Feasibility study for a pilot ciruclator serving USF commuters : phase 1

Feasibility study for a pilot ciruclator serving USF commuters : phase 1

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Feasibility study for a pilot ciruclator serving USF commuters : phase 1
University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research
University North Transportation Initiative (Tampa, Florida)
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
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Commuting -- Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.) ( lcsh )
Local transit--Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.)--Planning ( lcsh )
Urban transportation--Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.) -- Planning ( lcsh )
letter ( marcgt )

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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C01-00275 ( USFLDC DOI )
c1.275 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida. Center for Urban Transportation Research.
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Feasibility study for a pilot ciruclator serving USF commuters : phase 1
Tampa, Fla
b Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
c 1997 September
Commuting -- Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.)
Local transit--Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.)--Planning
Urban transportation--Florida--Tampa Bay (Fla.) -- Planning.
University North Transportation Initiative (Tampa, Florida)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION I GOAL AND OBJECTIVES 3 LITERATURE REVIEW 5 Campus Transportation Systems 6 IDENTIFICATION OF CANDIDATE PEER UNIVERSITIES 14 Final List of Candidate Peer Universities 18 PROFILES OF SELECTED PEER UNIVERSITY TRANSIT SYSTEMS 20 University of Central Florida 21 University of South Carolina 22 U nivers i ty of Colorado 23 Texas Tech University 23 Summary 25 EXISTING CONDITIONS -USF 26 Existing Mode Choice Data 28 CONCLUSIONS 30 RECOMlv!ENDATION 35


UNIVERSITY NORTH TRANSPORTATION IN ITIATIVE FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR A PILOT CIRCULATOR SERVING USF COMMUTERS PHASE ILITERATURE AND CASE STUDY REVIEW INTRODUCTION University campuses have many of the same components as traditional urban and suburban activity centers wherein Transportation Demand Management (TOM) techniq ues are employed. When roads are improved to increas e capacity this is said to affect the supply side of transportation mobility. However, TDM measures are intended to reduce the demand side of the equation by increasing the number of persons in a vehicle, or by influencing the time of, or need to, travel (Implementing Effective Travel Demand Measures) Traditional TDM measures employed to manage trips t o an activity center include staggered work shifts, telecommuting (i.e., employees who work from horne), ridesharing, vanpooling transit, and parking management. Campus communities are traditional activity centers because they: have a regional i mp act, which means their market area is most always more than one county; have mixed uses including academic, medical, research, recreation, special events, and residential; and in some cases, office and retail uses; are traditionally among the largest empl oyers in their communities; substantially influence the development patterns in areas surrounding the campus; and generate significant person trips on a daily basis such that they substantially impact local and regional road networks.


Although similar characteristics exist, universities have some characteristics that are unique in contrast to urban and suburban activity centers. Universities have different customer bases who access campus at different times of the day, including students staff m embers, faculty, and visitors. In many cases, the lack of traditional morn in g and afternoon peak traffic periods means that the variable times for accessing campus each day can place a stra in on internal and external road networks and available parking facilities. Second, universities have a high degree of control over their campus that can arbitrarily limit the means of access for various customer bases. Finally, universities are more likely as an activity center to generate high density residential development surrounding the campus which makes them prime candidates for non-mot orized modes of travel s uch as walking and bicycling. In Florida each State Universi ty System (SUS) university must complete and update a master plan for the I 0 year development of its campus( es) The Master Plan must contain elements addre ssing future land use, transportation (including parking and traffic circula tion), h ousing, general infrastructure conservation, recreatio n and open space, and intergovernmental coordination The Intergovernmental Coordinati on e l ement must ensure that the university addresses the impacts of proposed campus development in the context area; specifically the host community(ies) In analyzing futur e transportation needs and improvements, the Campus Master Plan must, among many other things, provide an analysis of roadway improvements, additional or university provided transit, and TOM measures that will be required to meet the future development needs of the campus community. I t i s in this context that the Univers ity N orth Transportation Ini tiative (UNTI), a Transportation M anagement Initiative (TMI) made up of the University of South Florida (USF), host communities, the Florida Department of Transportation, private sector employers, and community groups, has commissioned this study to specifically examine the need for and feasibility of a transit alternative c irc u l ato r service for the University and surrounding residential community. 2


