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Projects Updates for Transportation SWATeam

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  1. April 21st, 2017 Meeting

    Meeting Minutes 4/21/17

    In attendance:

    Ximing Cai

    Pete Varney

    Brian Farber

    Yanfeng Ouyang

     

    Summary:

    This meeting serve to continue discussion on campus fleet, bike parking, and campus parking. Also, Ximing Cai was introduced to the team.

     

    Topics:

    Discussion on Campus Fleet

    Pete led a discussion on campus fleet efforts. He stated that converting campus fleet to EVs and CNG vehicles would have a large effect on campus emissions, and that campus utility is interested in learning about electric vehicles, but there are certain obstacles to converting campus fleet. First it would cost about half a million dollars or more. These costs are largely attribute to building infrastructure for CNG refueling systems. In addition, campus fleet vehicles for Facilities and Services as well as housing do not drive very far, so the fuel savings would be small. However, converting campus fleet would be practical as the vehicles do not travel off campus, meaning there will be no inconvenience in refueling the vehicles.

    Bike Parking

    We continued our discussion on bike parking from the last meeting. One of our concerns, given the cost of the permits, is security. Anyone who is paying for a permit must be certain that there bike is secure. We might want to have security cameras.

    Parking

    We discussed efforts to encourage less driving through parking incentives. Pete suggested having a passenger-car-free campus zone by placing parking outside of certain zones of campus. This idea was well received by the group and generally liked. However, we discussed challenges to any parking changes. We discussed specific proposals to adjust parking prices, shown here:

    -          Try to price people out of parking and mitigate this by reducing the price at other locations

    -          Allow flexible payment in percentage of salary

    -          Have and “auction” in which whoever pays the largest percent of their salary gets the closest location.

    -          Remove or lift parking cap so that wealthier parkers pay more and thus provide more revenue

    -          Have a private company raise rates on parking

     

    Then, we discussed challenges to these proposals:

    -          Parking is important to unions – any changes may result in strikes or political conflict

    -          The sentiment of Parking and Campus master plan does not necessarily agree with people parking farther away – an objective that would be achieved through a passenger-car-free zone

    -          Hiring private company likely not a good idea – their primary motivation is profit

    -          City of Champaign changed parking ordinances so that spaces at churches, fraternities, etc, decrease

     

    Our next meeting is TBD.

     

  2. March 31, 2017 Meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

     

    Meeting Minutes 4.3.17

    In attendance:

    Josh Feldman – SWATeam Clerk

    Shuang Chen

    Ximing Cai – iSEE director

     

    Summary:

     

    Due to poor scheduling, several members were not able to show up to the meeting. However, it was a good chance for Shuang Chen, a student who is working to update the iCAP portal objectives, to learn about the group. Also, the new iSEE director Ximing Cai was in attendance, and plans to attend future transportation SWATeam meetings.

     

    Shuang had several questions to ask about the transportation SWATeam’s objectives. Josh answered the questions to the best of his knowledge and also wrote down the questions so that other members of the team could respond via email. Below are the questions.

     

    -          Can you provide a good overview of the bike plan and the fleet objectives?

    -          What is the main purpose of the UI fleet? Transportation? Construction?

    -          What is the exact amount/percentage of air travel emissions our campus produces?

    -          Which objective do you believe is the most important? Which has impressed you the most, or made the most progress?

    -          How does our bike plan compare with other universities’ bike plans?

     

    Next meeting: Thursday 4/13 at 1pm

  3. March 3, 2017 Meeting

    3/3/17

    Summary: This meeting served to update and refocus the team, as well as to further discuss Lily Wilcox’s suggestion for her bike-cage recommendation.

    In attendance:

    Josh Feldman

    Morgan Johnston

    Brian Farber

    Pete Varney

    Lily Wilcox - Active Transportation Coordinator

    Topics Covered:

    New IWG chair – Ximing Cai

    Ben McCall has stepped down as the iCAP working group chair and will be replaced by Ximing Cai, who will start on March 1st. Morgan Johnston will serve as the interim chair until then. Ximing wants to tie iSEE to other campus sustainability programs better, and wants faculty outside of iSEE more involved.

