The rest of Los Angeles may seem as congested as ever, but traffic at UCLA is the lightest it's ever been since the university began measuring more than 20 years ago.
"Vehicle counts are lower now than they were in 1990, when the cordon count first began," according to UCLA Transportation's newly released State of the Commute annual report, which tracks all vehicles driving into and out of campus. The reduced traffic represents the success of UCLA Transportation's focus on lowering the number of drive-alone commuters at UCLA to lighten traffic and reduce air pollution.
UCLA Transportation offers incentives to encourage UCLA's approximately 41,000 students and 26,000 employees to use alternative transportation, including a 50 percent subsidy for transit passes, discounted parking for carpoolers and a partially subsidized vanpool. The department also offers a variety of other benefits through the Bruin Commuter Club, which is open to all alternative-mode commuters, from bikers and walkers to bus-riders and carpoolers.
"The number of UCLA commuters taking public transit has more than doubled since 2000," said Renée Fortier, executive director of UCLA Events & Transportation. "This is largely due to the popularity of our department subsidizing at least 50 percent toward a UCLA student or employee's purchase of a transit pass for any of the service providers coming to campus."
UCLA is approaching its goal of convincing half of its employees to switch to alternative transit, and only 52.9 percent currently drive to work alone, compared with nearly 72 percent of Los Angeles County drivers. Only 25 percent of students drive alone.
UCLA's 50 percent goal is part of the campus's Climate Action Plan and a focus of the department's Transportation Demand Management program.
The 2011 commuting report marks the eighth consecutive year that UCLA's vehicle count dropped. With an average of 102,000 trips daily, the number of vehicle trips into and out of UCLA in 2011 was more than 3 percent lower than in 2010 and almost 20 percent lower than the campus's peak in 2003.