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A survey of transportation at
Richard Stockton College of NJ


Crystal Wessel, Patrick Hannan, James
Hornbach & Megan Kelly
ENVL 4305: Environmental Issues Lab
Dr. Daniel Moscovici

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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily produced from human sources, noticeably influence
global climate change. Carbon dioxide is the most significant GHG, making up 77% of greenhouse gases,
57% of which are created by burning fossil fuels (IPCC, 2007). The past ten years have shown a 2 ppmv
increase in CO2 each year, and in 2012 levels were 40% higher than in the mid 1800’s (International
Energy Agency, 2013). Approximately 8.2% of human-produced emissions are from road transportation
sources (Lulié et al., 2013). Although transportation doesn’t produce the highest amount of emissions it is
still significant; efforts to reduce emissions will help to delay effects on climate change.
The use of personal automobiles have increased drastically through policies that have allowed
extensive freeways, low gas taxes, and free parking to meet vehicle demands (Taylor and Fink, 2002).
Another contributing factor would include college students who chose to live off-campus and commute to
school due to convenience. The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey is comprised of 7,539 students,
64% of which live off-campus (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, 2014). Stockton has signed the
American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which aims to lower net
greenhouse gas emissions by the college, however little has been done to achieve this goal. Currently
commuting is the second largest source of emissions, generating 10,570.49 metric tons of CO2 per year
(ACUPCC Reporting System, 2014). In an attempt to help Stockton reach the ACUPCC goals, a study
was conducted on the transportation habits of students, faculty, and staff. The survey consisted of
questions on Stockton’s ability to minimize personal vehicle use, resulting in less GHG emissions.
The survey’s sample size consisted of 103 individuals who were examined based on their
transportation habits including modes of transportation, distance traveled, and their vehicle’s fuel
economy (Appendix A). It also incorporated questions about how important reducing greenhouse gases is
to each individual, and what alternative transportation methods they feel would be most effective in
reducing personal vehicle use. Surveys were conducted both in-person and online, and only respondents
who had never taken a similar survey were counted.

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the people surveyed, 82.2% live off-campus, and the
majority commute to school by driving alone (Chart 2;
Chart 3). The data revealed that 30% of the commuters
live locally in Absecon, NJ. Most commuters do not use
alternative transportation because of convenience,
followed by a lack of infrastructure and mass transit
routes (Chart 4). The survey also gave respondents the
opportunity to voice which transportation programs they would most like to see implemented on campus,
which resulting in a majority of them requesting an improved class scheduling system (Chart 5). The
average distance traveled is 17.1 miles, with vehicles getting an average fuel mileage of 24 miles per
gallon. Assuming that these individuals commute alone five days a week, the commuters surveyed are
consuming an average of 8870 gallons of fuel annually. Stockton Students spend an annual average of
$25,669.78, based on gas prices being $2.894 (EIA, 2014). According to the survey, a majority of
commuters are students that live off-campus and commute alone in their personal vehicle.
As well as contributing to climate change, motor vehicles are a major cause of air pollution,
which is becoming an issue in many large cities (Aziz et al., 2013). The amount of pollutants are
influenced by factors such as vehicle type, speed, and congestion (Ilić et al., 2014). Higher congestion
leads to longer commute times, directly increasing emissions. An effective way to reduce congestion
would be carpooling—the process of creating informal carpools by meeting in park-and-ride lots and
joining a car that is headed to a certain location. Also, the use of HOV lanes can encourage carpooling by
providing toll-free roadways to drivers with more than one occupant (Badger, 2011). It is estimated that
casual carpooling in one city could conserve 0.45 – 0.9 million gallons of fuel and $30 million per year
(Minett and Pearce, 2011).
Chart 5 indicates which programs respondents would most like to see put in place. Improved class
scheduling may make it easier for students to carpool with each other according to similar class times.

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Parking at Stockton is limited, and reserving parking
spots for carpoolers would minimize parking issues.
However, it may be difficult to regularly monitor which
students actually carpooling. Some colleges have
eliminated student parking altogether, though this would
not be a viable option for Stockton, it is fairly remote
which makes mass transit and walking difficult (Roff,
2003). Since many commuters are local, focusing on
bike lanes and mass transit routes in the surrounding
area may have a positive impact (Figure 1). At the
University of Western Australia, surveys indicated that
of students that live within 5 miles of the school, 36.6%
believed they could cycle to school, but only 10.3%
actually did (Shannon et al., 2006). If bike lanes were
installed on major roads in the immediate area, this could

Figure 1: Distribution of Commuting Students to
Stockton's Main Campus

greatly increase the number of cyclists. A substantial amount of people commute from the barrier island
areas such as Ventnor, Margate, and Atlantic City. It would be beneficial for Stockton to create a shuttle
loop running every 45 minutes that makes one stop in each of these locations. Shuttle loops could be put
into place for locations such as Egg Harbor Township, Ocean City, and Upper and Middle Township, but
these could run less frequently. Before implementing any new shuttle routes, surveys should be conducted
among students regarding where students are coming from and how many would be willing to use the
proposed shuttles. To ensure all students are considered, it may be possible for Stockton to require
students take the survey before registering for classes. None of the students surveyed use the train that
runs from Atlantic City to Philadelphia, likely because there is no way for them to get to school from the
station. If Stockton were to run a shuttle from the school to the Absecon station, this may boost ridership.
One way to increase revenue to fund other environmental projects at Stockton is to charge a student a
certain amount per semester credit hour, like done at Florida State University (TRB, 2008). Introduction
of Unlimited Access is another option to increase ridership on public transit. This is a program in which
the school pays bulk pricing to NJ Transit for each student enrolled in the school. Pricing from
universities that were studied ranged from $5 to $90, but the average was around $24 and could be
incorporated in student fees (Grant, 2008). Reducing Stockton’s carbon footprint seems to be important to
many people, but doing so requires the effort and cooperation of all parties. The school can provide

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shuttle services, carpooler parking, and bike lanes, but it will be the responsibility of students and staff to
actually use these alternatives to create a more sustainable school.

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Appendix A
Transportation data collected from a sample size of 103 students, faculty, and staff.

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Appendix B
GIS map demonstrating Stockton student concentrations from municipalities they are traveling from.

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Appendix C

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Charts demonstrating commuter responses to transportation survey questions.