Ask the Expert (Sustainable Transportation)

Can garages advance our sustainability goals?

Campus parking and transportation programs provide a vital but oft-underappreciated service. Cornell and Arizona State University are among the schools leveraging their parking and transportation programs to support campus sustainability goals while enhancing the performance of their operations.

Cornell, for example, has taken advantage of the Green Parking Council’s recently launched Green Garage Certification program to both promote and distinguish its transportation sustainability programs. Cornell’s Forest Home Garage’s LED lighting, strategies for reducing vehicle idling, bike parking programs, building systems commissioning and campus-wide parking and demand management plan helped it achieve the first university Green Garage Certification.

For interested managers, Cornell’s senior director of Transportation, Bridgette Brady, suggests looking for low-hanging fruit as a start. “For an existing structure with a limited capital budget,” she advises, “you can add recycling, bicycle parking, interpretive signs about sustainability and greening your garage, and wayfinding to multi-modal stops, carshare and bikeshare.”

“Adding bike parking to an existing garage can be easy and economical,“ adds Arizona State University’s assistant director, Commuter Services, JC Porter. “At ASU we were able to take an underutilized space in a garage and add bike racks and a card access area to create a bike-only parking that can be accessed by registered bike owners.” Additionally, ASU’s solar canopies increase rooftop parking utilization while producing green power for the university.

Increasing the performance of our campus operations while consuming fewer resources is the challenge and opportunity no matter where we find ourselves. Even the humble parking garage can pitch in. As our cars get smarter and we get smarter, our garages will too. Keep up with the developing story at

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Paul Wessel is executive director of the Green Parking Council (

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