This month, some 750 lucky members of the faculty and staff will be asked to identify their commute habits so the campus can report back to the regional air district on how well it is doing to meet clean-air goals.
Why does filling out yet another form make you lucky? Because if you do, you could win airline tickets for US travel (compliments of the campus Travel Management Program), a Sony cordless phone, a mountain bike, or a Newton computer, among other prizes.
The prizes are great but the benefit of the survey, which will go out to a randomly selected sample, is even greater, said Diane Sutch, project manager of Berkeley TRiP, the campus's center for commute alternatives.
The campus commuter survey is required by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District of 3,000 Bay Area companies that employ 100 or more workers.
Under the air district's rules, employers of that size must set up commute incentive programs to encourage their employees to get out of their single-occupant cars and into public transit and carpools, or to bike, walk, or telecommute to work.
Sutch said the University is well on its way to meeting the 1998 state-set goal for the downtown Oakland and Berkeley area. It calls for an average occupancy per vehicle of 1.5 people or 66 cars being used to commute for every 100 employees.
"The survey that will go out to employees this month is not intended to make people feel guilty, it's to get correct commute information," said Sutch.
"We think we are way ahead of the game. We've got a very good program," she said.
Unfortunately, added Sutch, if people who receive the survey do not return it, "it will have a negative impact on the results." And that could hurt the campus, because it won't accurately reflect what's happening here when the results are reported back to the air board, she said.
And since this survey is likely to be the first of several required by the air board over the next decade, Sutch said it is important that people understand its importance and the need to turn in the survey.
Earlier this year, the campus's commute alternative programs won an award from RIDES for Bay Area Commuters that found the campus one of the 100 best employers in the Bay Area promoting alternatives to driving alone.
A campus report based on data between 1985-90 showed a trend to more walkers, bike riders, carpoolers, and public transit users.
In 1990 just over 50 percent of the faculty and staff drove to work alone, a drop of 9 percent in five years. Meanwhile, 15 percent used public transit, 14 percent walked, 12 percent carpooled and 6.5 percent rode a bicycle.
For more information on incentives offered to encourage alternative commute options--including reduced transit tickets, car- and vanpooling and campus shuttle buses--call Berkeley TRiP at 643-7665 or Parking and Transportation at 642-4283.