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Improving Mobility Options

Most Caltech community members usually get to and from campus without driving alone, and many programs exist to help commuters reduce the environmental footprint of their transportation.

Caltech offers parking discounts, free Metro passes, guaranteed rides home, and other substantial perks for walking, biking, taking trains and buses, and using Caltech's private rideshare program and app.

Employees who choose these alternatives are far more satisfied with their commutes than those who drive alone. In 2021, as many Caltech community members transitioned back to campus from telecommuting, people found themselves back in single-occupant vehicle commutes five days a week. Their low rates of employee satisfaction were telling. Caltech learned excellent lessons about the importance of flexible commuting to employee satisfaction and work-life balance, and recently has focused on including commuter incentives in the overall employee benefits package.

2021 Commuter Breakdown

  • 43% walk or bike
  • 40% drive alone
  • 9% take a train or bus or carpool
  • 8% telecommute

In 2021, long-term commuting trends continued to improve sustainability overall. The number of campus occupants per vehicle rose to 1.86, from 1.60 in 2019. For staff specifically, the number of commuters driving alone decreased from 72 percent in 2019 to 65 percent in 2021. Caltech supported 101 carpools and four vanpools, slightly fewer than before the pandemic.

Hundreds of staff members continued to work remotely in 2021, and Caltech developed a discounted parking program for people who work from home one to four days per week that enables them to pay for parking only on the days they drive to campus, at a discounted rate, rather than purchase an annual pass. This program may indirectly help to reduce the number of times staff members drive alone.

The pandemic has kept Caltech from implementing much of its 2019 Mobility Plan. The strategy is expected to effectively address some persistent commuting challenges.

Caltech staff and students can receive free and discounted passes for Metro trains and other public transportation. The A line Metro light rail train, which connects Asuza to Long Beach, traveling through Pasadena and Los Angeles Union Station, is pictured top of page.