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Tufts wins Pinnacle Award for second consecutive year

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013

Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013 15:04


Tufts received a Pinnacle Award for excellence in transportation sustainability options at the Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards ceremony at Fenway Park last Thursday.

This is Tufts’ second consecutive year receiving the Pinnacle Award, the highest level of recognition awarded at the ceremony, according to the Office of Sustainability (OOS) website. 

The award was given through a collaboration of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), MassCommute, the Massachusetts Coalition of Transportation Management Associations and MassRIDES, a state-run travel options program, according to Becca Cyr, the MassRIDES Communications Coordinator.

“Basically, it’s a group of awards that recognize MassRIDES and MassCommute partners across the state for their efforts in transportation management and providing sustainable transportation options,” Cyr told the Daily.

The awards ceremony was held to encourage collaboration on transportation options among various employers, according to Ari Ofsevit, the MassRIDES Worksite Outreach Coordinator.

“When we get everyone in one place, we get to talk about what different companies do and it’s a good way for companies and colleges to find out what their peers are doing,” Ofsevit said.

Companies, organizations and universities that are members of MassCommute or MassRIDES can self-nominate for the awards based on three levels of criteria, according to MassCommute’s Executive Director David Kurcharsky. He explained that there were 130 nominees for the various awards, with 46 receiving the Pinnacle Award, meeting specific criteria for the lower level Pacesetter and Leader Awards as well.

Additional recognition was given through five Spotlight Awards for organizations that demonstrated leadership in incorporating sustainable transportation options, according to the MassRIDES website.

Fannie Koa, the Communications and Outreach Specialist at OOS, identified the specific transportation options that Tufts provides that enabled it to receive the award. These options include employee access to shuttle services like the Joey, providing showers, lockers and bicycle maintenance supplies for employees, subsidizing employee membership in a car-sharing program and providing discount parking for carpools.

“We are committed to getting people to be green commuters,” Koa said. “We’ve been doing more and more every year and hopefully now that Betsy Byrum [the new OOS Education and Outreach Coordinator], is here, we’ll be able to do more outreach for employees.”

Kurcharsky emphasized the importance of sustainable commuting options and explained the significant role they can play in the overall health of the Tufts community.

“Tufts is in a pretty dense area, and by allowing [employees] different ways to commute to and from the area, I think it improves health overall and quality of life in the area by lowering vehicle miles traveled by single occupant vehicles,” Kurcharsky said. “It really shows that there’s an understanding of how Tufts is part of the greater community in recognizing the importance of transportation sustainability.”

The university will continue to seek improved transportation sustainability and additional commuter options, according to Koa.

Tufts is currently working on adding electric vehicle charging stations, Koa said.

“Hopefully next year we’ll have an even better list of things we’ve done in the past and will be able to get one of the Spotlight Awards.”

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