Emory Report
October 2, 2006
Volume 59, Number 6


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October 2, 2006
Ease on down the road in a van or carpool

BY kelly gray

Solo drivers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your gridlock.

That’s the message Emory’s Transportation and Parking Department is sharing with commuters frustrated by the higher costs and lost time spent driving to work. The ability to save money on gas and vehicle maintenance, while enjoying a convenient ride to and from work or school, has many commuters jumping at the opportunity to use alternate modes of transportation.

Some commuters take shuttles or public transit; others walk or bike to and from their destinations. These alternatives to single-car commutes are definitely picking up steam. Within the past 12 months, Emory, with the help of the Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association (CCTMA), has added more than 130 participants to its carpool program – bringing the total number to 352.

“With the high cost of commuting in a single-occupancy vehicle alone, we’ve noticed more interest in vanpools and carpools,” said Laura Ray, associate vice president for transportation and parking. Assistance is also provided to carpoolers and potential carpoolers through a regional ride-matching service and carpool incentives.

“To encourage participation, carpools with two participants are given a parking permit at a significantly reduced rate and carpools with three or more participants pay absolutely nothing for their permit and get a free reserved parking space,” said Ray.

A significant number of students and more than 7,500 employees from Emory and other CCTMA organizations live within three miles of campus. Many of these commuters drive solo to and from campus. “More transportation choices mean less traffic congestion, less air pollution and a higher quality of life for those living in transportation corridors,” added Ray.

Susie Lackey, a research laboratory manager who has worked for Emory for 28 years, began carpooling in October 2005. Her carpool started with three members, adding a fourth member in May. “The benefits greatly outweigh the minor inconveniences,” said Lackey. “Generally, each of us drives one week out of the month so the wear and tear on us and our vehicles has greatly diminished.”

Emory defines several types of carpools:
• Reserved space carpool—three or more full-time employees; or two full-time employees and two part-time employees or students.

• Two-person carpool—two full-time employees; one full-time employee and two part-time employees or two students; or three or more part-time employees.

• Student carpool—two or more students; or one employee and one student.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing alternates to commuting alone. That’s why Emory has so many choices; they fit different employee lifestyles and needs,” said Lackey.

Vanpools, like carpools and public transit, also provide a substitute to driving unaccompanied. Emory’s vanpool program is designed to target employees who do not use public transportation and who are seeking the added benefits that vanpooling offers.

“Our office also assists commuters in developing vanpools. Presently, we have 29 vanpools operating in 10 metro Atlanta counties. That’s an increase from 18 vanpools one year ago,” said Ray.

A vanpool is a group of seven to 15 commuters who live and work in the same area, have similar work hours and share the commute in a leased van. Additionally, a minimum of three vanpool members must register to drive the van. The operating cost of the vanpool is shared among the vanpool members and the entire group enjoys the savings of sharing expenses and the convenience of sharing a ride.

For commuters with unexpected emergencies, Emory offers a Guaranteed Ride Home program. This program is designed to provide commuters participating in alternative transportation programs, with a ride to either Park-n-Ride lots or directly home. To register in these programs, please call 404-727-1829 or visit www.187ridefind.com.