UCLA Transportation’s Bruin Commuter Transit Benefit program earned the Commuting Options in Public Transit award at the Association for Commuter Transportation’s 2018 International Conference.

More than 80 nominations were received in 15 categories for this year’s annual awards, which recognize and honor outstanding achievements in transportation demand management.

“Enhancing mobility to and from campus is a priority for our department. Shifting commuters out of their cars is accomplished through convenient and cost-effective alternative transportation programs,” said David Karwaski, senior associate director of planning, policy and traffic systems at UCLA.

The Bruin Commuter Transit Benefit program provides eligible employees and students new to public transportation with a free transit pass that covers unlimited rides on Metro, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Culver CityBus. Almost 1,600 commuters opted out of a parking permit to take advantage of the program since it launched last summer.

While transit ridership has been declining in Los Angeles County — 2017 was the lowest level in more than a decade — transit use has grown at UCLA. The Bruin Commuter Transit Benefit program increased UCLA’s overall transit ridership by 5 percent, exceeding the department’s goal of a 3 percent increase. Cutting down on drive-alone commuting reduces traffic to campus and improves air quality.