UW-Madison earns Best Universities for Commuters designation

Campus bus route 80 travels down Linden Drive as the sun sets.

UW-Madison has been recognized as one of the nation’s Best Universities for Commuters in 2021. The designation is given by Best Workplaces for Commuters, a program operated by the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

The UW campus community uses diverse transportation methods to commute to and from campus. A significant percentage of the campus population chooses alternative or active transportation methods, such as riding the bus or biking. According to UW Transportation Services’ biennial transportation modes survey, between 67 – 70% of UW employees, students, and UW Hospital and Clinics employees did not drive alone to campus in 2020, depending on weather.Logo for 2021 Best Universities for Commuters. In December 2021 UW-Madison earned a Best Universities for Commuters Designation from the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

UW-Madison offers multiple benefits to students and employees who use alternative or active transportation modes for their campus commutes. Some of these benefits include discounted bus passes, bike parking and storage, and park and ride shuttle service.

“UW-Madison is one of the top universities in the nation offering high-level commuter benefits to employees and students,” according to the Best Workplaces for Commuters. “These comprehensive benefits give commuters the support they need to get to and from campus and impact the campus climate in a positive way.”

Campuses recognized as Best Universities for Commuters must demonstrate at least one primary commute benefit, such as an Emergency Ride Home program, plus three supporting benefits, such as park and ride shuttles or carpool matching services. These benefits must result in at least 14% of the commuting population not driving alone to a worksite within a 12-month period.

“We are extremely proud that our progressive Commuter Solutions programming gives employees and students many alternatives to driving alone to campus,” said Patrick Kass, Associate Vice Chancellor, Transportation Services. “Our benefits also reduce traffic congestion and reduce harm to the environment.”

UW’s Best Universities for Commuters designation was supported by benefits such as:

  • Discounted bus passes. The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) and UW Transportation Services negotiate a reduced cost-per-ride with Madison Metro Transit for UW students and employees, reducing the cost from $2.00 to approximately $1.35 per ride.
  • Carpool benefits. Members of registered carpools receive six complimentary full-day parking permits per year and save money by sharing the cost of an annual parking permit.
  • Discounted BCycle membership. All UW students, employees, and affiliates are eligible for a reduced BCycle membership to access 300 electric bikes at 40+ stations throughout the city of Madison.
  • SAFEwalk is a free walking companionship service supporting nighttime safety for UW students, employees, and visitors walking on campus at night.
  • Emergency Ride Home. UW employees who carpool, vanpool, bus, bike, walk, or use a park and ride may use a voucher to cover the cost of a cab ride home in case of emergencies.

Learn more about services supporting multimodal campus commutes on the UW Transportation Services’ Commuter Solutions webpage.

This image shows several UW students walking and biking across a busy intersection on University Avenue on a fall day. The image shows how many members of the campus community use multiple forms of active transportation to get around on campus.
Pedestrians and students walk among the colors of the fall leaves along University Avenue at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on November 2, 2021. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

About Best Workplaces for Commuters

The Best Workplaces for Commuters Program launched in 2002 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled the Best Workplaces for Commuters List. In 2007 the National Center for Transportation Research (NCTR) at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) assumed program management for the Best Workplaces for Commuters program. The CUTR is a nationally recognized research institution that provides reliable transportation research to policymakers, transportation professionals, and the transportation system.

Learn more about the BWC program on the Best Workplaces for Commuters website.

Read about the Center for Urban Transportation Research.

About UW-Madison Transportation Services

UW Transportation Services is a department within Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) on the UW-Madison campus. The department’s mission is to provide innovative transportation solutions to serve and support UW Madison. Transportation Services is responsible for the coordination and administration of all transportation-related services for the UW campus community.