sustainablespu

Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese


Ride Sharing: Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and others–are they good for the environment?


Through marketing (mostly radio ads and Facebook) and my friends, I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Lyft and Uber. Sidecar isn’t as popular here in Seattle, but it still got my attention while researching ridesharing applications. Former sustainability assistant and blogger extrodinaireTim wrote a post about Lyft two years ago when they first started becoming popular here in Seattle, and since then there has been a bit of controversy about the legality and regulation about these kind of application based vehicle services (dubbed Transportation Network Companies by the city). Although these services were legalized in Seattle about a year ago, there are still concerns about insurance and potential conflict between statewide and local legislation.

Image Credit: Jeff Blucher, Flickr

Image Credit: Jeff Blucher, Flickr

As a car owner, I know how bad traffic can be, especially during rush hour. I also know that I contribute to traffic, and I feel especially guilty when I’m driving a short distance I could be walking, or when I’m the only one in my car. With all the hype I’ve heard lately, I wanted to know more and know if the companies are helping to alleviate the use of personal vehicles for single occupants.

Photo Credit Rob Barrett, NY Times, 2008

Image Credit: Rob Barrett, NY Times, 2008

After reading a number of articles, I found some on the basics of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) and others relating to the politics and the environmental factors. These articles all helped me to better understand about the issues at hand.

What’s legal here in Seattle and what was all the controversy about?

The current regulations on TNCs were passed in July of 2014 and include:

  • Licensing and insurance requirements for drivers in the networks (there are specific requirements, but all listed pretty generally in news articles).
  • Removal of the cap on the number of drivers for each TNC, so there can be many drivers from Uber, Lyft, or other companies.
  • The creation of an Accessibility fund, which charges 10 cents per ride in vehicles not equipped for wheelchairs in order to create a wheelchair accessible taxi service.
  • Changes made to benefit taxis and for-hire drivers. The City will increase the number of taxi licenses they issue over the next four years, and for-hire drivers are now allowed to pick up passengers that hail them on the street instead of being restricted to arrange-in-advance rides only.Ridesharelogos

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Urban vs. Rural Living


Urban-and-RuralYou’re walking amidst a sea of other people. Lights from the buildings above line the sky. All kinds of sounds are reaching your ears from every angle, each of them representing an action or movement of human life. You close your eyes. Now you are in the middle of a field, making your way towards a barn in the distance. On the other side of the trees to your right, you can hear the ocean, water rushing in and dissolving in the sand. Maybe a cow moos somewhere. Now snap back to wherever you are at the present moment. In which setting did you feel most alive? Both in different ways, perhaps? Continue reading


Student Commuter Survey Results


A big thank you to all of the students who filled out our Student Commute Survey! With the information you have provided, we are able to see how Seattle Pacific University can better aid student transportation needs.

That being said, the time has come to unveil our results!

The most popular transportation method that students reported was driving in a car alone, even though 52.8% of undergraduate students live within two miles of campus. Continue reading


Reasons to Continue Biking to Work


tumblr_mn4lme6F2z1s0c08no1_500As Bike to Work Month ends, we’d like to congratulation every one who participated and biked to work in May! Whether you biked every day, or just tried it once, your contribution is appreciated.

But now that the month is almost up, we want to encourage you new bikers to keep commuting. Though we’ve covered a lot of reasons why biking is awesome, here are just a few last-minute notes to inspire Monday’s commute: Continue reading