Improving your sports facilities’ infrastructure to promote walking and bicycling can be a relatively inexpensive, small-scale change that supports ecologically preferable transportation.
By improving pedestrian and bicycle access to your sports facilities for students, staff, fans and other visitors, your sports departments and institution can help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, particularly on game days. This benefits the environment as well as the health of your campus community. Bicycling also helps keep students, staff and fans healthier through exercise.
Identify and contact any staff on your campus who might help incentivize biking and walking to your sports facilities, including helping to provide the necessary infrastructure. The departments with knowledgeable staff may include the Transportation, Facilities, and the Sustainability Office, among others.
TIPS TO PROMOTE BICYCLING AND WALKING:
- Provide secure and conveniently located bicycle racks for students and other fans travelling to your sports venues, and provide free, convenient, and secure bicycle racks for employees.
- Provide safe pedestrian walkways to your sports facilities from nearby transit options.
- Explain bicycling options in staff orientation.
- Provide shower facilities and lockers for employees.
- Prominently display, feature on your athletics and recreation websites, and distribute pedestrian and bike maps in staff rooms and for all of your sports facilities.
- Offer incentives for fans who walk or bike to your sports venues on game days, and for staff who walk or bike to athletics or recreation buildings.
- Encourage staff cycling groups and events to promote department-wide biking.
- Arrange discounts at local bicycling shops for ticket-holders and staff.
- Consider hosting a “pop up bike repair service” alongside your bicycle racks on game days at your major sports stadiums or arenas. Recruit students (with a small payment, free merchandise or other incentive) or staff from local bicycling shops (in exchange for free publicity) to provide this service.
- Disseminate information concerning bike routes and bicycle-friendly public transportation connections and feature all environmentally preferable transit information on your athletics and recreation website and on internal websites, email blasts or staff newsletters.
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Promoting environmentally preferable transportation options throughout athletics and recreation can help your institution earn up to 7 points within the “Transportation” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
The transportation sector is one of the main sources of smog, carbon monoxide, global warming, and harmful particles that can cause respiratory illnesses and other health problems. Bicycling or walking helps reduce all of these impacts, saves money, and is a healthy way to travel.
COLLEGIATE SPORTS EXAMPLES
In 2010, the Washington State University recreation department launched a “Green Bike” bicycle rental program with a fleet of 40 bicycles after first piloting the idea during 2009 with five bikes. The goal was to help reduce car use, decrease traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions, improve student health through physical exercise, and increase awareness of sustainable methods of transportation. In the first year and a half of this program, 585 people used the bikes, checking them out 2,800 times and traveling a total of 12,000 miles. In 2012, students voted to continue to fund the program by approving a student fee for automated checkout stations and for the purchase of another 40 bikes. Since September of 2010, the automated Green Bikes have been checked out over 43,000 times and has had over 10,000 unique users. This has saved approximately 23.7 metric tons of carbon emissions relative to the use of passenger cars.
In 2008, the University of Oregon hosted the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field, then did so again in 2012. Anticipating more than 220,000 athletes, media members and spectators, the event team created a multifaceted transportation plan. It introduced the first bicycle and skateboard valet service at an Olympic competition (servicing 4,575 bikes) and partnered with the Lane Transit District to provide all ticketholders and credentialed volunteers with free local bus transportation. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.
An example of interdepartmental collaboration on sports greening at the University of California, Los Angeles is the Community Bike Shop, launched jointly by the UCLA transportation and recreation departments. The Bike Shop, which is promoting an ecologically preferable form of transport, offers self-service bike repair stations as well as bike rentals, loaner bikes, and bike-sharing programs. To learn more, read the full feature in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.
The University of Washington’s LEED Silver Husky Stadium is integrating resource-efficient features with multi-use design that ensures the building will be used year-round. One of the keys to the success was reaching out past the edge of the stadium, working with the university and local transit authorities to design a bike parking system that accommodates day to day use as well as expanding to accommodate game day use. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.
AASHE: Resources on Sustainable Campus Transportation
The University of Vermont: Certification for Sustainability Transportation
Bicycling Alliance – Ways to Promote Bicycling
Federal Highway Department – Bicycle and Pedestrian Program