Many major car manufacturers are pledging to go all electric within the next decades. This is fantastic news! This means, at least in theory, that electric vehicles will increasingly be more commonplace, affordable and accessible; the roads will also be free of noise pollution and transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. Despite its many advantages, electric cars do not solve (and even contribute to) certain aspects of transportation problems, such as traffic congestion, shortage of parking spaces. Luckily, it does not have to.
There is no one-size-fits-all mode of transport. Solving transportation problems must be a combination of solutions adapted to the appropriate situation. An all-electric F-150 Lightning is perfect for a field technician, but would not be unsuitable for a 20-year old commuting to school. It’s simply a waste of energy to drive 2 tons of aluminum and lithium for 5 minutes to class. In the same way, trains are very eco-friendly, but building a railway system in a town of 10,000 would make no economic sense. Hence, when considering eco-friendly, alternative transportation, it is important to pick one that best fits your situation and need. For short distances (e.g. getting to class on River Campus), there are plenty of alternative, green transportation that you should absolutely give a try!
Starting with bicycles, they are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of green transportation. The benefits of cycling for both personal health and the environment are countless: enhanced heart health, joint mobility, enhanced mental health, cardiovascular fitness, noise pollution-free, carbon-free… Biking is the perfect way to go around campus, a quick trip to College Town or the public market. The addition of new bike lanes by the City of Rochester makes it an even more enticing option for errands in Monroe county.
When your commute includes steep gradients, biking isn’t very fun. Fortunately, electric-assisted bicycles are now widely available. They magically flatten hills, conserve your energy and make long rides possible without breaking a sweat. Investing in an electric bike can be a financial burden for college students; thankfully, the University’s Department of Transportation and Parking Management recently partnered with HOPR, a bike sharing program with a fleet of electric and traditional bicycles. This is a great option to experience the benefits of an e-bike without a huge upfront investment.
Scooters are an excellent and convenient way to get from your dorm to class. For longer trips, electric ones might be more fitting. The service HOPR also offers electric scooters which share docking stations with their bicycles.
Skateboards are a very popular mode of transportation which double as a recreation for those who are into tricks! Other alternatives include hoverboard, Onewheel®, … and the list goes on!
Whichever one you end up using, be sure to make safety a top priority by wearing helmets and riding responsibly.
Do you have a favorite alternative vehicle? Let us know on Instagram!
Written by Kelly Jean, Class of 2022