Commuting Data Entry Guidance (2020)

Given the very different commuting patterns in 2020 due to Covid, we are providing guidance for commuting data entry and we have made updates to commuting data entry in SIMAP. As always, please contact us at with any specific questions. We also welcome any suggestions you have for improving commuting data entry in the future.


Entering your commuting data for 2020

Please use the following guidelines to enter your commuting data for 2020:

- Enter multiple entries as needed to reflect different commuting patterns in different time periods.

For example, you could have one data entry for student commuters for 7/1/19 - 3/31/20, and a separate data entry for student commuters for 4/1/20 - 6/30/20. This will allow you to reflect changes in commuting patterns if your campus shifted to remote learning during 2020. 

- If entering multiple data points by commuter, be sure that the number of weeks is correct for that time period.

An accurate entry for the number of weeks is key because SIMAP uses that when calculating commuting emissions. Be sure that the number of weeks you enter reflects the weeks in the designated date range. For example, the calculation for student commuter automobile emissions is:

Student commuter automobile = # of commuters * one-way trips per commuter per week * commuting weeks per date range * % of trips by automobile * vehicle miles / trip * emissions factor

Commuting data entry.jpg

Note: This data is for demonstration purposes. Please make changes that are appropriate for your specific campus. 

What about telecommuting?

We are not adding telecommuting as a commuting mode in SIMAP this spring. However, we will be adding it in the future as an additional mode as part of a broader update to commuting data entry (see below for more information). In the meantime, you can continue to exclude telecommuters from your footprint inventory. 

Please note that although telecommuting is not yet in SIMAP, telecommuting does have a footprint. For example, telecommuting requires off-campus electricity and heating usage. Our preliminary research suggests that telecommuting requires 1 - 3 kWh per telecommuter per work day, which results in US average CO2 emissions of 100 to 350 kg CO2 per telecommuter per year. If you are interested in incorporating telecommuting into your current inventory, please contact us at for more information on our preliminary telecommuting emissions factors.

Stay tuned for more!

Updates to SIMAP to help make commuting data entry easier

We removed some of the restrictions on commuting data entry to make it easier to enter unique data sets. Specifically, we made the following two changes:

  • It is now possible to enter multiple data entries by commuting type by date range (e.g., two entries for student commuters for a given time period)
  • The commuting modes no longer need to total 100%

Additional tips for commuting data entry

Be sure to avoid double-counting emissions from commuters with your fleet vehicles. For example, many campuses run their own bus service, and the emissions from those buses would be reflected in scope 1 direct transportation. If this is the case for your campus, then be sure to remove public bus commuting by university-owned buses from your scope 3 commuting data entry to avoid double-counting those emissions.

The new commuting report, which can be found on the reports tab, provides all of your commuting information in one place. This can be helpful for reviewing your full commuting data set and tracking changes over time.

Partial screenshot of the commuting report:

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Coming soon: More guidance and commuting dates from the Commuting Working Group

The Commuting Working Group, co-facilitated by Second Nature and SIMAP, has been working hard to develop recommendations and materials to help with accurate and easier commuting data collection and entry. Specifically, the commuting working group has been working on:

  • A proposed survey that you can customize and use for your campus
  • Updated data entry options to encourage more consistent and comparable reporting
  • Guidance for calculating commuting electric vehicle emissions

Please note that your current commuting data entry will continue to be sufficient for calculating your commuting footprint! These updates aim to make commuting footprints more transparent and consistent. We hope to release this functionality later in 2021. Please contact us at with any questions.