    IWG wants recommendations

    The iCAP working group is asking for feedback as to how well recommendations are working from our perspective. They hope to have a summary for recommendations by May. For instance, you might note that it is hard to have faculty engagement, or that the SWATeam isn’t getting enough feedback. If you have suggestions you would like IWG to hear, email Morgan Johnston.

    Bike Parking Cage proposal

    Last semester, Lily Wilcox introduced a suggestion to have secure cages for bike storage in all new parking structures. Those who would like to use these structures would pay for a permit. The team has not yet decided to agree completely on the proposal as we are still working out how to address some specific concerns.

    The most important concern is cost. These cages are expected to cost approximately $60,000, and will be in use for the 30-50 year lifespan of the parking structure. Morgan noted that these cages would likely be in high demand, so we could charge upwards of $85-$100 per year for a permit, similar to universities like Ohio State and Minnesota.

    Additionally, we discussed who the primary customers would be. Likely, the primary buyers would be day-riders and some students. Morgan suggested that we talk to campus recreation about the idea as well.

    Finally, we discussed some of the implementation challenges of the proposal. Brian mentioned that having bike riders in a parking garage create a safety hazard as cars may not be aware of or expect bike riders. Furthermore, any malfunction of the card-swipe system would be a huge inconvenience for anyone who needs to retrieve their bike.

    Overall, we have not yet formally agreed to go ahead with the recommendation but will continue to discuss it until we work out these issues.

    Next Meeting

    Our next meeting will be Thursday, March 16 at 1pm. This meeting will take place on Thursday so as to not be right before spring break.

  4. December 2nd, 2016 Meeting

    Meeting Minutes 12-02-16

    -          Lily Wilcox proposes new recommendation to build bike parking cages in new parking decks. Proposal was submitted to iCap Working Group

    -          Concerns:

    o   Will faculty really use this? Most faculty drive to campus; will they use bikes to get from building to building?

    o   Price is $100 per semester per bike. Price seems too high, and we’re not sure it is worth it for a cheap bike. Also, we are not sure if students would be willing to pay that much. We must look at what pricing options we can come up with.

    -          Benefits:

    o   Overall, proposal was very well received by team.

    o   Other universities, such as the University of Wisconsin, have similar bike parking and Lily says they are happy with it.

    o   A survey showed that there is some student interest in $25 permit student pricing.

    o   This would help the problem of abandoned bikes on campus.

    -          Other Comments:

    o   This proposal would focus on new parking decks being built, but it would also be possible to retrofit old ones.

    o   Having shower rooms in the new parking decks would help so people do not have to be sweaty after riding their bike.

     

    Spring meetings: Fridays at 1pm, about once every two weeks.

  5. November 4th, 2016 Meeting

    Meeting minutes 11/04/16

    -          Ankit showed us a video showing how some cities like Singapore are using tracking systems ( using cards) to track when people are getting on and getting off. This may improve the bus schedule. We could possibly using cards to track.

    o   MTD would have to put systems of the busses. Would require funds to implement this idea.

    o   Yangfeng mentioned some problems that could be associated with it. We must be careful if changing the bus schedule. Will MTD be open to the idea? It is quite some change.

    -          What we will talk to Ben about: one proposal on campus fleet, proposal on air travel to understand behavior, and parking proposal to change behavior. We will ask him what’s next, what’s on the agenda, and about further tasks to do. We need some more guidance.

  6. October 21st, 2016 Meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    Meeting Minutes 10-21-16

    Attendees:

                  Josh Feldman

                  Claire Dondival

     

    Topics:

     

                  Claire emailed Lance Schideman, professor who works for Illinois Sustainable Tech Center. He hasn’t gotten back to her yet, but Claire will try to see if he can possibly come to one of our future meetings.

     

    Next Meeting:

                 

                  11/4/16, Friday at 1pm in the iSEE conference room

     

  7. September 30th, 2016 Meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    Meeting minutes – 9/30/16

    In Attendance:

                  Josh Feldman

                  Ankit Singhai

                  Yangfeng Ouyang

     

    Topics:

    Josh, Ankit, and Yangfeng collaborated to create the transportation poster for the campus sustainability celebration.

     

  8. September 9th, 2016 Meeting

    9/09/16

     

    Summary: This meeting was our inaugural meeting for the year. On the agenda today was the creation of a team description, a review of ongoing projects, and planning for future meetings.

