The SmartCommute Challenge, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency, has presented UNC’s public safety department and the University with a regional Super Achiever Award for efforts to promote commuting by bus, carpool, vanpool and other alternatives to the one-car, one-person mode.
In addition, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. re-accredited the department after its review of public safety over the past three years. Previously accredited in 1995, 2000 and 2003, the department had to meet 446 law enforcement standards to earn the recognition.
Four major law enforcement membership associations – the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Executive Research Forum – established the commission as an independent accrediting authority in 1979.
Besides SmartCommute, the area organizations Best Workplaces for Commuters and Triangle Air Awareness recently presented three Super Achiever Awards at a Kick-Gas Celebration in the Research Triangle Park. UNC won in the public sector category.
The three were chosen from among 156 Triangle agencies noted for promoting commuting alternatives. Nationally, 72 college and universities were among 1,500 firms and organizations that EPA designated as Best Workplaces for Commuters in 2006.
Earlier this year, the University negotiated a contract with the Triangle Transit Authority that enables UNC students and employees to travel to and from campus on TTA buses with the University compensating TTA for their fares.
The University partnered with Chapel Hill and Carrboro to make the Chapel Hill Transit system fare free to all riders effective January 2002. The towns and UNC also operate outlying park-ride lots.
This year, almost half of all students and employees commuted via alternatives to the single-occupancy vehicle, according to SmartCommute, doubling participation in the SmartCommute Challenge Program from 2005. SmartCommute estimated that UNC’s initiatives annually cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 7,000 metric tons, saving commuters more than $2 million in gas costs each year.