The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC, Inc.) has secured $393,432 through a combination of cost-shared research agreements from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and two separate grants from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Job Access-Reverse Commute (JARC) program over the past two years to advance alternative transportation efforts on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and surrounding neighborhoods.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a 120-acre home including Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the University at Buffalo, and nearly 60 private sector companies. More than 12,000 people come to work at the medical campus every day, an increase from 8,500 in 2008. An additional two million square feet of clinical, research and development space has been added in the past few years, with another two million square feet (and 5,000 more employees) slated to come online in the next five years.
This rapid growth has encouraged the BNMC, Inc., the not-for-profit charged with coordinating the sustainable planning, development, and enhancement of the growing urban campus, to get creative with the diverse ways they can encourage people to access the campus.
Some of these efforts include:
• Launching GO BNMC, a campus-wide movement to support smart commuting;
• Forming a transportation management association, a stakeholder group of both Medical Campus and community partners;
• Strengthening partnerships with Buffalo CarShare and BikeShare and GObike Buffalo;
• Conducting a mitigation study helping prioritize complete streets infrastructure projects around the medical campus to make the area more accessible by modes other than cars;
• Forging a continued relationship with the NFTA that has already resulted in route changes and additions to better serve the BNMC population; and
• Collaborating with other businesses and partners off of the Medical Campus, such as the Buffalo Sabres, to develop mutually beneficial transportation options.
• Increasing the number of neighborhood residents employed at BNMC institutions by better informing them of the career and training opportunities available on and around the Medical Campus.
“Creating an accessible destination, including ample parking, for the more than one million annual patients and visitors is our first priority,” according to Bill Smith, director of campus access. “To make this happen, we realized we have to reduce the number of employees driving by themselves to work. It starts with changing behaviors. We were extremely fortunate that NYSERDA came on as a partner early on in this process. They’ve really enabled us to get our initiative off the ground and find additional funding partners to expand our offerings, including the federally-funded Guaranteed Ride Home program we will launch next month.”
At the beginning of 2012, approximately 88 percent of the employees on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus drive to work by themselves. However, surveys have shown that about 75 percent of employees would consider ridesharing and taking public transit if a ride home was guaranteed in an emergency. Another 50 percent of employees said that financial incentives and rewards would help make a difference in changing their commuting behavior.