     

    In attendance:

        Josh Feldman

        Claire Dondival

    Ankit Singhai

    Yangfeng Ouyang

    Pete Varney

    Lily Wilcox - Active Transportation Coordinator

    Olivia Webb - Sustainability Programs Coordinator

     

    Topics Covered:

     

    Team Description

    We collectively crafted our team description for the iCAP portal, which can be found at:  https://icap.sustainability.illinois.edu/project/transportation-swateam.

     

    Project Slides

    Renewable Fleet Study:

    Claire and Petehelped foster a discussion about the current types of alternative fuels for campus fleet vehicles. Currently, natural gas is the only type of fuel seriously looked at. One concern was that the gas CNG, while possible to implement, would be somewhat costly and have little payback unless driven many miles. Electric vehicles were brought up, but are currently not part of the market. Biodiesel was also mentioned, but its performance in cold weather is a concern.

     

    Staff Mode Shift:

    Lily discussed the ways that this project will reduce single occupancy vehicles. One idea looked at was bike sharing, which has been tried by Purdue but does not have much payback economically. Lily also discussed “It’s your MTD too”, which features social bus-riding trips which introduce MTD to campus employees.

     

    Bike Plan:

    This was a summary of effort to make campus more bike-friendly. This would include having more, and better, bike parking. UIUC was recently recognized as a bronze-level Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.

     

    Future Meetings

    We decided that every other Friday at 1pm is a good time to hold meetings. We will be holding meetings in the National Soybean Research Laboratory. Our clerk Josh will send out reminders.

  9. SWATeam Charge Letter for FY17

  10. Jul 9 2015 Minutes

    see file

    Several SWATeam recommendations were discussed.  Also, an update from the Sustainability Council was provided:

    "Review of Council Meeting/Status of iCAP Approval - The Sustainability Council meeting went very well with lots of good discussion. There were not too many serious objections to the iCAP. They would like to see financial information, such as cost-benefit analysis on projects. This information will be included in the study for accelerating our carbon neutrality date. The cover letter from the Chancellor affirming our commitment will include language about the current fiscal climate in Illinois. The Chancellor was keen to be able to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. Other concerns were in regard to the net zero space item and they suggested a space audit be included in the iCAP."

  11. iCAP Working Group Agenda for 4/2/2015

    Dear iCAP Working Group Members,

    As a reminder, we will be meeting this Thursday at 1:30 (and also next Thursday, 4/9, at 1:30).

    This week we will discuss the timeline for completing our work on the iCAP, and then turn our attention to the 7 attached formal recommendations we've received from the Transportation and Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling SWATeams.  Please review these in advance of the meeting, so that we can discuss them most efficiently.  If you will not be able to join us due to a schedule conflict, please email me in advance if you have any particular concerns.

    Next week (4/9), we'll be joined by Kent Reifsteck and Mike Larson from F&S, and also Scott Willenbrock from the Energy Generation SWATeam, so that we can discuss what the iCAP should say about charting a pathway for clean energy for our campus.

    Thanks,

    Ben

    Professor Benjamin J. McCall

    Associate Director for Campus Sustainability Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus-sustainability@illinois.edu

  12. May 21 2015 minutes

  13. April 2 2015 minutes

  14. Agenda for meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

    Sustainability Working Advisory Team on Transportation

    Date:                12-17-14

    To:                   Sustainability Working Advisory Team on Transportation

                            Wojtek Chodzo-Zajko, Professor of Kinesiology and Community Health

                            Bumsoo Lee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

                            Richard Langlois, Senior eLearning Professional, CITES

                            Peter Varney, Director of Transportation and Automotive Services, Facilities & Services

                            Grace Kyung, Student Member

                            Justin Licke, Student Member  

    From:               Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

    Re:       Agenda for Friday December 19, 2014, 1:00 pm meeting 128 Freer

    1.         Feedback from Pam Voitik (F&S) – Appendix One

    2.         Feedback from Michelle Wahl (Parking) – Appendix Two

    3.         Discussion of version 2 2015 iCAP Report (pgs. 26-30) - attached

    4.         SWAT strategy cost estimates

    5.         Other items

  15. update from Ben McCall

    Dear Transportation SWATeam,

    Morgan and I had a very nice discussion with Pam Voitik at F&S late last week, and I wanted to brief you on some of the key points as they relate to the iCAP revisions.

