Emission and Efficiency Improvements for Duke's Transportation System


Fall 2017 - Spring 2018


In the United States, the transportation sector accounts for approximately 1/3 of energy consumption and 1/3 of total CO2 emissions. In fiscal year 2017, the Duke University GHG footprint was 258,582 metric tons of CO2e, 27% from transportation-related sources, 52% of these further originating from employee commuting. In support of its Climate Action Plan, the university set a goal to reduce the employee single occupancy vehicle (SOV) commute rate from the 2013 baseline of 73% to a rate of 68% in 2018, but increased headcount and average employee commute distance have made attaining this goal difficult. The goal of this project was to consider underlying factors influencing commuter mode choice, to identify hurdles to adoption of alternative modes of transit, and to develop recommendations for innovative solutions for helping to reach the university’s climate goals. This analysis first assessed the current employee commuting behavior and metrics used to quantify GHG impact. In doing so, it also considered limitations of our current infrastructure and practices and identified institutional improvements needed to support effective transportation planning. The project then considered potential short-term programs for implementation and provided a sensitivity analysis of the GHG impact, dependent on employee participation in such programs. Finally, it provided next steps for piloting the recommended programs at Duke and projections for achieving short and long-term emissions goals.




Michael Denoia


Timothy Johnson, Jason Elliott


Parking and Transportation, Sustainable Duke

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Air & Climate, Campus Engagement, employee commuting, GHG emissions, Transportation