Sample Commute Plans

Your commute can be more flexible than ever. The sample commute stories below illustrate how you can create an individual commute routine that mixes driving, biking, carpooling and taking transit. Use these to inspire you to try different methods of commuting, then use the checklists as guides to getting started.

Faculty and staff commutes

Bike and Transit Commute

Sally lives a few miles from the university in Hyattsville and has decided to rethink her ride and use sustainable transportation when she returns to campus. Using the Smart Commute Trip Planner, she realizes she can take the Shuttle-UM 113 Hyattsville bus or bike along the Rhode Island Trolley Trail. Sally wants to do both. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Sally has meetings and wants a less active commute, so she takes the 113 Hyattsville bus to campus. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she bikes to campus along the Rhode Island Trolley Trail. This way, she can also pick up some groceries at the Riverdale Park Farmers Market on Thursday evenings. On Fridays she teleworks or when needed, takes the bus to campus. 

Bike and Drive Commute

John wants an active commute, but his familial responsibilities mean that three days a week he picks up his kids from school. With the new flexible 3-day permit, John drives to campus on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays when he has to pick up his kids. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, John bikes from Mt. Rainier along the Northwest Branch Trail. John signed up for the Bicycle Commuter Incentive Program, so on these days he is able to shower on campus before he arrives at his office and to lock his bike in a secure location.


Alex hates driving to work everyday, but they don’t live close to transit options and are too far for a comfortable bike commute. After looking at the Smart Commute Trip Planner, Alex decides that carpool is their best option. Alex used the Smart Commute Trip Planner to find a carpool partner and together they signed up for a Carpool permit, which gave them 50 percent off their individual annual permits. Alex and their carpool partner decided to carpool Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Alex teleworks and their carpool partner drives to work alone. On Thursdays, Alex’s carpool partner teleworks and Alex drives to work alone. Sometimes, they run into days when their schedules don’t mesh. On these days, they each use a daily permit they received with their carpool permit to drive to campus separately. 

Drive and Transit Commute

Eleanor lives in Columbia and likes to take the Shuttle-UM 142 Columbia Park and Ride bus. However, her work schedule week to week can sometimes involve coming in earlier or staying later than what works for the bus schedule. Eleanor purchased a 2-day parking permit, allowing her to drive to campus on the days when the bus schedule and her schedule don’t mesh. She loves the cost savings as well as the relaxation that comes from not having to drive herself through traffic five days a week. 

Transit and Carpool Commute

Tim, Jane and Fred formed a carpool after using the Smart Commute Trip Planner. After signing up for the Carpool permit, which gave them 50 percent off their annual parking permits, they worked out their carpooling schedule. Four days a week, their schedules match up well and they can carpool easily. However, once a week, Jane’s schedule means she can’t carpool with Tim and Fred. On those days, Jane takes the WMATA C2 bus from where she lives in Greenbelt. By enrolling in pre-tax transit benefit deductions, Jane was able to save on her overall transit costs.

Student commutes

Resident Student

Max is a freshman resident student living on North Campus ready to explore everything campus and the local area has to offer. To get to his classes, he walks or bikes. In the evenings when he visits friends on South Campus, he takes the 122 Green bus. When he needs groceries or something from the mall, he takes the 133 Grocery Shopping Shuttle that runs on Saturdays. Max also signed up for a Zipcar membership, so when he and his friends decided to take a day trip to Annapolis, they were able to rent one of the Zipcars kept on campus. 

commuter student

Bike and Transit Commute

Sam is a junior living off campus in Berwyn Heights and commuting to campus. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Sam’s classes don’t start until 10 a.m. so he takes the Shuttle-UM 143 Greenbelt bus to campus. The last 143 Greenbelt bus leaves campus in the evenings, so he has time to meet up with friends or campus groups after class. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sam bikes to campus through his neighborhood and uses the Anacostia Tributary Trail System to connect to campus. When it’s raining on his evening commute, he brings his bike back with him on the Shuttle-UM bus.

Driving Commute

Alice is commuting to campus this semester and living at home. She doesn’t live near a good transit connection and her schedule can be hectic. After considering all her options, she decided to drive. She first purchased her annual parking permit since she’ll be driving during the fall and spring semester. She then used the campus map to locate her assigned parking lot and see how far it is from her classes. As she plans her commute, Alice factors in more than drive time so she has time to park and walk to her class. Alice also makes sure to read emails from so she is aware of anything that affects her parking. 

Driving and Carpool Commute

While planning his commute to campus, Chris knew didn’t want to drive himself everyday but public transportation wasn’t an option. Using the Smart Commute Trip Planner, Chris found another UMD student who lived nearby who was interested in carpooling to campus. Chris and his carpool partner signed up for the Carpool permit, which gave them each 50 percent off their parking permit. For the occasional days their schedules don’t line up, they are able to use a daily permit, so they may drive to and park on campus separately.