In February 2019, Parking & Transportation Services conducted two town hall meetings and a month-long survey to begin what we hope is an ongoing conversation between us and the campus community. Our goal is to better understand your feelings about transportation to, from, and around campus. For the more than 3,300 people who participated in the survey, we appreciate your engagement with us to solve the transportation issues the entire campus community faces daily. What follows are some of the major conclusions we took away from the survey results:
The survey showed that fewer than 5 percent of students, faculty, and staff bike to campus, but students displayed a strong interest in biking incentive programs, improved biking infrastructure, and bikeshare. In the coming weeks, one of these interests will be fulfilled when Gotcha launches the city’s and campus’ first bikeshare program. In the future, we hope to conduct a bike lane pilot study aimed at potentially establishing a new bike corridor along Dalrymple Drive to Tower Drive to South Stadium Drive. We’re working with University Recreation and Nicholson Gateway facilities to allow cyclists access to showers, so students, faculty, and staff can freshen up after their ride into campus.
Walking is the second most common form of transportation used to arrive at campus. However, survey participants agreed walking to and around campus is less than optimal due to the condition of certain stretches of sidewalks, the desire for more lighting at night, and motorists ignoring traffic regulations and pedestrian rights. We agree and are actively working to repair sidewalks in disrepair, to design more intuitive walking pathways, to make the campus more accessible, and to promote our regular Lighting Walks with the campus community with the goal of continuously improving light on campus.
Parking is an often-discussed and sometimes controversial aspect of campus transportation, but 73 percent of students, faculty, and staff reported they easily find parking in less than 10 minutes. A majority of participants would pay lower prices for parking farther away but still within walking distance of the campus core. The truth is, campus contains more parking spots than people parking, but many of those spots remain unused because of their perceived inconvenience. We are examining ways to improve parking on campus by approaching the situation from different angles, such as promoting other modes of sustainable transportation. For example, the cost of a $22 million parking garage for a campus with a current surplus of spots could be used instead to acquire additional mass transit vehicles and other infrastructure improvements.
The Tiger Trails bus system is a free service offered to students, faculty, and staff, yet the survey showed only 16 percent of students and 2 percent of faculty and staff take the bus. Almost a quarter of those that drive to campus do so because they feel the bus is inconvenient. However, we learned that a majority of participants would take the bus as their primary travel mode to campus if frequency of departures increased, with more real-time schedule displays. We are working to perfect the Tiger Trails transit system, from tweaking departure frequencies to reconfiguring routes for maximum efficiency, to make riding the bus as viable as commuting in a personal vehicle.
Parking & Transportation Services offers a variety of services beside parking, such as door-to-door Campus Transit, ZipCar, a holiday shuttle, and battery assistance. However, survey participants felt communication aimed to create awareness about these services is lacking. While awareness of certain other amenities like Tiger Trails is high, almost half of those people don’t know where to find more information. We want the campus community to know they have an array of options for their daily commute. Therefore, we will strive to better promote these services and how they work, as well as intentionally and regularly engaging the campus community to learn how these services can better serve you.
We’re listening to our community, and we’re working every day to make our beautiful campus even better.