This case study examines the geographic variation in students’ low-carbon transportation (LCT) modes to a commuter university campus. Three major goals are accomplished from this research: (1) identifying commuting zones for the bicycling, walking, and transit mode choice for UNCG students; (2) understanding whether the real vs. perception of space can be predictive to mode choice; and (3) understanding the relative importance of demographic, psychological, and logistic factors on students’ mode choice, using a suite of variables developed in multiple fields. Our analyses support the assertion that various physical, demographic, and psychological dimensions influence LCT mode choice. While the presence of sidewalks is conducive to walking, the distance, either perceived or actual, within 1.61 km from UNCG is the most important factor for walking mode share. The bicycling commute is not associated with either the distance or presence of bicycle lanes, while transit ridership most likely increases if students live >8 km from the UNCG campus with the nearest bus stop within 1 km from home. Given the limited bicycle lanes in Greensboro, students who commute to campus by bicycle are resilient to unfavorable bicycle conditions by sharing the road with cars and adjusting their travel routes. Our findings also concur with previous studies showing that bicycle commuters are disproportionately represented by self-identified whites while bus riders are disproportionately comprised of self-identified non-whites. Our analyses support Greensboro’s current planning and policy emphasis on low-carbon travel behaviors via equitable and safe transit-oriented multi-modal infrastructures, and suggest that UNCG should utilize its influence to advocate and further facilitate these ongoing efforts.
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