Four Options for Greener Travel

Four Options for Greener Travel

By Jessica Hersh-BalleringParking and Transportation Services
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Jessica Hersh-Ballering
Jessica Hersh-Ballering

A little more than half of employee trips to the UA are made in vehicles carrying just one person. While these trips may be necessary at times, they are much more expensive than trips by any other mode, as well as more damaging to the environment. And they provide little benefit for physical and mental health.

In contrast, more than 12 percent of employee trips to the UA are made by bike, more than 5 percent are made by bus or streetcar, and nearly 5 percent are made on foot, according to a 2016 employee survey.

Below are some tips to make your commute cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly. But if changing your commute isn't an option, you'll also find information on getting around campus and traveling to off-campus meetings without using your personal vehicle.


We offer park-and-ride permits, which allow employees to park in lots off campus and then take a Cat Tran shuttle or Sun Tran bus to the UA. This reduces traffic in the arterial streets of campus and allows employees a chance to let someone else do the driving for them. Park-and-ride permits are one of the most cost-effective parking options.

The UA has five park-and-ride lots – one downtown, two near North Mountain Avenue and East Fort Lowell Street, one near East Broadway Boulevard and South Plumer Avenue, and a new one near the Tucson Mall, located across from the Tohono Tadai Transit Center.

Permits for the campus-area park-and-ride lots are $100. All of the lots are serviced by the free Cat Tran shuttle.

Permits for the lot near Tucson Mall cost $250 and include a U-Pass that can be used to take a Sun Tran bus to campus. There are two buses that have stops on the east and west sides of campus and both come every 15 minutes. You can use your time on the bus to get a head start on work.

See the lot locations here.

Cat Tran  

The Cat Tran is a free on-campus shuttle service. From Gould-Simpson to the Cancer Center, the University Services Building to Roy P. Drachman Hall, hop on an air-conditioned shuttle to get you there. Do you need to go to the USA building? Our Blue Cat Tran will take you straight there from Old Main. Visit the PTS website for more information.

The Cat Tran can be tracked in real time with the TransLoc Ride app or the University of Arizona Mobile app. Avoid long waits at a Cat Tran stop by checking the app for the next shuttle's arrival time.


A departmental Zipcar account can encourage employees to commute to work by alternative transportation. Employees who usually bike or take the bus often end up having to drive to work on days when they have meetings off campus. With a departmental Zipcar account, employees can count on easy access to a vehicle to attend off-campus meetings while still commuting to campus in the healthy, cost-effective way they prefer.

No need to worry about insurance or gas. Just pay for the hours you use the vehicle.

Tucson Transit

If you need to get across Tucson, try the Sun Tran bus system or the Sun Link modern streetcar.

Employees who work at least half-time are eligible for semester and annual U-Pass transit passes, which offer unlimited rides on Sun Tran buses and the Sun Link street car. Employees pay only 50 percent of the total cost of the passes. Parking and Transportation Services pays the rest.

Departments also can purchase day passes for transit at a reduced cost. Distribute these passes to employees as needed to attend meetings and appointments across Tucson. Contact Parking and Transportation's customer relations office to purchase day passes at 626-7275.

If you have any questions about transportation options for your department or how to incorporate alternative modes into your commute, please reach out to me at

Jessica Hersh-Ballering is the alternative transportation manager at Parking and Transportation Services.

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