Sure, a city or company can add all the bikeshare systems or transit amenities in the world, but it still might not drive a change in the habits of our mostly drive-alone population. But if you match communications, strong messaging, and a normalizing of other transportation options alongside that infrastructure, places may be onto something in regards to making their citizens healthier, happier, and more productive. That’s the gist of what some people were saying at a half-day gathering put together by Harvard’s CommuterChoice program.
The session gathered more than 40 transportation and sustainability experts from 15 schools across Massachusetts and Vermont.
The one thing everyone agreed on is that the desire to expand sustainable transportation options is stronger than ever. Students, faculty, and staff are always looking for new, less expensive, and more environmentally sound ways of getting to and around their school. But one common challenge quickly emerged during the discussion, and that’s communication. “Most schools agreed that it can be difficult to continuously ensure people are being matched with the right program, especially when you’re on a very large campus,” explained Associate Director for CommuterChoice, TDM & Sustainability Ben Hammer. “So we all spent a great deal of time sharing best practices.”
“This type of event helps us realize that we’re surrounded by resources and surrounded by folks doing similar work with many of the same challenges and constraints,” said Summit participant and Boston University transportation demand management and marketing manager Carl Larson.” “I’ve pinned the contact list of event attendees on my bulletin board and I fully expect to use it before next year’s summit.”
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