations in the immediate vicinity of Penn's campus. For more information, see http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation/car-pooling/car-sharing-carpool.html


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:

Penn Parking has four fully operational, on-campus electric vehicle charging stations provided by the Blink Network in one of our on-campus surface parking lots, located on the north side of Chestnut Street, east of 34th Street. In addition to the on-campus charging stations, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine has four EV charging station in its garage for patients and visitors. At a nearby lot shared by and jointly managed by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, charging stations might be installed in the near future.


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:

"Flexible Work Options" are a valued tool for supporting employee efforts to balance the demands of work and personal life. They can promote productivity and balance by using non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures. Because the University is a decentralized organization with diverse work environments, no one flexible work arrangement has been applied because no practice can be appropriate for all situations. Therefore, information is offered in the form of guidelines rather than policy. However, many Penn environments can utilize at least one flexible work arrangement if the job, person, environment, and work situation are appropriate for the arrangement and recommended protocols are followed. Typical flexible work options are flextime (flexible start, stop and lunch times), flexplace (work away from the office, typically at home), compressed work schedules (compressing standard work week hours into fewer days), and part-time and job sharing assignments (less than full-time work, either for a reduced assignment, or a shared one).


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:

"Flexible Work Options" are a valued tool for supporting employee efforts to balance the demands of work and personal life. Penn's flexible work options promote productivity and balance by allowing staff and faculty to adopt non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures. Because the University is a decentralized organization with diverse work environments, no one flexible work arrangement can apply universally, and no practice can be appropriate for all situations. Therefore, Penn has promulgated guidelines rather than a policy.

Many Penn workplace environments utilize at least one flexible work arrangement if the job, person, environment, and work situation are appropriate for the arrangement and recommended protocols are followed. Typical flexible work options are flextime (flexible start, stop and lunch times), flexplace (work away from the office, typically at home), compressed work schedules (compressing standard work week hours into fewer days), and part-time and job sharing assignments (less than full-time work, either for a reduced assignment, or a shared one).


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:

The University’s commitment to urban revitalization and supporting the adjacent West Philly neighborhood is deeply rooted in an understanding that the health and vitality of the University is inextricably linked to maintaining a diverse, safe, and thriving urban community. For a complete summary of Penn's impact on the local community and economy, see http://www.evp.upenn.edu/pdf/Penn_Economic_Impact_Powering_PHL_PA.pdf The following examples demonstrate mechanisms and policies created by Penn to help stabilize and enhance its neighboring West Philadelphia Community, indicating the breadth of support for the community.

* The Office of Penn Home Ownership Services (PHOS) offers eligible employees the opportunity to apply for financing for home purchases as well as for funds for home rehabilitation in the West Philadelphia area. The department also offers refinancing options with lending partners, home improvement grants, loans, educational workshops, and a variety of other resources. Penn Home Ownership Services ensures that the University community receives quality services that will assist prospective buyers and current home owners in making informed decisions. Penn "Home Ownership Services" currently offers two programs - the "Enhanced Forgivable Loan Program" and the "Closing Cost Reduction Program". Since the University's commitment to local home ownership began in 1995, over 1400 individuals and families have participated in these programs.

* Penn promotes its "Enhanced Forgivable Loan" (EFL), a $7,500 forgivable loan, as an incentive for faculty and staff interested in living and/or currently residing in the West Philadelphia community. These loans can be used for closing costs, down payment, to buy down points, and/or for interior or exterior home improvements. In addition, the loan can be used to convert a property from a multi-family to a single-family residence.

