Solve parking and congestion woes by introducing an expanded range of university commuter services.
University and college campuses face a unique set of transportation demand management challenges. Parking is limited, forcing schools to make difficult choices when determining how to distribute permits. Students, staff and faculty tend to keep irregular hours, given the prevalence of evening and weekend classes.
A lot of schools provide free or subsidized transit passes, which helps but doesn’t often provide a complete solution. Given how limited most campus parking facilities are, colleges and universities usually need to take a multi-pronged approach that combines several effective strategies.
One emerging approach that’s making waves at campuses across the country is to expand the available range of university commuter services. Mobile connectivity has created new possibilities that didn’t exist before the smartphone revolution. Schools that embrace cutting-edge commute to school apps open up a dynamic range of smart, sustainable transportation choices.
Ridesharing is one of the most popular alternatives. Campus ridesharing programs usually take one of two forms:
- Carpooling communities: Students, staff and faculty can join carpools with regular schedules, or access available carpools on an as-needed basis to travel to or from campus. Carpools can also extend to weekend rides home, getaways during school breaks, and more.
- Vanpool services: Arrange vanpool shuttles from nearby city landmarks or major public transit stations and give campus members a convenient and affordable alternative to driving.
Both are cost-effective, high-impact options with strong appeal for students with limited transportation budgets.
Understand the features of an effective campus carpool network.
For students, the potential cost savings they can realize by carpooling instead of driving are only part of the equation. Many colleges have attempted to create internet-powered ridesharing networks, only to see very low participation rates. This often happens because the network lacks an identity.
Students are less likely to use a university rideshare app that makes anonymous connections. Instead, allow users to link their posts to social media profiles so potential matches can put faces to names. Schools that allow drivers and riders to exchange information about things like music and smoking preferences also tend to have higher success rates.
Basically, it boils down to this: if you build in features that allow users to refine their results to find more precise matches, your program is more likely to become a success. The same is true if your approach eschews anonymity in favor of a more personal approach.
University rideshare solutions for faculty and staff often need to be tweaked in their focus so they speak directly to the needs of employed commuters. Initiatives aimed at engaging staff members can use proven workplace strategies like gamification, premium parking for carpool vehicles, and parking cash-out programs, among others.
Interested in making a vanpool part of your university ridesharing program? Follow these planning tips to success.
Adding a vanpool to your university ridesharing and commuter services is an excellent way to solve the so-called “first mile/last mile” dilemma. Vanpools provide convenient, direct links between campus and major transportation hubs. They’re especially effective in schools that draw a lot of commuters but aren’t well-served by high-speed forms of public transportation.
Here are some strategic keys that can help make your vanpool program a success:
- Schedule regular service with increased frequency during peak hours
- Integrate vanpools into your existing rideshare matching and commuter management services
- Promote the service through widely used communication channels so campus members know about it
Finally, make your vanpool accessible to all campus members, rather than restricting eligibility to only students. You’ll maximize the efficiency of your operational budget and drive higher participation rates by making vanpooling an option for all campus community members.
Campus communities enjoy major benefits by adding university ridesharing programs to their list of transportation options.
These university ridesharing options deliver significant, continuous benefits to campuses, including:
- Reduced demand for parking, leading to cost savings
- Less on-campus vehicular traffic, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists
- A clear alignment with environmentally responsible values
- Decreased emissions and pollution
They’re also a great social tool for helping students, staff and faculty interact with a broader range of community members. By helping you create and manage new university commuter services, RideAmigos can help you build a stronger and more interconnected campus.
Smart ridesharing and incentive programs can be a great way to address parking problems. Check out our free, downloadable PDF on curbing campus parking demand.
The RideAmigos software platform delivers powerful management and administration tools, serving as the central hub of your university ridesharing initiative. We’ve already helped a long and growing list of schools around the world better manage their transportation needs, and we’d love to add your campus to our list of success stories. Get started today with a free analysis of your existing commuter programs, helpful commuter management tools, or a detailed one-on-one consultation.