OSU Commuter Challenge EventBy Katy Bryce, for Commute Options

Congratulations to OSU-Cascades for its first school year promoting transportation options in our community. Through the Drive Less Save More: OSU-Cascades program, students, staff and faculty reduced their drive alone trips through a combination of individualized marketing materials, incentives, challenges and fun events.
The Drive Less Save More: OSU-Cascades program was highly effective in engaging students and promoting walking, biking, riding the bus and ride sharing. During the fall, winter and spring terms:
• Students and employees logged 10,800 trips and a total of 41,000 miles using active transportation to/from campus.
• 6,750 more rides were taken in the 2016-2017 school year on CET bus routes 10, 11 and 12 than the previous academic year.
• Employees and students logged over 3,600 trips and 7,000 miles by bike throughout the fall, winter and spring terms, burning over 300,000 calories and saving more than $1,800 than if they had driven alone.

The unique “Individualized Marketing” program started with a baseline survey of students and staff throughout the year that asked about personal travel behavior. Survey respondents could then order a Go Kit that included personalized information and resources about transportation options that they were interested in. At the end of the year, the same students were surveyed and 47% of respondents who drive reported that they are driving alone less often now compared to six months ago. An impressive 49% of respondents felt that their reason for participating was to “make a positive contribution to my community.” We agree!

The Ride the Bus Challenge in November encouraged students and staff to ride the bus and garnered 472 total bus trips for the month. During the Winter Commute Challenge, participants logged 1,500 trips and 5,786 miles of transportation options, saving 3,094 lbs. of CO2 over the four-week challenge. The Bike for Burritos Challenge encouraged commuters to make at least 8 one-way trips by bicycle over a two-week period to win burritos from Chipotle. (Because what college student doesn’t love burritos?) Other smaller challenges and events throughout the year kept students engaged and informed about walking, biking and riding the bus in Bend.

Any student or staff can receive rewards through the Cascade Commuters rewards program when they register and log their non-drive-alone trips on www.drivelessconnect.com using their .edu email address. Students can get also get a free CET bus pass, free Zagster bike share membership, a discounted Zipcar membership and access to vanpools.

“We are working to establish an active transportation culture on our campus and the programs we offered this year were a great start. Every student on the OSU-Cascades campus had ample opportunity to get custom information and support to identify active transportation options for getting to campus. Those who participated saved money, improved their health, and reduced their environmental footprint,” said Casey Bergh, OSU-Cascades Transportation Program Manager.

Celebrating 25 years of Commute Options! Promoting choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org. Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com.