Commuting to the Charles River Campus


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Sometimes we don’t think about our commute to campus as an aspect of our lives we can change. Maybe we do think about it, but don’t know where to begin. BU’s Parking & Transportation Services on the Charles River Campus (CRC) is working hard by helping faculty, staff, and students understand and consider all of the available commuting choices. (BU Medical Campus faculty, staff and students shouldn’t feel left out – TranSComm has been providing transportation demand management (TDM) programs and services to those on the Medical Campus since 1991!)

What is TDM on the CRC?

Generally defined, TDM is the set of strategies that informs, encourages, and facilitates commuters to utilize multiple modes of transportation services and programs. Reducing single occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuting is the major goal, but the CRC’s TDM plan also supports commuters who currently do not drive alone to campus. With the addition of recently hired Transportation Demand Manager, Stacey King, Parking & Transportation Services is developing new opportunities and initiatives that provide a robust set of sustainable options.

If you commute to the CRC, here is a current list of available commuting incentives and resources:

  • Current and prospective CRC faculty, staff and students are encouraged at any time to get Personalized Commuting Assistance and receive commuting options tailored to individual schedules and needs (a great way to think about how life events like a shift change, move to a new neighborhood, or transfer from another school might affect the commute to the CRC).
  • Full-time faculty and staff may purchase MBTA transit passes through payroll deduction as a pre-tax benefit
  • Students may order discounted MBTA semester passes each fall and spring
  • Over 500 bike racks and parking areas providing nearly 4,000 bike parking locations across campus; bike repair stations and tire pumps (currently in many bike rooms but several more scheduled for installation campus-wide)
  • Those who drive to campus can reduce parking costs by more than 50% when driving with other BU commuters through the new Commute Better Together program
  • Discounted Zipcar memberships (yes, car sharing can be a commute option!)
  • Free BU Shuttle which connects the Charles River and Medical campuses every weekday and Saturday, providing late-night service 7 days a week along the CRC
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in four locations across the campus for use by BU faculty, staff, student and campus visitors
  • Through BU’s membership with the Allston-Brighton TMA, BU faculty and staff who do not drive alone to work have access to a Guaranteed Ride Home program which provides six completely free taxi rides home or to another destination each year to use for personal or family emergencies
  • Competitive employee incentives for environmentally sustainable commute choices including Walk/Ride Day and Workout to Work
  • Current Green Permit holders can turn in their permit and try transit through the Better Way to Work Promotion (nearly 100 Green Permit holders have enrolled since September, and the new routine has stuck for over 80 – this promotion is still going on, so if you’re parking with a Green Permit, you can give it a try now through August)

How are TDM and Sustainability Connected?

Collaborating with sustainability@BU is an important way to help promote alternative transportation options that align with the University’s sustainability goals. Our commuting choices affect our carbon footprints and contribute to regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air quality (did you know that the City of Boston attributes nearly 30% of its GHG emissions to transportation?). If you do drive and your vehicle happens to be electric you can find electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in four locations across the campus for use by BU faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors.

Shifting to a non-SOV commute by sharing the drive with other commuters, or leaving your vehicle at or near home to commute by transit or non-motorized options can have a significant environmental impacts. Programs like Workout to Work help employees track these commuting impacts year-round, and the annual Green Streets Initiative Walk/Ride Day Challenge is kicking off soon, so you can expect some promotion from both departments to get you trying a more environmentally-friendly commute option and representing your team in the competition.

Over 2,600 CRC employees live within a three-mile radius of the campus which is an ideal range for non-motorized or “active” commuting (bicycling, walking and running). Even longer commutes can incorporate these options; either way, BU commuters are encouraged to watch for new incentives to help adopt an active commute. And, if you’re interested to start that conversation now, don’t forget about the aforementioned Personalized Commuting Assistance.

Did you know that Parking & Transportation Services is also part of the BU Bike Safety Committee? With current bike infrastructure and upcoming installation of protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) on Commonwealth Avenue between Packard’s Corner and the BU Bridge, commuting to BU by bike is becoming a much more attractive option. Promoting safe cycling is high on the agenda. BU Bike Safety offers free helmets and bike lights, educates the community about cycling and road rules, and works on improving bike infrastructure on campus, including bike parking (over 500 bike racks and parking areas providing nearly 4,000 bike parking locations and repair stations (with more scheduled for installation campus-wide).

Now is the Time to Talk About Commuting

With many alternatives and transportation options, it can be overwhelming to figure it all out. That’s why Stacey wants to hear from you! Whether you submit a Personalized Commuting Assistance request, call, email or stop in, arrange for a meeting with your department, school, or other on-campus group, there is never a bad time to talk about commuting.

Stacey King, Transportation Demand Manager
Parking & Transportation Services /

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