Safe passage and timely transportation is of great importance at Washington State University. The Pullman campus sprawls over 640 acres. This large expanse is a source of research, revenue, and immense pride at WSU. However, this means that the work of faculty, staff, and students depends on their ability to get to where they need to go quickly. Moreover, it is important that this transportation occurs in the most sustainable manner possible. Transportation Services is the department on campus that makes all of this a reality at WSU Pullman.

The Transportation System at WSU

The department of Transportation Services at WSU works to provide a broad spectrum of efficient and eco-friendly options to the students, faculty, and staff on campus. These services are available in the nature of buses, hybrid vehicles, and bikes. The department also manages and enforces parking rules and all tailgating events held on campus. The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) governs parking on the Pullman campus and requires parking in Washington colleges and universities to be self-supporting entities. Students are opted into a “user” fee that allows WSU to build more parking facilities and maintain current lots. This fee greatly enables faculty, staff, and students to make their way around such a large campus.

Why is this Important?

Vehicles that use gasoline or diesel result in air emissions such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide, the latter being a greenhouse gas and contributer to global climate change. Cars also emit particulate matter and pollutants (varying forms of hydrocarbonas, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides) that can fall to rest on our soil and in our water. These particulates can harm our reproductive and respiratory systems. Other emissions include carbon monoxide which causes smog in large cities and makes for an unhealthy environment of air to breath. The Clean Air Act of 1970 has helped with some of these problems; for example, most of the gasoline used in cars now is unleaded and so lead emissions have dropped significantly. However, in 2011 the Department of Transportation reported that over 246.3 trillion vehicle miles had been traveled in the U.S. alone. Thus, the problem of air quality has not disappeared. People must still remain cognizant of their effect upon the air we all breath, and this can directly correlate to our cars and driving them less often.

How You Can Help!

It is easier than you might think to change the way you get around town. For people with cars, they are more likely to see themselves driving more than necessary. The most important idea to grasp is driving personally without carpooling unnecessarily is the largest contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Listed are easy ways someone can reduce their carbon emissions through transportation:

  • Choose to walk somewhere close instead of drive
  • Ride a bike
  • Take public transportation (free for students at WSU)
  • Carpool

The most suggested alternative to driving is using public transportation. At WSU Pullman, the buses are a free transportation resource and only require student identification. This method of transportation is efficient, cost effective, and reduces the total amount of carbon emissions into the air compared to individuals driving. Did you know that in the 2014-2015 school year, there were over 1.4 million rides given to people on public transportation and 86% of ridership was WSU?