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Stanford Events and Peak-Hour Trips

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Why do peak-hour vehicle trips matter for Stanford events?

As part of Stanford University’s General Use Permit (GUP) (PDF) with the County of Santa Clara, Stanford has committed not to exceed the 2001 measured number of vehicles entering and exiting the university during peak periods over the life of the GUP.

The “peak commute period” is defined as the one-hour period of time with the highest volume of traffic. Peak times are arrivals between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and departures between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. It is very important that Stanford comply with the conditions of the GUP in order to avoid costly mitigation measures.

What can event planners do to help?

Every trip counts, including visitors attending events on campus. With the number of events—large and small—increasing at Stanford, event-related traffic is a growing concern. Further, since regional traffic congestion is worse during peak periods, your event may be a more pleasant experience if it is scheduled during off-peak hours, or if attendees are provided with alternatives to driving.

If you are planning events that will generate vehicle trips to and from Stanford’s main campus, please consider these steps you can take to help Stanford meet its commitment under the GUP.

  • Avoid scheduling events that will generate vehicles entering or exiting campus during peak times. (Peak times are arrivals between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and departures between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.)
  • If you must schedule events that impact peak trips, consider these options:
    • Offer receptions or optional activities before or after the official event start and end times to help stagger the volume of cars generated by your event.
    • Work with Parking & Transportation Services to explore alternative transportation or charter bus options.
    • Have event attendees pay their own parking fee rather than offer free parking at Stanford. Refer to the Galvez Lot Parking Guidelines (PDF) for details regarding payment options.

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Resources from Parking & Transportation Services

Airport transportation

Those flying to the area for events may be interested in learning about their public transit options to Stanford from the three regional metropolitan airports: San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. Additionally, several airport shuttle options are available, or a Stanford Charter Service can be arranged for airport transportation for large groups.

Charter Services

Reserve a charter bus or vehicle to offer comfortable, convenient transportation for your event attendees. Stanford Charter Services offers charter buses or other vehicles (ranging in capacity from 9 to 55 passengers) at below-market rates.

Event planners can arrange for charter buses to stop at different hotels or locations on or off campus. A two to four hour minimum reservation time applies, depending on the time of week and the type of vehicle reserved. All charter drivers are professional, courteous, and familiar with the Stanford campus.

Marguerite shuttles

Stanford’s free Marguerite shuttle system provides service around campus, and to select off-campus locations including downtown Palo Alto, the San Antonio Shopping Center, and downtown Menlo Park. All shuttles are free to the public, so this can be an effective way for your attendees to travel around campus without a vehicle. The Marguerite also serves major parking structures and visitor lots on campus, as indicated on our "Event parking and Marguerite shuttle service" page.

Trip planning

Parking & Transportation Services offers free trip planning assistance. Using our trip planning tool, visitors can plan their route to or from Stanford using public transit. Event attendees can also request a custom trip plan and we will help them identify their options using public transit and/or bicycling.


The Zipcar car sharing program at Stanford makes it easy for event attendees to get around without bringing their own vehicle to campus. Zipcar members can reserve Zipcars online or by phone for almost any duration, ranging from hours to days. Since it is self-service, Zipcar is available 24 hours a day. There are over 60 Zipcars on and around campus.

Bicycle rentals

Encourage your event attendees to take advantage of Stanford’s mild climate and flat terrain by bicycling for their transportation needs. The Campus Bike Shop offers bicycle rentals to the public.

You can feel good about recommending bicycling at Stanford, since the university is designated one of the most bicycle-friendly places to ride. Stanford’s bicycle resources and infrastructure contributed to its recent designation as the first platinum-level “Bicycle Friendly University” by the League of American Bicyclists. Part of the designation included strong bicycle safety outreach, so please be sure to recommend that bicyclists wear a helmet when riding at Stanford and follow the rules of the road.

Event parking

If it is essential for your event attendees to drive to campus, you are encouraged to have event attendees pay their own parking fee. Refer to the Galvez Lot Parking Guidelines (PDF) for details. You can also work with our office to coordinate special event parking.

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