Carpooling Has UM Students Seeing 3x3x3

Blog by RYAN NEWHOUSE

Beginning on November 3, a new carpooling campaign, 3x3x3: Rideshare at UM, will launch to showcase the feasibility of a university-supported carpool program at the University of Montana in Missoula.

Spearheaded by five students in the Environmental Studies program, the rules (of the road) are simple: commit to carpooling with three people three times a week for three weeks, and then post all the glorious details on the group’s Facebook page – photos, status updates, fun facts, etc.

And yes, there will be prizes! One of the top prizes is a new bike from Hellgate Cyclery. And for those not so keen on carpooling, the group of students is encouraging curious bystanders to visit their Facebook page to show support and take a brief survey – yes, prizes for this too!

The results of the campaign and survey will be shared with the University to help plan for overcoming carpool barriers and reducing student driving emissions.

At the University of Montana-Missoula, transportation accounts for 31.6 percent of the school’s total greenhouse gas emissions.* This is substantial, even though the largest contributing factor in this percentage is university-related air travel. Still, student commuter traffic makes up almost a third of the school’s total transportation emissions and 35 percent of UM students drive alone to campus (only 9 percent currently carpool).

In the 2007-2008 school year, UM issued 12,767 parking permits, but only 27 of those were “carpool only” permits (which cost about six times less than a full-year permit!). As this new campaign is suggesting, there’s clearly room for improvement!

If you are interested in participating in the 3x3x3: Rideshare at UM, you don’t have to start on Nov. 3 – just start anytime before Nov. 24 and rideshare as much as you can. If you need assistance looking for fellow carpoolers near you, the group suggests checking out Zimride.com. Students can also post their rideshare needs in the University Center.

*University of Montana-Missoula’s Climate Action Plan Final Draft (PDF)

Ryan Newhouse has pedaled through thousands of miles of Missoula’s streets and trails as a commuter, long-distance cyclist, recreationist and former city bicycling ambassador. Although he now works from home, he still uses two feet or two wheels to push or pull himself and his daughter around town. More of Ryan’s writing can be read at http://www.ryannewhouse.com.

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