Improve university ridesharing programs to cut costs and control demand for limited parking.
America’s colleges are booming. Over the past five years, enrollment rates have spiked by 17 percent. While that’s great for the state of higher education in the country, it also creates challenges for administrators. More growth generally means more cars, and finding places to put those cars can be difficult and expensive. Schools that improve university ridesharing programs can alleviate these issues, cutting costs along the way.
University ridesharing programs have emerged as a dynamic, environmentally friendly solution to parking reduction. Campus-wide initiatives that are accessible to students, faculty, and staff cast a wide net, giving community members flexible options for traveling to and from campus at practically any time of day or night.
Successful university ridesharing programs usually have three key strategies in common:
- Education. People may be reluctant to share rides with strangers, or have the impression that ridesharing isn’t as convenient as other options. University ridesharing programs can be configured to limit matches to user networks or specific departments, and users can make regular or occasional use of other accessible options including transit or vanpool services.
- Direct appeal. Use commuter surveys to glean insights into community-specific commuter behaviors, then custom-craft a strategy that best meets the needs of end users. Communicate and advertise this strategy over multiple channels, including on-campus publicity such as banners, posters, and signage, email, and social media.
- Incentives. Games and incentive programs are proven ways to boost participation rates. Give commuters another good reason to take part by offering prizes and other perks to those who make the best use of available services.
Some schools, like the University of Louisville, go a step further by sponsoring innovative earn-a-bike programs. These programs offer bike vouchers to community members who willingly give up their assigned parking privileges, and they’re a great way to promote a healthier, more active community while reducing demand for limited parking.
Learn more about how ridesharing can help you manage university parking and traffic by downloading our free PDF resource guide for university administrators and transportation managers.