April 17, 2020
Find joy in your daily travel, get moving, unwind and reduce your environmental impact
While we’re at home during COVID-19, some good-news stories are circulating worldwide about reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from fewer people commuting to and from work each day. When we start to commute to work again, we know that emissions will begin to increase. Transportation will once again become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants that contribute to health problems.
As part of our Institutional Sustainability Strategy, UCalgary is working to reduce transportation impacts on the environment through programs, incentives and travel alternatives that are easy on the wallet and encourage active and sustainable commuting. Even though a lot of us are at home right now, we want to continue to improve programs that advocate for biking, walking, taking transit or carpooling so UCalgary can help positively impact the campus community, the environment and human health when life is back to normal. But to do this, we need your help.
Tell us how we can do better
As part of a Campus as a Learning Lab project on sustainable transportation, UCalgary is conducting a survey to gather feedback from the campus community on how to improve sustainable transportation options and understand the UCalgary community’s current commuting habits. Data collected will inform future decisions about sustainable transportation programs at UCalgary.
What sustainable transportation can do for you
Sustainable transportation options not only help UCalgary meet its sustainability goals, but they also create a happier and healthier campus community. UCalgary staff members Audrey Taylor, Patrick Hanlon and Hardy Huang can attest to this.
Maintain your physical health and meet fitness goals
Patrick Hanlon, teaching and learning facilitator, Werklund School of Education, has been commuting on foot for the past 15 years. He describes his commute as “a pleasant, quiet way to start my day. I often try to take in scenery and photograph highlights of my walk. At the end of the day. I get into my running gear, whether winter or summer, and run a minimum of 10 kilometres home to maintain my marathon training.
- Photo above: Patrick Hanlon commutes on foot to UCalgary to improve his fitness for marathon training. Photo by Marathon Photos
"Living close enough to campus to accommodate this routine is a great way to stay fit (and competitive) in my mid-50s while reducing my cost of living as well. Think strategically about your commute and what you might use it for. If you're considering a running commute, set reasonable distance goals if you're just starting to run.”
Get moving in the morning and unwind in the evening
Audrey Taylor, associate director, alumni engagement, says her commute gets her ready for the day in the morning and gives her time to unwind in the evening. “My morning commute consists of a 15-minute walk and 10-minute LRT ride to the downtown UCalgary campus, which I love. It gets me moving, helps me prepare for the day or unwind before I get home.
"I commute sustainably because it’s an easy way for me to take a daily step to reduce my impact on the planet. My top tip for someone looking to commute sustainably is to ensure you enjoy it. I look forward to listening to my favourite podcasts on my commute.”
Find what works for you
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for sustainable transportation. Choose a mode that is comfortable and safe for you. Hardy Huang, planning architect, campus architecture, is a mixed-mode commuter, using both cycling and public transportation. He suggests to “find out what works for you, or better yet, find joy in your daily travel.Ride a scenic route home in warm afternoon sun — read, rest and unwind while someone else does the driving. Sustainable commuting modes are unlikely to be faster than driving, but they might just offer something else in exchange.”
Set the wheels in motion for positive change
Complete the survey by April 22 and help make a valuable contribution to the development of more user-friendly, sustainable transportation programs and campus infrastructure in the future. The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and any member of the campus community can participate. Survey participants can enter to win one of five $100 vouchers to the UCalgary Bookstore. Access the survey.
The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to become a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.