Debby Freed claimed her post as the transportation demand management coordinator last week, with hopes of educating people about alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles.
The Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee created the position last year to address traffic congestion and parking shortages on campus.
"It's a reality that as we continue to grow and develop, we have to rely on public transit and such things as park and ride," DPS Director Derek Poarch said.
Poarch said Freed was the perfect candidate for the position considering her past with UNC and her experience with campus transit.
Freed grew up in Chapel Hill and earned her undergraduate degree from the University in 1988. After 13 years away, she is coming back to UNC from her post as transportation demand manager at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
"I found educating people very rewarding," Freed said about her position at Virginia Tech, where she created a car pool program and an incentive program to encourage walking, bicycling and busing. "People love their cars. That is one of the obstacles to overcome."
Steve Mouras, transportation director for Virginia Tech and Freed's former boss, said Freed is a bright, talented person and that she'll be an asset to UNC.
Mouras also said Freed's biggest challenge in the new post will be to wean people off their cars. "If I was a freshman and had a BMW, I wouldn't want to walk or bike or ride a smelly bus," Mouras said. "I want to be in my Bimmer."
Freed said she intends to jump right into her position, first assessing the traffic needs and problems specific to UNC.