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The automobile is far from the most sustainable mode of transportation, but there are many ways to make it more sustainable. The reality is: people drive cars, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. What it really comes down to:  is how you drive and how well you take care of your car. UMD is taking many steps to encourage students, staff, and faculty to practice sustainable choices when behind the wheel. In addition, UMD itself is taking action to reduce its carbon footprint from the use of motor vehicles.

Parking and Carpooling at UMD

UMD Parking Services is offering innovative options to students which allow them to save money, while reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Commuting students, staff, and faculty are now able to purchase a parking pass (white pass) that is valid only in the outer-periphery parking lots for a reduced price compared to maroon passes. By not driving into the center of campus, congestion is reduced and therefore tailpipe emissions are reduced. In addition to this, there is also an incentive for carpooling in the pay lot. For each individual in the vehicle in addition to the driver, the driver receives one stamp on his or her carpool card. A full card of ten stamps is then redeemable for one free entry into the pay lot.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

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UMD Parking Services now offers electric vehicle charging free of charge. With space for two cars to charge simultaneously, EV drivers can now top-off their batteries while studying or working on campus. The charging station is located at the end of the metered parking spaces between Parking Lot B and the Darland Administration Building, and is equipped with one 240V charger and one 120V charger. Anybody can use the charger, including students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Currently, there is no fee for electricity used for charging. Charge time and parking at the charger are limited to four hours. To check the availability of the charging station, visit

Thanks go to UMD Parking and Facilities Management for their support on this project.  The station from ChargePoint was received for no cost through a grant request submitted by UMD Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability.

Green Your Drive

There are many steps one can take to make driving more efficient and sustainable without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new hybrid or electric vehicle. It is less about what one drives, and more how it is driven. Keep the following tips in mind to help green your drive. While the environment is important, remember that safety is also a part of sustainability and to always follow road traffic laws.

UMD is taking many actions in order to make operations regarding motor vehicles more sustainable on campus. In 2007, the UMD Business Office fleet added its first hybrid, and now consists solely of hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles. In addition to this, Facilities Management (FM) and Grounds have been making sustainability a top priority. Whenever a vehicle is replaced, it is evaluated to ensure it is the ‘right size.’ By doing so, UMD has downsized many unnecessarily large vehicles to smaller, more fuel-efficient models. FM and Grounds also have many electric utility carts that can travel around campus sans tailpipe emissions. Many vehicles owned by UMD are now equipped with low rolling resistance tires, which further improve fuel efficiency. In-house maintenance of vehicles also has sustainability integrated with everything from petroleum free cleaners to micro-hybrid electric hoists that regenerate electricity when a vehicle is lowered.  Lastly, an Idling Reduction Policy was adopted by FM in December 2013.