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Sustainability in Transportation


Ecologically Designed Parking Lots

WKU Parking and Transportation Services and Planning, Design and Construction Department incorporated sustainable features into parking lot designs at WKU to reduce stormwater run-off, the heat island effect, and energy consumption.

In 2009, the Chestnut Street North Lot underwent a complete renovation. In the new design, greenspace was expanded, which reduced the surface area of asphalt from 1.3 acres to 1.1 acres. Permeable concrete was utilized in the lowest section of the parking lot. These two features have reduced stormwater run-off from this parking lot by 47%.

mimosa lot permeable graphic
The Mimosa parking lot, with reflective coating and permeable pavement. How permeable pavement works.


Also in 2009, the Adams Street and University Boulevard parking lots also got makeovers, using rain gardens with native plants and permeable concrete to reduce stormwater runoff. In 2010, the Mimosa and Minton Lots were improved, with use of pervious concrete to reduce stormwater run-off and reflective coating to reduce the “heat island” effect. These improvements contributed to the LEED Gold status of Gary Ransdell Hall.

The structural parking lots have been improved too. PS1 and PS2 are more energy efficient with new high efficiency fluorescent, LED, and fiber optic lighting systems installed in 2010 as part of WKU’s Energy Savings Performance Contract. The new lighting has reduced the electrical usage of these lots by 54%, saving 802,575 kWh annually. The project has improved safety while using far less energy.

               Parking Structure Lighting  Parking Structure 2 Lighting
Lighting in Parking Structure 1 Lighting in Parking Structure 2


Alternative Transportation Options

At WKU going car-free is becoming easy. A variety of transit services are provided for the WKU community.
For complete information visit Parking and Transportation Service's "Car Free" webpage. 

Topper Transit

WKU Topper Transit has a fleet of 11 buses providing on and off campus transportation services for Western Kentucky University.  On-campus service is free to all students, faculty, staff and visitors. The three fixed routes (White Line, Red Line, Blue Line) move passengers from point to point around campus. Off-campus service (Shopping Shuttle/Green Line) is used to transport passenger to and from area shopping/recreation/housing centers. Para-transit service is provided for disabled passengers and requires an ADA boarding pass, which is available at the PTS office at no charge. Shuttle services are also available for special university events. Complete information, including routes and schedules, is available here.

GObg Public Transit

The City of Bowling Green offers public transit service to its citizens as GObg. The GObg routes extend to the WKU campus with several popular stops. The new purple line includes transportation to area supermarkets and local apartment complexes. Unlimited ride bus passes, for a full semester, are available at the PTS office for only $10.00. 
For more information on GObg Public Transit, visit their website


Ridesharing with AlterNetRides

WKU has partnered with AlterNetRides to provide free ride matching services. Users can arrange single trips, such as a ride home for the weekend, or repeating trips, like commuting to work or school. Visit Parking and Transportation's AlterNetRides page to find a carpool, and their "Car Free" page to find carpool ettiquette, carpooling safety tips and carpooling general tips.


Big Red Bikes

The Big Red Bikes bicycle lending program refurbishes abandoned or donated bicycles for loan to students, faculty and staff at no cost. In 2007 GreenToppers started the program to promote bicycle use and awareness at WKU. Big Red Bikes remains a student-run program, and is managed by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with Parking and Transportation Services. Parking and Transportation Services provides the bikes, and funding support for a student bike mechanic to refurbish and maintain the bikes. The program is so popular that it is often a challenge to meet demand! For more information, visit the Big Red Bike webpage and for more information on biking in Bowling Green, visit Parking and Transportation Services biking webpage.

Big Red Bikes logo

Sustainable Parking Eco Facts

Reduce Storm Water Run Off

Efforts to reduce storm water run-off also reduce the amount of oils and other contaminants that wash off the parking lots and into our streams. By reducing surface water run-off, we also reduce the amount of erosion that occurs in urban streams created by the volume and speed of run-off.

Design features which reduce storm water run-off include: permeable concrete (water infiltrates concrete and is stored below the parking lot until it seeps into the groundwater), landscaping islands (which reduce impermeable surface area), rain gardens (landscaped areas which collect rain water and feature native plants).

Reduce Heat Island Effect

Heat island effect is caused by asphalt absorbing heat of the sun during the day and releasing it at night. In urban areas, heat island effect changes micro-climates. In large urban areas, it actually changes weather patterns. To reduce the heat island effect, a highly reflective coating is applied to the asphalt. The coating reflects the sun and heat energy so that it is not absorbed by the asphalt.

Reduce Energy Consumption

High efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting systems reduce energy use in parking lots. During periods of low campus occupancy, such as winter and spring break, and over the summer, unused parking areas can be closed and lighting turned off or reduced to safety levels.



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 Last Modified 12/7/18