Parking and Transportation: commitment to sustainability brings efficiencies to campus
Office of Media Relations
You might have heard about the widely publicized “Bendy Bus,” Clemson Area Transit’s (CAT) new articulated bus that’s the first of its kind in the state. With many of its parts made right here in South Carolina, this American-made vehicle has been widely lauded for its ability to carry 56 percent more riders than our current 40-foot buses, save an average of 18 percent on gas and reduce the congestion along the overcrowded Red Route, which runs between Clemson and Central. No doubt that the bus will contribute to efforts toward sustainability both on and off campus.
But CAT isn’t the only agency interested in sustainability. Clemson’s own Parking and Transportation Services team also has its eye turned toward sustainability and continues to introduce strategies to reduce the carbon footprint on campus.
“We’re charged with reducing demand for vehicles on campus,” said Dan Hofmann, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “The key to our success is improving the transit system. We need to provide more of a convenience to attract riders to buses.”
Toward that end, Hofmann and his team are researching the possible use of a special reduced-price parking placard where drivers can park in a special off-campus area and bike the rest of the way to work.
“We’re going to roll out a pilot program during Sustainability Week* where drivers can park at the Campus Beach and use their bikes after that. There is a bike lane that leads from the beach directly to campus,” Hofmann said. “As part of the program, we’ll distribute passes that drivers can use during inclement weather days.”
Along with reducing the carbon footprint, Parking and Transportation Services is charged with enhancing efficiencies in other areas that contribute to sustainability.
To further reduce carbon emissions, Clemson invested in LED lighting in R-4 parking lot near the Lightsey Bridge apartments. The lighting was fully installed in September and is already realizing some good savings.
The LEDs are controlled remotely, and officials are able to adjust the lighting levels as needed. In fact, during Spring Break, Hofmann’s team reduced the use of lighting from 29 to 13 units and ran the remaining units at 50 percent.
“Because students were off campus, we were able to customize our campus lighting to reduce usage,” said Kat Moreland, senior associate director of Parking and Transportation Services. “It’s the same concept as turning down the lights when you leave the room. You save energy and create efficiency.”
Parking and Transportation Services will continue its use of the lighting and will install LED lights at Sirrine Hall’s (E-4) parking lot as part of a summer paving project.
Wasting a lot of gas searching for an open parking meter? Try downloading the Parker app. Available for both iPhone and Android users, this app gives information on open parking spaces and offers drivers step-by-step directions on how to locate those spots. For safety, these directions are available with voice guidance. The app also shares profile information about each lot including parking space types, pricing and payment options.
“As part of a pilot program, we’ve contracted with Streetline, the makers of the Parker app, which is active in the Hendrix Student Center lot at this point,” said Hofmann. “But because of its success, we have plans to expand the Parker system to all metered spaces on campus.”
The parking meter that can communicate
Not too many people would look at a parking meter in awe. But new back-end technology has made parking meters more interesting, even…cool. Parking and Transportation Services has teamed with Parkeon, which offers the myParkfolio Web-based application to monitor campus parking meters.
Using a dashboard, myParkfolio gives Hofmann’s team real-time information on all parking meters. If they malfunction, are low on parking receipt paper, or need to be emptied, Hofmann’s team knows about it immediately and can perform targeted maintenance quicker and more efficiently.
“It used to take our team four hours per day to go to 125 meters three times each week,” explained Hofmann. “This new system helps us reduce emissions and lower labor costs. We’re using technology to enhance sustainability.”
An end result is smarter costs. Hofmann’s team knows that the more money you save, the more can be invested in other efficiencies. And through these efforts, energy is being saved and costs are being reduced toward the development and maintenance of a sustainable campus for faculty, staff, students and the community.
“It boils down to dollars and cents,” said Hofmann. “We’re the pass-through, so it’s incumbent upon us to be fiscal watchdogs and be good stewards of the University’s money.”
For more information about Parking and Transportation Services sustainability efforts, contact Dan Hofmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have an idea about a faculty or staff profile, contact Jackie Todd at email@example.com.
*Sustainability Week at Clemson is Feb. 18-22. Check out Sustainability Week events on the University calendar.