Getting Around: Innovative Collegiate Shared-Use Mobility Programs


This blog was penned by a colleague in our Urban Solutions Group: Dylan Anslow, a MAP Fellow and Stanford University student.

ZipCar’s signature bright green stickers have become ubiquitous on America’s college campuses. On my campus, the day you check your PO Box and find your ZipCard waiting is a rite of passage. Suddenly, the world is your oyster; you can take your friends to Half Moon Bay, go for a picnic in Dolores Park in San Francisco, or, more realistically, pick up laundry detergent at Target.

But some university campuses have opted to create their own shared-use mobility solutions. Many have also implemented innovative bikesharing programs to improve on-campus mobility. These partnerships and programs reduce congestion while allowing students to escape the “bubble” of college campuses. Whether used for running errands, getting to job interviews, or in tandem with another mode of transportation, these programs help campuses increase parking capacity, reduce pollutions, and connect with local communities.


Here are a few of the programs helping to increase student mobility. 


Campus Area Transportation Management Association

In 1992, several northern Vermont colleges committed to share resources and transportation planning and created the Campus Area Transportation Management Association (CATMA). In the years since they have successfully coordinated the local strategic plans as well as their own transportation demand management (TDM) and multimodal goals to design innovative employee and student commute programs. CATMA is a founding partner of CarShare Vermont, and covers the $150 annual membership fee for all students, faculty, and staff at UVM and Champlain College.

Buffalo CarShare

Four University of Buffalo students developed a plan for a carsharing service as part of an entrepreneurship competition in 2007. Although they didn’t win the competition, they launched the plan a couple years later as a non-profit and have garnered support from both NYDOT and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Buffalo CarShare has partnered with local institutions such as Buffalo State and University of Buffalo to offer convenient car locations and discounts to their students and faculty.

Ithaca CarShare

Ithaca CarShare is a younger carsharing organization, started in 2008 by NYSERDA, Cornell and Ithaca colleges, with support from city and transit agencies. Like its peers, it is nonprofit and environmentally focused, and a founding member of the CarSharing Association. ICS is notable for their Easy Access plan designed for limited-income households.

eGo CarShare

Originally the “Little Red Car Co-op” when founded in 1997, the Denver/Boulder based carshare is sponsored by and partnered with area transit agencies, cities, metropolitan planning organizations and universities. They collaborate with other local transit programs to create multimodal transportation hubs.

Hour Car

Hour Car was founded in 2005 by a St. Paul environmental nonprofit with just 360,000$ of private and government funding. Hour Car is supported by the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, Macalester, Minneapolis College of Art and Design and other academic institutions. It provides discounted rates and special promotions for students, with car locations at half a dozen Twin Cities campuses. Some cars in their all-hybrid fleet have been fitted with equipment to allow solar charging.


UC Irvine ZotWheels

The idea for ZotWheels was conceived when UC Irvine’s Transportation and Distribution Service’s Associate Director rented a stroller at a mall from an automated stroller system. He contacted the stroller rental system, Central Specialties, Ltd. about the possibility of implementing a similar system with bicycles and UCI and CSL began a formal partnership two years later. ZotWheels is member supported with 40$ annual memberships offered to faculty, students, and staff.   

Stony Brook University Wolf Ride Bike Share Program

Wolf Ride was initially developed by the SBU Environmental Stewardship Office as a pool of 25 semester-long bike rentals for students. Now the program has four solar powered automated bike stations for free hour-long use by students and subscription use by faculty, staff, and visitors. As of May 2014, Wolf Ride users have logged a total of 1847 cumulative hours ride time.

NYU BikeShare

NYU Bike Share began as a student-initiated pilot program to test the viability of a bike sharing program at the urban campus. A Green Grant from the Office of Sustainability allowed them to purchase a small fleet of single speed cruisers, helmets, and repair equipment, but the student employees also refurbish and repurpose abandoned bikes. The program provides free daily rentals to NYU’s 50,000 faculty, students, and staff.

UMKC Clean Commute Bike Program

The UMKC Bike Program is a product of Clean Commute, the alternative transportation education program initially supported by Missouri DOT and FHWA grants. The program offers daily and semester loan-outs for students and benefit-eligible faculty and staff, as well as safety equipment rental, bike repair workshops, repair workstations, and other bike-friendly infrastructure.