New year’s resolutions? Office for Sustainability’s New Automated Commuter Menu Can Help
Looking to exercise more, have more fun, get some fresh air, reduce your environmental impact, or save money in the New Year? Try active transportation! Walking or cycling is a great and efficient way to get to campus.
It’s clean. There is no doubt that walking or biking is great cardiovascular exercise, providing many health benefits including weight loss. It lowers your blood pressure and stress levels while lowering your risk of heart attack, hypertension, and diabetes.
It is gratifying. Besides the psychological benefits of feeling better about yourself, walking or cycling also offers very clear mental benefits that boost your mood and give you a feeling of well-being. Walking or cycling also provide opportunities for deep thinking, leading to new ideas and creativity.
It is cheap. Consider gasoline, parking, and car maintenance versus the cost of walking or biking to work. You may need to invest in a new pair of shoes or a better bike, but after that you will have minimal additional costs.
It’s funny. Driving is often stressful (or boring at best), while biking or walking is always an adventure. It is heartwarming to know that you are helping yourself to live longer, healthier lives.
Certainly not! If you live too far away or there is no safe and attractive route to take, perhaps use a hybrid approach where you drive or carpool most of the time, then walk or cycle last. kilometer.
Curious about how to get started in active transportation? The Commuter menu in the U of A’s Office for Sustainability can help! The Commuter Menu is a personalized, door-to-door quantitative analysis of the transportation options available to campus commuters. Travel time, distance, financial costs, calories burned, and greenhouse gas emissions are all calculated, then the best overall transportation choice is recommended with a link to a personalized map.
“For a personalized assessment of your trip, we invite you to complete a shuttle menu; this service is now available to all U of A affiliates,” said Ammen Jordan, the active transportation coordinator of the U of A. “And, pre-made menus for popular apartment complexes can also be found on our website. Check it out.”
The Office for Sustainability launched this service in 2019, and at first every commuter menu was made to order and took a long time. In collaboration with Associate Professor Matthew Patitz of the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta, the system has been completely redesigned to automatically calculate travel information and send the results via email.
“Serving as a software project developer for this new suburban menu has been a rewarding experience. Bringing the project as close as possible to the vision of Office for Sustainability has been exciting and inspiring. The project allowed me to practice concepts like system design, stack development, encoding, file management and concurrency and bundle it all into a neat package that allows for easy use and modifications. futures, ”said Ronald Velasquez, BSCmp.E. “We are looking to continually improve this service and encourage user feedback. “
The Office for Sustainability goal is for 75 percent of campus commuters to use some form of alternative transportation (not driving alone) by 2025. The 2020 Mode Share Survey showed that 57 percent of campus commuters have chosen alternative modes, while 43 percent drive alone. The 2021 survey is ongoing, and all State University students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate in the survey and help inform decisions about campus transportation systems. The survey is available here.
About the Office of Sustainable Development: The mission of the Office for Sustainability (OFS) at the University of Arkansas is to motivate, facilitate and coordinate responsible practices through partnerships with students, faculty and staff from all departments on campus. OFS uses the campus as a living laboratory overseeing the implementation of the University of Arkansas environmental goals.