Use summer downtime to plan ahead for the upcoming fall semester’s parking requirements
With graduation having come and gone for another year, college and university administrators can start thinking ahead to the upcoming fall semester. Though campus parking lots may be empty now, in a couple of months they’ll be brimming with vehicles as students, faculty, and staff compete for spots.
Advance planning is the key to managing parking and vehicle overflow issues. Strategies can be broadly grouped into three main categories: creating sound parking policies, making the most of mass transit options, and introducing new ways to manage traffic flow.
Colleges and universities have generated beneficial results by adjusting their parking policies, using techniques like:
- Assigning parking passes based on seniority and the individual’s role in the campus community, giving first dibs to the longest-tenured community members and those with a demonstrated need for on-campus parking
- Introducing mobile parking meters, which improve traffic flow by preventing the need for drivers to find stationary meters
- Increasing parking rates so more people choose alternative modes of transportation
To that end, university administrators can encourage community members to take better advantage of mass transit options:
- Offer subsidized transit passes, or work transit pass costs into existing student fee schedules
- Use campus shuttles to help staff and students get around large campuses quickly and without driving
Finally, keep traffic flow rates under control by:
- Spreading out class schedules over the course of the day to reduce traffic congestion
- Making central campus areas inaccessible to drivers, forcing them to park on the periphery of the campus and walk, bike, or use shuttles
- Eliminating daytime traffic altogether; a growing number of universities have completely shut down campuses to vehicles during daytime hours to great effect
Technological tools can support campus transportation initiatives
Transportation demand management software like the RideAmigos platform offers major benefits to colleges and universities looking to reduce parking demand. Our platform’s commute trip planner tool is invaluable for staff and students who live off campus, helping them build efficient and green-friendly transportation plans that help them save money while reducing traffic burdens. Administrators can set up incentive programs and challenges to encourage the use of transportation alternatives. Event travel planning and event ridesharing programs help ease congestion during extra-busy times, like homecoming, football games, and parents’ weekends.
Photo credit: mehmet canli