University employees log more than 47,000 trips and nearly 850,000 miles in second annual contest
Cal Poly finished first among San Luis Obispo County’s largest employers for logging the most non-single occupant vehicle trips in 2016 in a countywide competition.
“This is the second year that we’ve run the Best Workplaces for Commuters Challenge and a first-time win for Cal Poly,” said Peter Williamson, SLO Regional Rideshare’s employer outreach coordinator. “The university is reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips on the region’s roadways, which results in commuter savings, cleaner air, and improved employee health. During the course of this challenge, actively commuting Cal Poly employees burned 1.4 million calories.”
In addition, university commuters saved 218.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions while saving $288,515 in commuting costs — or nearly $1,400 per participant, Williamson said.
Cal Poly is among the county’s nationally recognized Best Workplaces for Commuters for offering incentives, tools and services that encourage the campus community to make smart commute choices. In 2016, the university had 208 employees cycling, walking or carpooling and logging on Rideshare’s website trips and distances traveled. The group logged 47,014 trips over 849,733.7 miles — more than 3.5 times the average distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Cheryl Andrus, Cal Poly’s Commuter Services coordinator who oversees the university’s Back ’N’ Forth Club commuter program, is excited to see staff and faculty do even better in 2017.
“Cal Poly remains the top employer in the county in reducing single-occupant trips on a regular basis,” she said.
Among university participants, cyclist Scott Loosley, Cal Poly’s director for Facilities Operations, recorded the largest number of lunch and commute trips — 851, at more than 1,061.9 miles.
“I’ve been biking to work every day — rain or shine — since coming to work here in March 2006,” said Loosley, a San Luis Obispo resident and Cal Poly alumnus. “I also did the same at UC Santa Cruz for more than seven years prior to coming here.”
Cal Poly offers incentives including cash per trips, prizes, designated parking spaces for carpoolers, and bike lockers and bike repair stations for cyclists.
“We also have 10 employee vanpools operating throughout the county and Santa Maria,” Andrus said. “We provide subsidized bus fares allowing the Cal Poly community to ride city transit with their current Cal Poly ID, subsidized countywide bus passes, as well as promotions for bicycle and pedestrian options.”
The campus has eight Zipcars located throughout campus if an individual needs a vehicle for part of a day, Andrus said.
The Best Workplaces for Commuters is a nationally recognized program out of the University of Southern Florida that recognizes employers for efforts to promote smart commute choices, Williamson said. In addition, Cal Poly is designated locally as a “gold” Back ‘N’ Forth Club commuter program member, he said.