UNTI has established a review team made up of representative membership to oversee the project and to provide direction to the CUTR staff team. GOAL AN)) QB,JECTIYES The CUTR staff team summarized initial input by Review Committee members in the form of the following goal for a transit alternative circulator service: Achieve a balanced transportation system for the USF-Tampa campus by designing transit solutions that accommodate future campus development with customer-oriented, viable mobility to and from campus. To achieve the goal CUTR staff recommended the following objectives to guide the staff team in providing the appropriate analysis and context for the study. A successful transit shuttle service is one that: Serves the appropriate market area and potential customer base; Mitigates the impact of vehicle trip growth to and from campus; Reduces demand for parking spaces in the camp u s core; Provides linkage between any new off-campus transit alternative and on campus transit service as well as the regional transit system; Positions any new transit alternative as a stimulu s and a catalyst for other modes such as pedestrian and bicycle travel as well as r i desharing alternatives; Establishes a sustai11able funding plan for transit alternatives to establish a long term viability for service costs. In this phase, the staff team conducted a literature review that was used to examine the overall environment of university transit services as well as providing a candidate list of universities to use as comparable case studies. Once completed, an examinatio n of the USF master plan and existing conditions on the campus was compared to peer universities to determine a correlation between USF s goals and objectives and transit 3


services implemented at those peer universities. Finally, a conclusion section provides an assessment of current factors at USF that would support transit solutions and those that, if changed, would greatly enhance transit solutions for the campus. 4


LITERATURE REVIEW In 1989, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Transit Planning and Policy Committee created a subcommittee on Campus Transportation. The first product of the subcommittee was a Campus Tr ansportation System Inventory, conducted by the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI). The Inventory included 186 campus transportation systems, which were defmed as, ... those separate transit operations that are operated d ir ectly by the university, or operated for the benefit of the uni.versity with a major commitment of funds from the university community This commitment could be in the form of direct subsidies, or special payment of parking fees, student fees, or other financial support." Several categorizations were used including service area population, university enrollment, number of vehicles operated, annual ridership annual operating budgets and source of local funds. These categories were used to develop a methodology to identify peers to USF for this study. This methodology will be discussed in detail in the next section. Although this report was intended to generate a body of research on the topic of campus transportation, consultation with TRB indicat es that the Campus Transportation subcommittee has not actively sponsored research since the report was published This literature review examines examples of shuttle systems implemented at universities. E ach piece indicates one common theme: enhancing mobility and reducing availability and! or demand for parking and commuters' dependence on single occupant vehicles by offering shuttle systems. Often this involves implementing a variety ofTDM strategies and policies that create conditions which make the shuttle the more attractive alternative. The strategies and conditions that combine to c reate a successful shuttle system are I) large traffic generators, 2) favorab le service characteristics, and 3) restrictive parking policies. Each of the cases reviewed have implemented a shuttle system by utilizing TDM strategies to reinforce the choice away from the single oecupant vehicle. 5


Campus Transportation Systems As mention ed above there is no t a l arg e body of wo r k on the t opic of campus transportation. After an e xtensive search, CUT R identified five universities with s ucces sful shu ttle systems that illustrate the complexities of shuttle serv i ces. The first, U niversity of California at Davis, expanded shuttle service by improving its service with better routing an d a mandatory fee to pay for the service The second example is the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which used a c ombination of strategies that includ es increasing parking costs while imp l ementi ng a cheap, freq u ent transit service The third example of a univ e rsity shuttle system is the Uni versity of California at San Francisco, where a combina t ion of TDM strategies were used t o complement a shuttle service. Fourth Iowa State U niversity in Ame s implemented several parking restrictions in s u pport of transit serv ices to off-campus students. Finally, the Univers ity of North Carolina a t Chapel Hill increas ed the price of parking and limited the number of annual deca l s sold as part of a loca l effort to impleme n t transit services in 1973 I n the City of Davis, California, a local transit p rovider, Unitran s, e xpand ed its service to better serve the students and employees of the University of California at Davis Unitrans impl emen t ed an expansion program with "two principal comp onen ts : a change in undergrad uat e fare prici ng structure and an expansion in service Prior to this change the students were charged a $4.50 fee per quarter in exchang e for reduced fares. Fiscal constraints forced the s tudent body to choose between reduced service or increased fares. They respo n ded b y further taxing themselves by increasing the transit registration fee to $13 per q uarter and eliminating the student fare entirely. Within two years ridership rnore than doubled from just under 600,000 riders a year to more than I ,266,24 3 in 1991192 During the same period, the number of vehic les parked o n campus dropped by 12.8 pe rcent. These changes to the mode choices of the students and employees of the 6