* The "Closing Cost Reduction Program" (CCRP) offers mortgage financing options with discounted closing costs (.25% of mortgaged amount) to the University community for the purchase and refinancing of homes. In partnership with its current mortgage partners, PHOS can help eligible University and Health System employees save on closing costs when purchasing a home in West Philadelphia within Penn’s boundary area. For more information, see https://www.google.com/search?q=penn+home+ownership+program&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&gws_rd=ssl

In addition to directly assisting Penn employees that live in the neighborhood, Penn supports the entire community in a variety of ways. Penn's Community Involvement efforts spend a variety of types of initiatives, including:
* The Penn Graduate School of Education has extensive partnerships with local public schools managed and run by the Philadelphia School District. The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander School, named for the first African American woman graduate of Penn's School of Law, a $20M+, award winning K-8 public school open to all neighborhood residents, was built by Penn and turned over to the School District of Philadelphia upon completion. Penn continues to support the school by subsidizing 17 students per year. Penn also supports the Henry C. Lea School, a nearby public elementary school, through pedagogy and teacher assistantships. For more information, see http://www.gse.upenn.edu/in-philly/affiliated-schools
* First Thursdays, hosted by the Office of Government and Community Affairs meets on the fist Thursday of the month to disseminate information to the Community about current Penn programs and also provide feedback from the Community to Penn.
* The Netter Center for Community Partnerships, which manages community service learning projects, partners with local Philadelphia public schools, and supports community development (https://www.nettercenter.upenn.edu/);
* The Office of Government and Community Affairs, which provides liaison services to community leaders, local elected representatives, and helps shape local engagement initiatives (http://www.upenn.edu/ogca/);
* The Civic House, Penn's student community service hub for outreach and citizenship (https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/civichouse/);
* Penn Volunteers in Public Service, which provides opportunity for staff (https://www.nettercenter.upenn.edu/penn-vips)
* Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound, to provide pre-college students a head start on higher education (https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/eap/vub/).
For more information, see http://www.upenn.edu/life-at-penn/community

Penn's Division of Public Safety and Penn Police have an extensive patrol zone for bicycle and patrol cars in the West Philly neighborhood adjacent to Penn, providing police services in collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Department to provide enhanced safety for the residents of the neighborhood. For more information, see https://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/

In addition, the University has also helped support and create a number of other programs, including: the University City District, tree plantings in the neighborhood, installing street lighting, and many more.


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:

Penn Parking Services is designating a portion of its parking spaces in our garages for "Low Emission" and "Fuel-Efficient" vehicles. This effort, which is part of Penn’s Sustainable Transportation Initiative, supports members of the Penn Community who to choose to drive low emission vehicles. The spaces are located near the entrance, exit, or elevators as required and are clearly delineated by signage. They are available to low emission and/or fuel-efficient vehicles until 10 AM each day. After 10 AM, other permit holders or paying visitors can make use of these spaces. For more information, see https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation/about/parking-services-overview/low-emission-vehicles.html

As a benefit to bike commuters, Penn has established a bike commuter reimbursement program to cyclists who bike to work more than 50% of the time. The "Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program" offers bicycle commuting expenses to faculty and staff for any out of pocket eligible expenses, up to $240 annually. Unlike a flexible spending account, reimbursement comes directly from the University and is not set aside from pre-tax pay by the individual program participant.

Pedestrians can request a walking escort 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the Division of Public Safety. Walking escorts provide services in the West Philadelphia campus and will accompany Penn staff, faculty, or students from one campus location to another, to a parked car, or to a mass transit stop.

Penn has extensive shuttle and van service for faculty, staff, and students who live within a mile of campus, and has a comprehensive resource sharing agreement with several large adjacent institutions, including the the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital, Drexel University, FMC, and Campus Apartments. These organizations have reciprocal agreements so all staff from these institutions can use each institution's bus and shuttle services (which include fixed route buses that run from 5 pm to midnight into Philadelphia's Center City West neighborhood to the east and to West Philadelphia neighborhoods to the west; door-to-door shuttle services that operate from 5pm to 3 am in the same service area, handi-vans that run on an as-needed basis any time of day, and free shuttles that run between the main campus, the partner hospitals, and Penn's Innovation Center about a mile away all day long. Any member of the Penn community may also use the free Drexel University shuttle and bus service, which has a different and slightly more expansive service area to Center City Philadelphia. For more information, see https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation/about/our-network.html


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2014 "Climate Action Plan 2.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY17 year and compares them to the FY14 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate Action Plan. 2.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.