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Environmental Science and Policy
Sustainable transportation has increased in importance as ever-increasing scientific evidence suggests human activity is negatively impacting the planet. Global warming and air pollution, scientifically linked to automobile use, have become common topics in environmental circles as well in general public discourse. As a fragment of society and a leader among the private liberal arts colleges in the United States, Smith College has a unique responsibility and opportunity to examine its transportation practices and continue to lead, as they have in so many other fields, as environmental stewards. In order to asses the current status of sustainable transportation at Smith College and potential changes in practice, data regarding current communing patterns, faculty and staff interests, costs of maintaining parking areas, and the number of student vehicles were gathered from various College offices and departments. The results demonstrate a significant need to alter current practice in order to promote sustainable transportation. Faculty and staff parking decals are below the real cost of maintaining parking areas, little incentive is provided for faculty and staff to utilize alternative transportation, and student vehicles vastly outnumber parking spaces available on campus, creating tensions between city residents and the College. While the College may not currently operate under a sustainable transportation model, economic alternatives are available to alter the system and provide viable alternatives to faculty, staff, and students. In the short-term, actions to promote sustainable transportation will require some capital, but in the longterm fuel, labor, and emissions savings will offset these costs. Smith College is at a unique juncture in its transportation policy and has the option to make economical alternative transportation choices to promote sustainable transportation both within the College community and in a broader social context as a leader in the academic realm.
© 2003 Jenica Ansanitis
Ansanitis, Jenica, "Sustainable Transportation Options for Smith College" (2003). Capstone, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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