    1) F&S is in favor of hiring a full-time "Active Transportation Coordinator," and having that person report to the Transportation Demand Management Coordinator (Stacey DeLorenzo).  "Active Transportation" (as you probably all know, but I didn't!) is industry lingo for all transportation except single-occupancy-vehicles.  So this person would be responsible for mode shift, the Bike Plan, and so forth...basically the last two bullet points in item #6 on page 30 of the current draft.

    2) Pete Varney and his team would be the sensible locus for efforts related to shifting the fleet more towards EVs and bicycles, and exploring renewable fuels for the fleet.  [The second and third bullet points in item #6 on page 30.]

    3) The first bullet point, about air travel, is outside of the scope of F&S, and should perhaps be a focus of iSEE or another entity in the domain of the Chancellor or Vice Chancellors.

    4) The Campus Bicycle Plan is essentially finalized now, but F&S is working on ascertaining exactly what entity should formally approve it. 

    Pam's suggestion is that it should be approved by the campus leadership (rather than by F&S), but the responsibility for implementing it should be with F&S.  This would give the Plan more authority/heft than if it were approved by F&S alone. There is reason to hope that this approval will be finalized before the iCAP.

    Cheers,

    Ben

     

  16. air travel info

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Transportation SWATeam,

    After extensive discussions with experts at University Payables, we have come to the conclusion that the apparent increase in air travel emissions in recent years may be due to the fact that the new TEM system more accurately captures air travel purchases than the previous systems did.  Payables is confident that the numbers for FY14 are accurate, but really does not have confidence in the earlier numbers because air travel was often reimbursed to travelers together with other travel expenses and may not have been captured in previous reports.

    My recommendation for the iCAP would therefore be to de-emphasize the apparent increase in air travel emissions, and instead explain that the new TEM system has greatly improved our ability to quantify these emissions.  Perhaps our objectives in the air travel arena should be formulated relative to a new FY14 baseline.

    Cheers,

    Ben
     

  17. Update from Ben McCall

    Dear Transportation SWATeam,  [Sorry for the barrage of emails...this is the last one for this morning!]

    I met with Michelle Wahl from Parking late last week, and she had some very useful comments on the iCAP draft that I thought I should share with you:

    1) She mentioned that in years past, she used to receive "idling reports" on her vehicles, which must have been equipped with some sort of system that tracked when the vehicles were idling.  This raised the question of whether such technology could be deployed widely on our fleet, rather than focusing only on "class 6 and above trucks" (neither of us knew exactly what that means).

    2) She was concerned about the financial aspects of providing additional opportunities for people to purchase less than full-time parking privileges in lots with wait lists...this is probably something that deserves further discussion.  If Parking allows someone to drop their full-time parking pass for a particular lot and instead purchase less than full-time for the same spot, their revenue will decrease.  This is concerning because Parking is legally required to be self-supporting -- they cannot receive any subsidy from campus, nor can they make a profit.

    3) She recommended adding a recommendation that parking rates be increased to provide a dis-incentive for single-occupancy vehicle use. 

    This would also be essential if the number of parking permits sold were to decrease, as Parking's costs are essentially fixed. Raising rates would be a challenge because they are subject to collective bargaining, but it has been successfully done on other campuses (including UIC). 

    Having an explicit call for this in the iCAP might help provide ammunition for such efforts.

    4) She recommended some investigation of the subsidy that Parking currently provides to MTD.  At present, Parking pays over $500K per year for this, ostensibly to support the buses that run to the "shuttle lot" (E-14, I think).  But this amount greatly exceeds the total revenue that Parking receives from selling permits in the shuttle lot.  She thought it was worth making sure that the amount Parking is contributing towards the MTD is the appropriate amount, because any funds that could be "saved" there could be directed towards other sustainability-related initiatives within Parking.

    5) She pointed out that there are now 18 "Level 1" charging stations for electric vehicles on campus, and Parking has plans to install some "Level 2" charging stations in 2015.  She thought it might be worth showcasing this work on page 29 of the current draft, and I am inclined to agree.

    Cheers,

    Ben

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