Staying the Course on Sustainable Transportation

You may have been away from UC Davis for a while. If you are returning in person to UC Davis this fall, we in Transportation Services are here to offer you guidance on your commute. First, some things you should know:

  • Paying to park can be done through ParkMobile, the pay-by-phone parking app. (See daily rates)
  • We’re (still) committed to sustainable transportation. 

Understanding Our Sustainability Baseline

The UC Sustainable Practices Policy declares that all campuses should decrease greenhouse gas emissions by reducing drive-alone commute trips by 10% from 2015 levels by 2025. Meeting that charge today is more difficult than it was pre-pandemic as commuters are more likely to commute alone in their own cars in an effort to minimize unnecessary contact. Still, Transportation Services commits to doing our part in meeting or exceeding the UC Office of the President’s directive and encourages all members of our campus community to opt for more environmentally-friendly options for their commute (when it is safe to do so). 

Getting back into the commute of things

Where does your preferred mode of transportation stand? Whether you used to ride the bus, carpool, or bike to campus, public health concerns and seasonal wildfires have made us all second guess the way in which we travel. What’s safe? How do I save money? Will I get sick if I share a ride? Oof! There’s a lot to consider and we can help you sort out the options. 

DISCLAIMER: While we consider ourselves experts in transportation, we are not experts in public health. Please refer to the UC Davis Campus Ready site for directions on current Public Health Policies & Requirements.
Walking, Riding a Bike

If you live in Davis, we feel it is worth mentioning that walking or riding your bicycle remains our preferred option for sustainable commuting. Both commute modes allow you to keep a physical distance, create your own schedule, and parking--if you need it--is usually easy to find and always free! 

  • What you can expect | This fall, we're expecting two years’ worth of new cyclists. Many of our first-year students from 2020 and 2021 are taking to our bike paths for the first time this quarter. That means a lot of people learning to navigate campus and bike traffic all at once. Be aware and be helpful. 
Riding the Bus

Unitrans, Causeway Connection, Yolobus, and the Solano Express all serve Davis and surrounding communities, bringing students, staff, and academics directly onto campus. Riding the bus is affordable and all four services continue to follow federally mandated pandemic mitigation practices. Plus, riding the bus remains a great option for the environment (especially if the bus is zero-emissions!).

  • What you can expect Many transit agencies nationwide are facing driver shortages and thus your preferred route may have been suspended, canceled, or its frequency reduced. Check your transit provider’s website for more info.
Train (Amtrak)

Riding Amtrak is unlikely to save you money if you live relatively close to campus. But, for a price, it can help you avoid rush hour traffic, reliably getting you from place to place (not much traffic on the rail lines), and, similar to buses, Amtrak has been adapting to reducing the spread of COVID. Bonus -- if you need to unwind, the trains each have a cafe car for when you need a snack (or drink) on those late in the week commutes home. 

  • What you can expect | Similar to buses, you may find that Amtrak has fewer lines running. Check the Amtrak app for Service Alerts & Notices page for updates on train service and times in your area.
Rideshare (Carpool/Vanpool)

When sharing the ride, we encourage exercising caution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and when possible, limit your carpooling to those within your household or chosen “germ circle.” Note: There are not any current and active vanpools serving UC Davis. Vanpools may become an option in the future and are organized from within the campus community.

  • What you can expect | Transportation Services no longer offers carpool parking permits. Now you can split commute costs with ParkMobile! Sharing the ride and sharing the parking cost is easy with ParkMobile. Add the vehicle license plate number into your ParkMobile account and drivers and passengers can alternate days paying to park. (No need to own the vehicle to have it listed on your account.) 

The most sustainable commute is the one you never (physically) take, which is why working remotely is one of one our favorite commute options! If telecommuting is an option for all or some of your workdays, we strongly encourage you to discuss making a Flexible Work Arrangement with your supervisor.

  • What you can expect | It is tough for us to set expectations on for telecommuting as it depends on the person, position, and supervisor. What we can say is that you can expect to not worry about parking or public transportation. 
Driving Alone (Single Occupancy Vehicles)

If you do need to drive to campus, we encourage you to help us flatten the curve--the parking demand curve, that is. ParkMobile is able to provide us with data showing the highest points of parking density and if you have the flexibility to drive to campus a few days a week, we request you consider not coming in on Wednesdays.

  • What you can expect | Our current data already shows that the midweek days are the most impacted with Mondays and Fridays showing the lowest parking demand. Or, if you adjust your daily work/learn schedule, plan to arrive on campus 30-60 minutes earlier to help spread reduce road congestion and help make everyone’s drive a little easier. Either way, an adjustment to your drive to campus helps to flatten the parking demand curve. 
Blend Your Commute

Too many options? Choose them all! Or some! Whatever works for you. Talk to your supervisor or department lead on a flexible work/learning schedule and see how you can adapt your commute into that schedule. Maybe you take the bus on Monday and Wednesday, drive on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and telecommute every Friday. Or, Monday and Tuesday you carpool, and Wednesday through Friday you walk, ride your bike, take the train--choose any other commute option available to you and fold it into your weekly commute schedule.

Above all, as you commute this Fall Quarter, remember to plan ahead, stay flexible, and be patient. 

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