Employee Drive Alone Rate Hits 10-Year Low

More Duke faculty, staff utilizing sustainable transportation options

In the 10 years since Duke first tracked the statistic, faculty and staff commuting alone to work is at an all-time low.

A recent survey conducted by Parking and Transportation Services shows that 71 percent of employees who completed the survey are driving by themselves to work, down from 85 percent in 2004. The reduction in single occupancy vehicles has been an important step for Duke, as faculty and staff transportation play a pivotal role in Duke's commitment to become climate neutral by 2024.

"We're encouraged to see that people are interested in using new modes of transportation and shifting their behavior," said Alison Carpenter, manager of Duke's transportation demand management program. "It reflects the work we're trying to do by introducing and informing people about all their commuting options."

As fewer employees drive alone to work, Duke has seen an uptick in the percentage of employees using an alternative commute during the same 10-year span:

  • Use of local and regional buses is up 5 percent, from 3 to 8 percent.
  • Bicycling to campus is up 3 percent, from 2 to 5 percent.
  • Walking to Duke is up 2 percent, from 2 to 4 percent.

In addition, the percentage of employees telecommuting has increased from 1 to 4 percent from 2004 to 2014.

One of the most consistently popular alternative commutes is carpooling, which 7 percent of employees use, according to survey results. Along with cutting down carbon emissions, it can also offer big savings.

Nancy Mace, grants and contracts administrator at the Division of Hematology, estimates she saves about $135 a month on gas and parking permit costs by carpooling with her sister from southern Granville County. Mace started vanpooling with other Duke employees in 2008 and switched to carpooling a year later.

"I used to use the money to pay for my son's car insurance," Mace said. "Saving that money means a lot because now it goes toward the family fund for groceries or some spending money for a vacation."

Duke faculty and staff can save money and cut down on their emissions by using alternative transportation options offered through Parking and Transportation Services. A full list of options and the benefits that come with them is available on the Parking and Transportation Services website.