UC Davis were popularly received. It seemed that Unitrans was able to significantly reduce the number of car drivers to the campus. There had been a large shift towards transit; from 1979 to 1991 the percentage of students and employees choosing transit as a commute mode increased from 4.4 percent to 15 percent. However, a c lose examination of the trave l behavior of the students and employees revea l s something altogether different. There were significant shifts in the mode choices of the students. The most significant of those shifts occurred in three modes: walk/bike transit, and car driver. As expected "transit s mode share increase d by nearly doubling in each six year period from 4.4 percent i n 1979 to 8.2 percent in 1985 and to IS percent in 1991." Wh il e this shift was expected, the shift in walk-bike and car driver modes was unexpected The percent driving showed a increase from 12.7 percent in 1979 to 20 percent in 199 1 while the percent walking biking decreased considerably falling from 77 percent in 1979 to 60 percent in 1991. It seems that Unitrans bus service, while increasing the tota l number of commuters using transit, did not affect the number of drivers to the campus "If Unitran s was attracting m ostly drivers, a declining mode share for drivers and little change in the walking/biking modes would be expect ed." However, thi s d id not occur. In an attempt to explain why this shift occurred the authors determined the mode shifts "were the result of multiple influences that con verged to produce the changes." An increase in parking fees, a change in the transit pricing structure and trip distance all played a role in shifting the mode. The cos t of the shuttle disappeared with the imple m entation of a fixed fee at registration that students were required to pay whether they rode the bus or not. This impacted the non-motorized travel choice Previously students w h o chose to use n on-motorized travel enjoyed a price advantage over transit With this advantage eliminated, transit became a more attractive al t ernative to the non-?


motorized traveler, hence a shift away from the non-motorized mode. Additionally, the inconvenience of having to pay a bus fare for each trip was also eliminated The changes in the transit fare structure did not affect the mode choices of employees. The cost of parking did affect their mode choice. Employees living within the Davis area "were very sensitive to increased parking cost, which accounts for the shift away from driving to non -motorized travel." In a research and demonstration project performed at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst by the then Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now known as the Federal Transit Administration), r esearchers found results similar to the fmdings at Davis, California This project examined how a free service with short headways would impact mode choice among students at the University. The shutt l e service was able to enjoy high ridership numbers as a result of the creation of this service. However, just as in the UC-Davis example, the high ridership did not significantly effect the automobile ridership; at least not among the general population. The shuttle attracted high levels of ridership among low income groups but only slightly reduced automobile usage and traffic congestion. However, the report found that parking tees affected auto occupancy rates. "As parking fees increased, car occupancy ratios also increased, notably more for students than for faculty and staff." So it would appear that the shuttle service did shift some students away from the automobile to the shuttle. The project also examined the effect of parking fees on mode choice. The study found that increased parking fees were not as effective a deterrent to auto use by faculty and staff as was a reducti o n in the availability of parking. Most importantly, the study revealed that parking availability plays a significant role on the decisions of single occupant vehicle drivers. This is another case where parking costs and availability influence mode choice and parking demand. T his study also revealed that availability of frequent transit service greatly R


reduces the need for campus to pwvide more parking spaces and related parking expenditures. A successful shuttle may have high ridership numbers but often this success does not always reduce conges ti on and parking demand on campus As in the previous two example s the shuttle system mostly attracts individuals that already do not drive automobiles. Based on the recommended measures of success, the true measurement of successful shuttle i s measured by more than ridership numbers. The impact on the mobility within a community is equally important. Often this success is determin ed by more than short headways and cheap fares. By using several incentives and policy directives a good shuttle system can affect more than ridership. It can truly change the behavior of motorists. An example of such a system is the University of California at San Francisco The University of California at San Francisco used many strategies to cr ea te a transportatio n system t h at reduced the dependence on the single occupant vehicle. This was done by employing several Transportation Deman d Management (TDM) strategies that pwvide incentives for alternatives to the single occupant vehicle and disincentives for those commuting in single occupant vehicles. As 'With most TOM programs, the success of shuttle service was not just in the quality of the service but in a combination of . strategies. Often the pwgram's goa l is to increase alternatives to the single occupant vehicles and to make them as attractive as possible. As a major university and a teaching hospital complex, a third of the university's trips were single occupant automobiles and it had limited parking available with university attendees competing with neighborhood residents for on-street parking n ear the school. The university parking conditions on and around the campus supported a shuttle service 9


