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Projects Updates for Transportation iCAP Team


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  1. 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.



  2. 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.




  3. 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.



  4. Parking Department Information

    Associated Project(s): 

    Michelle Wahl is on board regarding attendance at our next meeting. I'm attaching some basic cost information regarding costs of constructing/maintaining spaces on campus that she has provided. She is willing to provide more information, if requested. However, it might be beneficial for her to meet with the group to discuss what is desired rather than having her shotgun us with financial information. - Pete

  5. iCAP Forum notes for Transportation

    Associated Project(s): 

    Transportation SWAT Team Feedback
    The first bit of feedback given by a member of the audience was about electric vehicles. These are not specifically talked about in the summary of the report. An infrastructure would be needed in order for these to work well. It is something that could be looked into in future meetings. Along with this, it was noted that the University is currently developing five stations for type two charging with plans for type one charging to be active within the next week. It cannot be ignored how the energy is generated as well. Emissions are still produced by generating electricity to power the vehicles. Another audience member gave an idea about having a parking incentive to people who are driving from a distance and parking at a station. There are people currently on campus who park at a charging station and take a shuttle the rest of the way. It was suggested that the parking rate could be reduced for these people who are commuting with electric cars and taking a shuttle further to promote this practice.

    It was inquired about the fact that all types of fuel has hydrocarbons in them and all will affect the environment. The answer to this is that there are different amounts of environmental impacts based on what molecule is the byproduct of the fuel source. The topic of offsets was discussed and what ways were being considered for keeping them local. Currently, the team has not come up with a lot of ideas of how to do this but in the coming months a more comprehensive strategy will be developed to start this process. Traditional offsets would apply to this like having more plant matter and renovating buildings to be more efficient.

    Air travel was the final topic of discussion during the forum. It was commented on about how air travel is a function of the global reach as a campus and the more air travel that there is, the more global reach the campus has. A suggestion along with this was to have a carbon tax on air travel that could be used for offset funding. The estimations for projects can include this carbon tax and allow for the campus to improve, get more funding, and travel more while still offsetting the carbon emissions. Wotjek mentioned to the forum that the team would like air travel to broken down from absolute air travel into departmental. This would allow departments to see their own progress and account for fluctuating numbers in a department. Also, this can be used to provide incentives for efficiency of air travel on a departmental basis.

  6. notes from iCAP Forum

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi team,

    Below are notes I took doing today’s forum on feedback about our section. Sorry if I missed anything. 

    • Addressing electrical vehicle ars
      • Should we put these at shuttle lots? Where are the best locations for these? 
      • We should be careful in making sure the electric charging stations aren’t emitting more carbon and hurting us in advancing our goals 
    • Biodiesel might be a difficult sell 
    • Carbon Tax on projects 
    • Tax could be used on these action steps
    • Relative vs. absolute emissions
    • Air travel emissions 

    Thanks for those attending. Sounds like we have a lot ahead of us for our section!


  7. consensus draft for 2015 iCAP

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Ben

    I am pleased to provide you with our consensus final report.

    I was able to address the concerns your raised regarding (1) clarifying the nature of purchased off-sets, and (2) making it clear that we are not necessarily requesting a new OFFICE be established for Sustainable Transportation, rather we would like to see a director of Sustainable Transportation appointed.

    Regarding the specification of revised targets.  Our committee had extended discussions on this topic and our position is stated in the report as follows;

    "Our committee recognizes that the 2015 goal of reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent relative to the 2008 baseline is unrealistic. Similar concerns can also be raised regarding the more distal targets.  It is the position of our committee that insufficient information is available to provide adjusted transportation emission targets at this point in time. Until such time as substantive decisions have been made regarding strategies to reduce carbon emissions and/or to allow the purchase of carbon offsets, it will be difficult to develop more specific data-based targets for transportation emissions."

    We understand that you would have preferred to have new and explicit targets set for intervening years between 2015 and 2050 but it is the position of our committee that there is insufficient data to develop such predictions.  If you or other committees want to take up this task, we would not object.

    Thank you for your help on this important and exciting project.

    On behalf of the entire committee,



  8. draft recommendations

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Colleagues:

    I have tried to compile the information we discussed into the next draft of our report (attached).

    It would be good for us to try and agree on the content before I convert it into the requested format for out chapter.

    Do you think you could take a look at the draft and use "track changes" to make any edits.

    Please get the draft back to me by end of business on Wednesday so I can start working on the final version of both our report and the re-formatted version.

    Many thanks for your help and hard work


  9. iCAP revision

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Team:

    Strategies 2 and 3 revised and attached.

    After some research I find very little room for revision of the Spring revisions. Really just a minor bit of word smithing. 

    We may want to explore more radical revisions but I didn’t attempt write those without group a discussion first.

    ~Rick Langlois

  10. notes from meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    Dear Colleagues

    Thanks for a very productive meeting last week.

    As per our discussion last week, please send me the revised versions of our iCAP report by Wednesday October 8 in the morning.

    I am at home and I do not have my notes here but I believe to the best of my recollection, we agreed that we would work on the following sections

    • Bumsoo Lee, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning (SECTIONS 1-2; PGS. 2-3)
    • Peter Varney, Director of Transportation and Automotive Services, Facilities & Services (STRATEGY ONE – PG. 4)
    • Richard Langlois, Senior eLearning Professional, CITES (STRATEGIES TWO AND THREE – PG. 5-6)
    • Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, (STRATEGY FOUR – PG. 7)

    If I got the assignments wrong, please let me know.



  11. comments from Grace Kyung

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi all, 

    Unfortunately, I will not have time to review and offer detailed feedback as things have caught up with me trying to do preliminary work for being out of town for the rest of the week.

    Some things I would like us to consider though for our future is:

    • To work closer with parking and thinking of how we can create incentive programs. I thought it’d be a good discussion to have with the Director of Parking or someone else who could help make decisions on this behalf 
    • I believe in order for the Campus Bike Plan to be implemented then there needs to be a Campus Bicycle Coordinator
    • However, if we do want to push for a Campus Bicycle Coordinator then I was thinking we could push for something larger which would encompass this role but instead push for Sustainable Transportation Coordinator. I believe a sustainable transportation coordinator would be beneficial for our university because this will connect all forms of transportation and there is large room for growth in this area of sustainability. I believe this person would be the bridge between transportation and the university in aiding in the completion of our iCAP goals. In addition, be able to push for the Campus Bike Plan, creating better walkability plans, working with MTD, and so forth 
    • I believe for bike sharing program the university should work with community partners like MTD, City of Urbana, City of Champaign, and CUPHD to pull together funding together to fund a community wide bike sharing feasibility study in order to help us implement our campus bike sharing program. In addition, I think it should be discussed if its best to have a bike rental program for students instead of bike sharing and how to best create a departmental bike sharing program

    Those are some initial thoughts. I look forward to hearing how the meeting goes. Please let me know if I should clarify anything. I will limited access to email prior to our meeting. 




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