Projects - Transportation

Add your project to the list

The Green Line:  Metro Transit's Newest Light Rail System

The Green Line, a Light Rail line that connects downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, is the newest addition to Metro Transit’s Twin Cities public transportation fleet. This installment of the Green Line had a budget of $957 million, and trains will cover its 11 mile span in 40 minutes, stopping at 23 stations along the way (18 of which are new, five of which are shared with the existing Blue Line). As part of an effort to increase the availability of mass transit options in key areas of the Twin Cities, Green Line trains will run every 10 minutes throughout the day, and every 30-60 minutes throughout the night.  Green Line Schedule

Metro Transit’s Light Rail lines, such as the Green Line, are intended to provide an easier and more comfortable experience for riders while offering long-term cost and energy efficient options for the community. Currently, Light Rail trains, which run entirely on electricity, use one-third as much energy and emit half as much CO2 as buses and trucks per passenger mile. And though they use as much energy as cars per passenger mile, they still emit one-third less CO2. Additionally, nearly one-fifth of the energy used by Light Rail trains comes from renewable resources.

Though Light Rail lines have a high startup cost (the Green Line had a budget of $957 million), they will theoretically have lower running costs than other transit alternatives. This is achieved both by their reduced energy demands as well as by their high max ridership capacity. Each Light Rail train is made up of one to three cars, with each car bearing the capacity to seat 62 passengers and hold another 138 standing passengers, thus allowing a three-car train to carry up to 600 passengers. This is as compared to Metro Transit’s current fleet of buses, with regular buses able to seat 42 passengers and hybrid buses able to seat 35.

It is still important to note that both Light Rail trains and buses rarely run at their maximum capacity, instead fluctuating between a large ridership range that can be affected by the time of day, the transportation needs of the community, and major community events. Therefore, it will be impossible to know the exact effectiveness of the Light Rail until the first substantive statistics are gathered. Regardless, the increased passenger comfort and potential cost and energy savings make Metro Transit’s new Light Rail systems, such as the Green Line, a promising step towards a sustainable future.

In an effort to optimize efficiency, the implementation of the Green Line has resulted in changes for several existing bus lines, including the 16, 50, 63, 94, and the 144, all of which may be utilized by members of the Macalester community. Make sure to view this list of all of the changes to Metro Transit routes before planning your next trip.


Macalester College’s High Winds Fund originally paid for the HOURCAR Prius that started the HOURCAR hub next to campus. HOURCAR is a convenient, environmentally friendly Twin Cities car sharing program. Group memberships are available for Macalester departments.

Subsidized Bus Passes are available to all Macalester students, faculty, and staff at the Information Desk in the Campus Center. The program started as part of the Macalester’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Flexible Work Arrangements - Macalester supports flexible work arrangements in situations which will benefit the employee, the work unit or department, and the college. These arrangements, which may be flexible hours, compressed work weeks, job sharing, or telecommuting, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commuters. In July 2010, Macalester College worked with eWorkplace Minnesota to evaluate three departmental teleworking pilot projects. The survey results show that telework significantly increased productivity by offering a time free of office distractions to work on projects. Supervisors in the pilot project also noted a more streamlined work flow because telework days were scheduled.
Survey Results

MacBike and BikeShare

BikeShare is a free bike rental program organized by MacBike. Macalester students, staff, and faculty can rent a bike at the DeWitt Wallace Library with a valid Mac ID for up to 24 hours.

Note:  The BikeShare bikes have been stored for the winter; they will be available again before spring break.

High Winds Fund “Walk to Work” Program

The Fund provides financial assistance for staff who purchase houses within one mile from campus by offering “fix up” matching grants up to $3,000 for home improvement projects.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Macalester College has recently installed its second electric vehicle (EV) charging station, the Efacec QC50, just south of Olin-Rice.  As a Level 3, the Efacec QC50 is capable of fully charging an EV within an hour. This makes it an excellent addition to the first station installed on campus back in 2013, the Coulumb CT2021, a Level 2 located just north of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. 

Low-Emitting Vehicle and Carpool Priority Parking

This program, which incentivizes emissions cuts through smart transportation choices, is a part of the Leadership in Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) points for Markim Hall.

Walk to Work Day each spring with a coffee break and prizes for bicyclists and walkers. In 2008, Macalester won the workplace competition for our size organization and our award bike rack trophy stands outside Markim Hall. Bike/Walk to Work Coffee is sponsored by the Sustainability Office twice a month. Brian Longley keeps a listserv for alternative commuters.  

Metro Transit’s Guaranteed Ride Home Program

A free perk for commuters - With the Guaranteed Ride Home program, you won’t have to worry about being stuck somewhere without a ride. This free program provides you a way home in an emergency – for instance, if you have a family issue or need to work unexpected hours. The program is open to commuters who bicycle and/or ride the bus or train, carpool, vanpool or walk at least three days a week to work or school. Once you register, you’ll receive two coupons every six months. Use the coupons for cab fare reimbursement (up to $25) or for emergency bus or train fare.


Take the Amtrak train and you can reduce your travel-related greenhouse gas emission emissions. If you are traveling to Chicago, consider the Amtrak train.
See the details about daily service from Minneapolis/St. Paul