Sustainable Transportation for Colleges

Sustainable Transportation for Colleges

by Craig T. Bouchard

The Fall semester is in full swing for many schools around the United States. Campuses are now full of students driving, biking, and taking campus buses to get around. In the past few years, sustainable solutions have been making their way onto campuses. While it is great to see universities committing to affecting the future of climate change, how can they start accomplishing those goals today?

The idea of creating sustainable campuses is not a new concept. The Brundtland Report from 1987 identified critical global environmental problems and delineated what would become the Sustainable Development concept. However, due to climate news reports and more countries looking to join the race to reduce carbon emissions, the concept is being heard more often, especially at schools.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics between 2019-2020, the United States had 3,982 degree-granting institutions. Many colleges have proposed solutions or have already started switching over to sustainable solutions, but there needs to be a bigger push for eco-responsibility. How are buildings being made sustainably, how are schools powering buildings, and what’s being done to transform transportation?

Public transportation is known to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since fewer vehicles are used to carry a larger amount of people. The American Public Transportation Association wrote, “Traveling by public transportation uses less energy and produces less pollution than comparable travel in private vehicles. To make progress in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and impacting climate change, public transportation must be part of the solution.” Many schools offer shuttle and bus services, reducing emissions and saving students money on personal transportation. In addition, there’s a trend towards some schools adding electric bus fleets to their campuses.

With the popularity of electric vehicles on the rise, schools are looking to make the switch with their bus fleets. However, there are some challenges including the amount of time it takes to charge one bus, the cost, and reliability issues. Michelle Levinson from World Resources Institutes wrote, “(electric buses) can cost as much as three times that of a diesel bus. In addition to the cost of the electric buses themselves, districts may need to account for the cost of purchasing and installing charging equipment, including any necessary facility upgrades.”

In the future, we hope to see the rollout of electric vehicles. There will be a day when EVs become more reliable and efficient, but currently, they are not there yet. By creating Ecolution, our team offers a sustainable solution for institutions to start their net zero journeys without risking additional costs that come with a full transition to electric-only transportation. Our technology fits seamlessly into already existing vehicles. In addition, the energy collected from our vehicles can benefit the campus and surrounding town by transferring the clean energy produced into a nearby electrical grid. Our goal is to help offset the carbon emissions produced by transportation vehicles themselves by putting clean energy back into grids for communities to have reliable energy and the chance of having a brighter future.