Vision and Goals
On Earth Day 2019, Vanderbilt University committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2019, about a quarter of Vanderbilt’s carbon footprint was produced by faculty, staff, and students commuting to campus in single occupancy vehicles.
The vision of MoveVU, the university’s strategic transportation and mobility plan, calls for a transformation in how the Vanderbilt community commutes to campus – one with less reliance on single occupancy vehicles and less demand for parking – by offering a “daily decision” of travel mode choice. In pursuit of the MoveVU goals, the Transportation & Mobility Office was created in 2018 to coordinate strategic transportation infrastructure planning and to implement a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program.
One of MoveVU’s goals is to shift the university’s mode share to increase the number of commuters taking sustainable commute modes and decrease the number of commuters driving single occupancy vehicles. Land currently devoted to parking can be used for other purposes, such as increasing green space across campus, another fundamental action of Vanderbilt’s carbon neutrality goal, or building academic buildings and residential colleges as guided by the Academic Strategic Plan.
The Transportation & Mobility Office, in partnership with the Office of Data & Strategic Analytics (DSA), conducted a survey in November 2022 to determine the commute and transportation practices of the Vanderbilt University community in order to develop new MoveVU mode share goals.
Compared to 2018, the percent of commuters driving alone to work decreased from 76.5% of all commuters to 52%. The percent of commuters reporting walking as their primary mode of transportation increased from 6% to 12%.
While 12% exceeds the MoveVU original goal to achieve a 10% walking mode share, differences in how “hybrid” and “telecommute” options were presented to survey respondents may account for some of the increase.
In the coming year, the Transportation & Mobility Office will create new MoveVU mode share goals to incorporate the commute survey results and the input received from Vanderbilt community members since the original mode share goals were established in 2019.
Transportation Demand Management Program
Since the MoveVU plan was initially published, the Transportation & Mobility Office has prioritized three core programs related to parking and commute behaviors as part of a comprehensive TDM program:
- MoveVU Commute Hub: Launched in February 2020, the Commute Hub provides a website and mobile app that helps commuters track their trips and connect to other carpoolers and vanpoolers.
- Daily Parking Program: Daily parking was introduced in September 2020. The daily parking program currently has over 3,000 community members participating. Historically, all university parking permits were purchased annually. Rather than paying a flat annual fee, which provides unlimited parking access across the year, parkers in the daily parking program only pay for days that they park on campus, increasing the financial motivation associated with considering other modes on any given day. Users can see their parking deductions and receive statements that summarize their trips and parking charges in the MoveVU Commute Hub and app.
- Sustainable Commute Incentives: Incentive payments for sustainable commutes launched in September 2021. Commuters who take a sustainable commute such as carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking, or riding the bus will receive an incentive payment. These incentives are applied to faculty and staff’s paychecks and graduate and professional students’ Commodore Card.
Vanderbilt’s comprehensive TDM program also provides commuter benefits, including transit passes that allow all students, faculty and staff to ride WeGo Local and Regional service for free, a guaranteed ride home program and access to commute planning assistance from a commute concierge.
The benefits to moving toward a more dynamic transportation demand management program are numerous:
- Helping Vanderbilt achieve its sustainability goals by driving to campus less often, which means fewer carbon emissions from transportation and improved air quality
- Improving health and wellness by taking more active commutes
- Having more transportation options than simply driving alone and the ability to choose daily how you will travel to campus
- Receiving rewards and incentives for sustainable commute modes and only being charged on the days you drive to and park on campus
Walking & Biking
Another MoveVU goal is for 80% of trips made on campus to be done via walking or biking, either for mid-day circulation trips or at the beginning or end of commute trips. In order to achieve this goal, the Transportation and Mobility office is working to make bike and scooter modes available on campus, to ensure there are accessible pathways during every day and construction conditions and to improve campus infrastructure to support pedestrians and micromobility. The university plans to develop a greenway network, building off the greenway concept foundational to FutureVU, throughout campus and a Walk and Roll Loop around the campus edge. This comprehensive, layered and connected mobility ecosystem is aimed at connecting neighborhoods, making campus more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly and opening the campus edge to the surrounding community.
These efforts align with FutureVU Guiding Principles of:
- Prioritizing campus land for academic and residential buildings and green and community space
- Preserving Vanderbilt’s park-like setting
- Promoting the walkability and sustainability of campus
- Being a leader in the region