University of Calgary

Commuter challenge



mintz on c-trainWhat moves you?

By Grady Semmens

When renowned public policy expert Jack Mintz moved to Calgary from Toronto in January, he and his wife were wondering how many vehicles they would need. They ended up settling in a home in the Kensington area and deciding they would share one vehicle, partly because they want to lower their ecological footprint, and partly because Mintz enjoys taking public transit to work at the U of C.

“I take the C-Train to work every day,” says Mintz, director of the university’s new School of Policy Studies and holder of the Palmer Chair in Public Policy. “There’s no traffic or parking to worry about, I can read on my way to work.”

Riding the train comes naturally to Mintz, who says he used to commute by subway in his former role as president of the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto. Six months living in New York last year also convinced him that owning a vehicle is not mandatory in a big city.

“We had no car in New York and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I’m quite happy to avoid driving as much as possible.”

In this year’s edition of the Canadian Commuter Challenge, all U of C faculty and staff will be able to try taking public transit to work free of charge one day during the week of June 1-7. U of C Parking Services will provide two free transit tickets to the first 500 people who register for the challenge at and inquire about the tickets at the Campus Ticket Centre.

The U of C is aiming to at least double the number of participants in this year’s event from the 208 who took part last year by carpooling, telecommuting, cycling, walking or taking transit instead of driving to campus alone. The Commuter Challenge is a nation-wide event to encourage sustainable transportation in communities across Canada by pitting individuals, corporations and non-profit groups against each other in a friendly commuter competition.

This year’s event will also involve prizes and a series of lunch-and-learn events on environmentally-friendly commuting options. Visit the U of C’s Sustainability Office website for more information about Commuter Challenge events on campus: