The Education for Sustainable Living Program ran an informational booth throughout last summer's round of Freshman Orientations. Picture from www.eslp-la.com.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about being a stakeholder for the 2010 Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team (START), which is comprised of four students working with UCLA Transportation on bike and ped issues for the winter and spring quarter.

START is an Action Research Team under the Education for Sustainable Living Program, which is organized by and for UCLA students. Over the past few years, ARTs have helped initiate major sustainability-related projects and policy changes around UCLA through their research on topics like waste diversion, energy use, recycling, and water consumption.

START’s primary objective is to improve sustainable transportation options for students, I’m also hoping that they’ll learn about bicycle planning and engineering as well as how to draw on their scholarly knowledge and field work experience to effectively advocate for sustainability-related causes.

The 2010 START includes these students:

  • Elizabeth H., 2nd year, Political Science and Global Studies and Environmental Systems and Society Minor
  • Nina G., 2nd year, Political Science and Environmental Systems and Society Minor
  • Ray M., 2nd year, Pre-Business Economics Major with Accounting & Environmental Systems and Society Minor
  • Anand M., 2nd year, Political Science

START will be guest-blogging about their two-quarter long experience here at Be A Green Commuter.

By Nina Gupta ‘12

This year, [an ART team] will be focusing on sustainable transportation in and around the UCLA area. The group, comprised of five enthusiastic students, is aiming to increase awareness regarding the various means and methods of transportation in UCLA, as well as in the surrounding Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, and Great Los Angeles areas.

In order to accomplish these goals, the group will be undertaking various tasks aimed at directly combating problems with sustainability and awareness about alternative means of transportation at UCLA.  START (The Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team) will aid UCLA Transportation in a completing a variety of tasks, from identifying potential bike paths on campus, pinpointing problems with bicycle safety, as well as statistically analyzing the number of bikers and pedestrians who commute to campus through a Cordon Count in order to determine feasibility for the implementation of projects by the UCLA Transportation.

Tchotkes from the 2009 Bike to Campus Week. Picture by Brent Pantell/UCLA Transportation

The culmination of the project will be a school-wide “Bike to Campus Week.” START aims to hold the program in coordination with the John Wooden Center Bike Week and hopes to gain the aid of the Office of Residential Life in order to increase knowledge about transportation alternatives in the UCLA area. The week will promote sustainable mediums of transportation, advocate bicycle safety, as well as introduce the goals of the Transportation Department to the members of the student body.

Staff from the Campus Bike Shop inside UCLA Recreation's Outdoor Activities Center provide on-the-spot repairs during Bike To Campus Week. Picture by Brent Pantell/UCLA Transportation.

START hopes that the program will increase awareness around the campus about sustainable transportation and increase the number of students who walk/bike to campus rather than use “dirty” mediums of transportation.

This week, in coordination with biketastic.com and UCLA Transportation, START will be covering the campus, identifying the location of bike racks as well as their structure and usage rates at peak times during the day. After gathering the information and consolidating it into a database, START and UCLA Transportation will be able to revamp the school’s bike maps and analyze the usage rates in order to gain a better understanding of the number of bikers in the UCLA area.

The START team is excited to combine their efforts with that of UCLA Transportation and hopes to promote an increase in sustainability with regards to transportation in an effort to make UCLA a greener, more environmental friendly leader in the Los Angeles area.