Lehman College Sustainability


The automobile has had a profound influence in shaping American society. Much can be said about the environmental impact of automobile manufacturing, including its use of resources, and many of the manufacturing processes themselves: automobiles’ consumption of fossil fuels and environmental impact of the fossil fuels industries; hazardous materials necessary for proper operation of the automobile (concentrated acid and lead in the battery, antifreeze, motor oil, heavy metals throughout); the large swathes of land paved over to accommodate driving; and end-of-service-life issues for automobiles and their components.

The automobile has long been identified as a major contributor to air pollution. Air in New York City is cleaner than ever, but still falls short of some federally-established limits. Automobiles generate combustion products such as hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, carbon monoxide, and respirable particulates into the air. Hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen form smog and ozone, potent respiratory irritants, in the presence of sunlight. These pollutants have an impact on the health of New Yorkers. Certain areas in New York have elevated rates of asthma and lung diseases among children and adults.

Public transportation in the campus neighborhood has expanded within the past decade; bus lines have been added that serve the neighborhood, including Westchester County buses. In order to promote alternates to driving to campus, Lehman College will seek ways to incentivize the use of public transportation by faculty, staff, and students commuting to campus. Lehman College will purchase electric vehicles and non-motorized vehicles for maintenance worker transportation within campus. Lehman College is the host of the annual Alternative Vehicle Symposium.

Results of the 2010 CUNY survey on commuting can be found here.


  • The Automobile in American Life and Society. University of Michigan, Dearborn, Benson Ford Research Center. Accessed at: http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/
  • How Land Use and Transportation Systems Impact Public Health: A literature review of the relationship between physical activity and built form. Frank, L.D., Engelke, P. ACES Active Community Environment Initiative Working Paper #1. Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/pdf/aces-workingpaper1.pdf

Last modified: Jul 28, 2016

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