By Caroline Hemphill

In November, Transportation and Parking Services welcomed Eve Sanford as the new manager of the Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP. 

TAP is a program under Transportation and Parking Services at UCSB with the goal of getting more people to commute sustainably- whether that means biking, walking, taking the bus, carpooling or using any of the many options TAP offers. Every person has unique transportation needs, and TAP has an option for almost everyone.

Transportation is the single largest source of CO2 in California. That’s one reason why Sanford is drawn to working in transportation. Helping people commute more sustainably will increase quality of life and help decrease UCSB’s emissions.

As TAP Manager, Sanford makes sure that all transportation programs, from buses to vanpools, run smoothly. Sanford also works on the Zipcar car share program, the EV charging infrastructure, and with local transit agencies on buses to campus.

Sanford has had a personal investment in sustainable transportation and urban planning since she was in high school. She would take the bus or bike to school in her hometown. Without the proper infrastructure in the city, these modes of transportation were inaccessible and challenging to use.

“That practice opened my eyes to city design,” Sanford said. It got her thinking about how city design affects people’s lives. She read about urban planning courses at Cal Poly Pomona and had a realization. “This is what I’ve been thinking about for the past two years,” she recalls thinking as an eighteen-year-old student. 

Since then, Sanford has worked extensively in urban planning, community outreach, and bike and transportation infrastructure. As a student, she worked with the LA Department of Transportation’s bike program, planning bike infrastructure and running a bike blog. She also worked for the Santa Barbara bike coalition as a planning and policy coordinator, where she found opportunities to make walking and biking safer and more accessible. 

Throughout her career, she has been involved in outreach, acknowledging that accessible and sustainable transportation is a benefit to cities and neighborhoods. This community focus was especially clear working at SBBIKE where she helped community members advocate for safer bike infrastructure and bike share throughout the county. Sanford looks forward to continuing her community involvement as TAP Manager at UCSB. For her, this is an exciting opportunity to serve the UCSB community and help people get to work sustainably. 

In her first year at UCSB, Sanford is in a learning and outreach mindset. As she familiarizes herself with the campus, she wants to get the word out about all the resources and options available at UCSB. Sanford brings a strong community outreach and organizing background to the position, and plans to use it to partner with the organizations and people on campus who are making change. “You can’t grow something on your own,” she said. Partnerships will be a key part of continuing to raise public transport usage and TAP enrollment. 

Sanford is passionate about all of the resources TAP has to offer, like commuter buses. “You can reclaim an hour and a half of your day that you would otherwise spend driving, which is really significant,” Sanford said of the program. Sustainable modes of transportation can be beneficial not only to the environment, but to quality of life. Using transportation like buses or bikes can be a more enjoyable commute than being stuck behind the wheel. 

Encouraging biking is another significant intervention that can be taken to decrease emissions. Increasing bike infrastructure, accessibility, and awareness of options like E-bikes will be important to get people biking. UCSB has a great legacy with biking, and Sanford hopes to continue and expand it as walkable and bikeable infrastructure is being pushed across California. Making biking accessible has been a large part of her career and personal life.

Sanford has found UCSB to be a welcoming and friendly place. She feels that people are kind and passionate about their work. She appreciates that UCSB’s sustainability goals are ambitious, and thinks the University is well situated to implement them quickly and effectively. One of the biggest opportunities for reducing emissions will be how the UCSB supports neary and on-campus, affordable, housing for students, staff and faculty- one of the biggest determinants of how you travel is how far an employee has to travel. Sanford is looking to make a big impact in helping to reach those goals.

While Sanford and TAP work toward increasing awareness of transportation options, there are things individuals can do to make their transportation more sustainable too. Sanford suggests examining your travel patterns and finding opportunities to shift to more sustainable modes. This can be done little by little- biking once a week is better than not biking at all. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing,” Sanford said. 

“People’s lives are really impacted by their transportation options,” Sanford said. “It’s important to think about how as a state and as a university we can support commuting more sustainably.”