TDM programs were designed to reduce auto traffic generated by the campus. Included in these strategies were i nce ntives for carpools (rider-matching and priority parking), vanpools and shuttl e bus services. The university also would raise the price of existing parking and not increase its o ncampus parking supply. This policy provides critical support for a successful shuttle. A study commissioned by the university examining the effects of the TDM programs found that it had significantly reduced traffic. The program most respon s ible for traffic reduction was the shuttle bus service which accounted for nearly hal f o f the reduct ion (3.4 percent of the total 7.6 percent reduc tion). This reduction a l so affected the parking demand on campus. As in many of the other studies, this study addressed the important role parking availability and price plays in effectively red u cing the number of single occupant vehicles. II was recognized that parking policy has a great impact on the success of any TDM program. As a consequence, the study sugges ted the university consider alternative parking policies to severely restrict parking. They ranged from reducing the number of parking decals ava ilable to substantia lly increasing the cost of parking o n campus. Overall, University of California at S an Fran cisco effectively used a combination of making parking less available, more expen siv e and providing a quality shuttle service to successfully reduc e congestion aro und the area. The City of Ames Iowa reluctantly cr ea ted a local transit system when a privately owned bus com pany went out of business in the 1970s. In the years, the city was reluctant to expand services and suffered from a poor public image. By the late 1970's enrollment at Iowa State University (ISU) was growing and parking was becoming a chronic problem. While ISU was primarily in t erested in reducing construction costs of parking students complained about a lack of transit service to campus. Therefore, ISU acted as a catalyst to expand transit service and came together with the City of Ames to negotiate 10


funding and expansion of transportation servi c es. The serv i ce was named "CY-RIDE" after the I SU mascot, the Cyclones. In a span of eight years between 1980 and 1988, ridership increa sed from 240, 000 annual passengers to 2.4 million annual passengers. ISU officials made conscious choices about land use and parking as the success of service began to grow. First, "traffic gates were installed in 1976 to regulate the flow of traffic through campus. Second, as a result ofthe ... need to construct additional buildings on campus, the ISU administration consciously began to reduce the available n umber of parking spaces." More than 500 spaces were eliminated and another 1 000 proposed spaces were not constructed. At the same time, lSU commenced a campus s h uttle from the stadium parking lot to the core of campus, thus eliminating the need for 850 additional spaces. In addition to not constructing additional spaces, JSU tied parking reguiations to transi t service by targeting students living in all off-()ampns apartment complexes within four blocks of the transit system. Those students were not allowed to purchase parking passes anywhere on campus. Follow ing this policy change, "apartment owners became extremely concerned about the proximity of their units to CY-RIDE service. CY-RIDE has become a major selling point for rental units and is advertised in most newspaper ads for units that are near a CY-RIDE route." The authors of the article noted that ISU had been the principal beneficiary ofCY-RIDE service. At an estimated cost of$500 to build and maintain a parking space per year, a net savings of$590,000 has been realized after the contribution of$160 000 for trans it service is subtracted ISU has been able to increase densities of development in the campus core and to maintain an attractive, congestion free environment for the university community. 11


In the early 1970's, the City of Chapel Hill joined the University of North Carolina and t h e neighboring city of Carrboro to plan and implement a public transportation system. By 1973 service commenced with I 0 routes that primarily served the airport, the mall and the UNC-Chapel Hill campus By agreement with the City the University purchased $300,000 in annual bus passes and re-sold them to students as support for the loca l system. In order to d i scourage stude n ts from parking on campus, the University raised its parking fee from $10 per year to $72 per year and limited the number of passes sold to 110 percent of capacity. Today, the University main t ains a two mile border zone around the campus where student residents cannot purchase a parking pass Also, freshman are not allowed to register a vehicle on campus Each of the university eKamples illustrate the comp leK variables which affect the success of a shuttle. Each of the shuttle systems were successful but they each had varying impacts on the mobility in respective university areas It does illustrate that good transit service does not always attract car drivers to transit, especially if there is a long commute invo lved. The literature also indicates that transit service may not reduce congestion and vehicular trave l to campus unless parking availability is decreased. It does indicate that good transit service competes with non-motorized modes suc h as walking and bicycling. Cri tical to the success of campus transportation services is the university environment and its ability to establish policies to influence travel behavior. Higgins refers to the University of Maryland's shuttle system which has 25 buses and 750,000 riders annually. The system serves the residential areas, the campus and the regional public transit system. Higgins states that a university shuttle system can be successful . because stude n ts generally own fewer cars and earn less than commuters, they probably are attracted more to transit than employees." He also points to the university's unique environment where 12


