New commuter survey shows cars are alternative transportation for students and staff at PSU
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: January 28, 2011


Roads Rails Trails from Portland State University on Vimeo.

Three in four students and employees at Oregon’s largest university commute to campus without a car, making Portland State University (PSU) a national leader in alternative transportation.

A new transportation survey shows that significantly more students, faculty, and staff are choosing to take public transit, walk, bike, and carpool to campus than 10 years ago. The most popular way to get to PSU is by bus, MAX train, and Portland Streetcar, which together accounted for 44 percent of trips to campus by staff and faculty and 40 percent by students in fall 2010.
“When you look at these numbers, it’s not alternative transportation for us anymore,” said Ian Stude, PSU’s transportation options manager. “Portland is known as a bicycle-friendly city, and likewise we have one of the best transit systems in the nation. Both of those networks are well connected to the university by design, creating some really attractive and convenient options other than driving.” 

The fastest growing way to get to campus is by bicycle. Last fall, 12 percent of trips were made by bike, up from 3 percent for students and 5 percent for employees in 2000. Students and employees driving alone made about one quarter of the trips to campus last fall, about half as many as 10 years ago. 

PSU, an urban university located in downtown, is taking a lead in promoting alternatives to cars by offering:
More than 2,000 bicycle parking spots, including indoor spots in two new bike garages;
A new on-campus bike repair shop called the PSU Bike Hub; 
Portland’s first Cycle Track, an enhanced bike lane through campus; 
Discounted student and employee transit passes; and
The new MAX Green Line train to PSU, making the campus a hub for light-rail trains, streetcars, and multiple bus lines.

In addition, PSU’s Center for Transportation Studies in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs is a leader in multidisciplinary transportation research and education. Faculty and students are breaking new ground in transportation research areas such as electronic vehicles, bicycles, transit, land use, finance, and planning. 

PSU distributed the electronic survey about transportation choices and perceptions to all 5,000 employees and a random sample of 8,000 of its 30,000 students. The survey was completed by 960 employees and 1,109 students. Survey respondents were asked to recall the transportation mode used to travel the greatest distance to PSU each day of the previous week.

Go to to see “Roads Rails Trails,” a new video about how students get to campus. 

Fall 2010 Transportation Survey Results

Student trips
Transit: 40 percent 
Drove alone: 22 percent
Walked: 17 percent
Bicycled: 12 percent
Other: 5 percent 
Carpooled: 3 percent

Faculty & Staff trips
Transit: 44 percent 
Drove alone: 25 percent
Bicycled: 12 percent
Walked: 8 percent
Carpooled: 6 percent
Other: 5 percent