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Ohio State administrator recognized for leadership in alternative fuel use

Beth Snoke, director of Transportation and Traffic Management at Ohio State, speaks at an event announcing OSU's building of a compressed natural gas fueling station. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State.

Beth Snoke, director of Transportation and Traffic Management at Ohio State, speaks at an event announcing OSU’s building of a compressed natural gas fueling station. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State.

Beth Snoke, director of Transportation and Traffic Management at Ohio State, was recently honored with the inaugural Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association’s inaugural President’s Award to recognize her leadership in alternative-fuel adoption.

The award was given for Snoke’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of transportation at OSU through projects including the development of a compressed natural-gas fueling station, the transition to a fleet of primarily CNG- and electric-powered campus vehicles, and the introduction of a campus bike-sharing program.

“(The goal) is to reduce the carbon footprint of the university’s fleet by 25 percent by 2025,” Snoke said.

Snoke was nominated by the board of MEMA’s Ohio branch. The group works to promote environmentally responsible, safe and efficient public services, with chapters in Ohio and California.

Kelly Reagan, chairman of MEMA-OH, said the board wanted to establish an award that would recognize an individual or organization that has contributed to the vehicle industry in the past year and has had an impact on practices, new technologies and innovations within their organizations in the Midwest.

Reagan said Snoke was more than qualified for the award.

“We feel she has worked very hard in regards to sustainability, and we wanted to recognize her for everything that she’s done,” Reagan said.

One of the most notable steps Snoke took toward alternative fuel adoption is the compressed natural-gas fueling station.

Transportation and Traffic Management broke ground on a CNG fueling station in July, intended to serve university and city of Columbus vehicles. The university operates four CABS buses that are fueled by compressed natural gas, which currently use a city of Columbus CNG station. There are six more CNG buses on order by the university. The station is set to be completed in early 2017.

Snoke said that when other university vehicles need to be replaced in coming years, they will be replaced with either CNG or electric vehicles. The only vehicles that the university will not be able to replace are the charter buses used to transport athletes and other groups across the country, because the CNG infrastructure across the country is not in place for reliable fueling.

The university also has a partnership with the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, a public-sector transit agency serving Stark County, Ohio. SARTA recently received a grant for hydrogen fuel cell buses, and has allowed OSU to operate one these buses. Engineering students have the opportunity to study the bus at the OSU Center for Automotive Research.

The award also was given for the bike-share program introduced at OSU last year. There are 15 stations across campus and 115 bikes available to encourage alternative means of transportation.

“Sustainability is important to the university and it’s important to us as we move forward,” Snoke said. “These efforts demonstrate our commitment to reducing transportation’s impact on the environment and also highlight the university’s continued efforts to advance sustainability across campus.”

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