Vehicle Use

Transportation safety is a key element in preventing transmission of COVID-19. As such, the University has created this guidance related to vehicle transportation while working on campus, and to/from any off-campus events, and educational sites. The general principles in this guidance apply to all use of vehicles, but any research and fieldwork vehicle use is subject to review and approval by the Off-Campus Research and Field Work Review Committee.

When possible, trips by vehicle should be limited to a solo occupant (the driver).

When more than one occupant will need to travel in the same vehicle for short duration trips (<15 minutes), the driver and one passenger are permitted, with recommended seating at one person per row (exceptions can be made for University owned vehicles with a single row of seats).

If vehicle occupancy cannot be limited to the driver and a single passenger as described above, or the trip duration is greater than 15 minutes, all passengers should be from a “family unit” (roommate, suitemate, etc.) or a “research unit” that has been approved by the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork committee. Rides should not be shared with people outside your unit or with unknown individuals.

Requirement for all vehicles:

  • Hand sanitizer must be available for use when entering the vehicle. Hand sanitizer should be used after touching public surfaces such as gas pumps and parking meters and pay stations, and when entering and exiting buildings.
  • If the vehicle is shared with others or there are multiple occupants, frequent touchpoints within the vehicle must be disinfected with wipes before and after each trip (for example, the steering wheel, gear shift, door frame/handles, windows, radio/temperature dials, and seatbelt buckles).

Requirements for all vehicles involving two or more occupants and regardless of trip length:

  • Distancing in the vehicle should be maximized by alternating passenger side seating and driver side seating by row.
  • Riders are not permitted in the middle seat of a row.
  • For vehicles with a single row of seats, each person must be seated by a window, as far apart as possible.
  • Vehicle occupants must wear masks at all times
  • All windows should remain open a minimum of 3” to allow for air flow throughout the vehicle
  • Vents should be running and pointed down in the vehicle; do not use recirculated air
  • Food and drinks may not be consumed during the trip
  • Hand sanitizer must be used when entering the vehicle and during the ride.
  • Anyone feeling unwell should not share a ride with others.

Zipcar use is allowed, but it is the responsibility of the users to wipe down the inside of the car prior to use.

Rental vehicles are allowed, subject to restrictions in the University’s fleet policy.

Carpooling is discouraged, but if it is the only alternative, follow the guidance listed above. Additionally, drivers must have a clean motor vehicle record and Yale driver safety awareness training is recommended. Personal automobile insurance will be the insurance that responds first in the event of an accident.

Use of 12-15 passenger vans continues to be prohibited, as per the University’s fleet policy.  

Use of buses and shuttles may be allowed, subject to approval by the Health and Safety leader, and providing they have proper controls in place and the guidance above is followed. If used, limit occupancy to 50%, and require the shuttle vendor to disinfect the interior both before and after trips. (Note: While many vendors can be used, ECS Transportation has agreed to meet these standards and is being used by many other units at Yale).

Rideshare services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) are generally discouraged. If they must be used, follow the guidance listed above and avoid touching surfaces and your face as much as possible. Carry your own hand sanitizer in case it is not provided by the rideshare. If the driver is not wearing a mask, please cancel the ride, request another ride, and report the issue to the rideshare company. Uber and Lyft will not charge for a cancelled ride if the cancellation is due to the failure of the driver to wear a mask.

If using other forms of transportation, such as trains, or if you have other questions related to Yale’s travel policy and best practices for safety, please review Yale travel guidance as well as CDC safety advice.

Domestic and International Research and Fieldwork

For longer trips and for international travel:

If you have any questions regarding vehicle use, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@yale.edu.