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BFUs: Transportation Trailblazers

Great things are happening for bicycles on college campuses across the country, but the movement is even bigger than bikes.

According to a new study released by U.S. PIRG Education Fund, colleges and universities are working to reduce driving on campuses by promoting biking, walking, transit, car sharing, and even online distance learning as alternatives to personal vehicles.

There are a number of reasons that campuses are prioritizing these alternatives, but perhaps the most important is the growing demand from college students themselves. According to the study, the Millennial generation (those born between 1983-2000) places a greater value on having a range of transportation options, and is leading the national trend toward reducing their annual vehicle miles traveled. As more universities recognize this demand and take action to give students what they want, an entire generation is getting comfortable in bicycle, transit, and walking-friendly environments.

That means that when they graduate, they’ll expect and demand to continue to live car-free or car-light.

This is what makes the Bicycle Friendly University program so exciting: students who attend Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU) are developing habits they’ll bring with them long after graduation, choosing to live in Bicycle Friendly Communities and work for Bicycle Friendly Businesses. BFUs are both reacting to and helping to create a generation who sees bicycles as their most convenient and obvious transportation choice.

America’s colleges and universities play a critical role in setting the standards for transportation options across the country. Understanding why and how schools are providing improved options for biking, walking, and transit access is not only the key to creating better campuses and communities, but to fostering a generation that continues to demand better transportation opportunities in the future.

Read the full study “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy.

Photo: Stanford University, a Platinum BFU