McMaster again tops Commuter Challenge

By Alternative Commuting & Transportation Office, July 13, 2005

    An information booth about the Commuter Challenge and bike repairs by MACycle Co-op, was set up outside the McMaster University Student Centre during Commuter Challenge Week June 5-11.
For the second year in a row, McMaster placed first in its size category in the Commuter Challenge, not only among large organizations in Hamilton, but across Canada, with a participation rate of 23 per cent.

The Commuter Challenge is a week-long event that encourages Canadians from coast to coast to get to work by means other than driving alone. Between June 5-11, 1,115 McMaster staff, faculty, and summer students walked, biked, took the bus, kayaked, or shared the ride to campus for at least one day, and several more took extra efforts to keep their vehicles as fuel efficient as possible.

"The combined efforts of our campus community saved a total of 20,475 kg of greenhouse gas emissions, so we can all breathe a little more easily," says Jennifer Dawson, Alternative Commuting & Transportation (ACT) co-ordinator. "Several participants also gave up their parking permits for the summer, helping to make the current parking crunch a little less painful."

Daryl Bender, ACT co-ordinator, adds: "Many McMaster departments participated in our friendly inter-campus competition, and the results were spectacular. All 153 members of Physics and Astronomy took the challenge, saving more than 450 single-occupant-vehicle trips to campus."

The Dean of Science's Office, First Year Experience, the McMaster Institute for Environment and Health, MACycle Co-op, the Registrar's Office and Continuing Education departments at IAHS, Security Services, and Career Services also achieved 100 per cent participation.

MACycle Co-op, Thode Library, and the McMaster Institute for Environment and Health were the top three departments for long-distance clean commutes, each saving more than 40 kg of greenhouse gas emissions per participant over the course of the week. Furthermore, everyone in Biology, Psychology, and Religious Studies who participated went the extra mile, as none of them drove a single-occupant vehicle to campus. The Regional Medical Associates, Engineering, and the fourth floor of the Downtown Centre had the highest percentages of participants who switched to an alternative mode, and more than 95 per cent of people in First Year Experience, Physical Plant Grounds Students, and the Nuclear Reactor Building always commute using a clean-air mode.

"Several participants enjoyed the Challenge so much that they've decided to continue to carpool, cycle, or walk to campus year-round," Dawson says. "If that sounds like you, let the ACT Office know; we'd love to hear your story."

For more information about the Commuter Challenge, check out www.commuterchallenge.ca, or http://act.mcmaster.ca.