the university is able to exert more control over the development of a campus such that non-motorized modes of travel can be heavily encouraged over vehic ular access to campus. He refers to policies at the Massachusetts lnstiMe of Technology and UCLA of not granting permits to students that live within the service area of the public transit system. 11


IDENTIFICATION OF CANDIDATE PEER UNIVERSITIES As noted in the Literature Review CUTR used the Campus Transportation System Inventory to deve lop a methodology for identifying and refining candidate peer institutions USF. Vihenever any transit system is looking to commence, grow, or main tain leve l s of transit service peer stud i es are a useful too l to compare different factors affecting service provision. For instance, if a city of 50,000 has a 20 bus transit system it would be logical to look at other cities with similar population to determine whether an appropr i ate level of service is being provided based on system size However, if a major urban area of2 million has a 50 bus system, it would be likely t h at a comparable urban area wo u l d have a m uch larger transi t system, which would indicate growth in transit system size is necessary and j ustifiable in that urban area. Therefore, peer studies can be used to compare where we are with where we should or will be i n the futUre. Since this is a study for a pilot transit alternat ive service selecting peers for USF entails examin ing factors related to univers i ties with transit systems comparable to the system th at USF would im p l ement. Since there is curre n t l y n ot a transit system present, universi t ies were selected based on a factor that USF would have in common: spec i fically student enrollment. Enrollment figures were used as of 1993, the year from which the most recent data is availab l e. USF's enrollment was approx im ately 26,700 in 1993; potential peers were selected with a range of enrollment from 85% t o 115% of that figure. These universities is listed below i n Table I. 14


Table 1 Universities with Comparable Enrollment to USF UNIVERSITY ENROLLMENT University of North Caro. lina -Chapel Hill 23,000 Iowa Stille University 23,000 Bastem Michigan University 23,000 V irginia Polytechnic lnstitule & Stale U ni v ersity 23,500 Univers ity of Missouri-Columbia 24,000 U niversity of ColoradoBoulde r 2 4 000 Georgia S!ale University 24,000 U-Mass at Amherst 24,474 U n ivers ity of Toledo 25,000 University of Tennessee-Knoxville 25,000 Universi ty of Oklahoma 25,000 University of New Mexico 25,000 Saginaw Valley State UniversityDelta College 25,000 NC State University 25,000 University ofTexas Arlington 26 000 University of Georgia 26, 000 Texas Tech University 26,000 University of North Texas 26,000 University of Kansas 26,300 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF) 26 700 University of Illinois-Chicago 27,000 University of Florida 27,000 University of South carolina 28,000 University oflowa 28,000 Purdue University 28,000 Kent State University 29,000 Florida Stale University 29,000 Cal State Long Beach 30,000 15


A total of28 universities were selected based on the enro ll m ent criteria Since USF's circulator service will be a p ilot project it would be likely that the size of it's circulator wou l d fall between 5 and 12 v ehic les iJi operation. As a result, the cand i date list of u niversi t ies were then narrowed to those campuses that ha d between 5 and 1 2 vehicles in operatio n, list ed be l ow. Table2. Universities with 5-12 Vehicles in Operation UNIVERSITY 5 TO 12 VEIDCLES University of ColoradoBoulder 1 2 Texas Tech University 9 Florida State University 7 U niversity of New Mexico 7 University ofNorth Tex as 7 University of Tennessee-Kno xv ill e 7 University of North Chapel Hill 6 Georgia State University 5 University of Florida 5 Univ e r sity of South Carolina 5 The field of candidates was then narrowed to 10 universities Once universities with a comparable system size have been determined, i t is then logical to determine ranges of annual ridership that could be expected from a system operating 5 t o 1 2 vehicles There for e annual riders hip for these 10 universities i s provided in Table 3 below. Table3 Annual Ridership Comparisons UNIVERSITY ANNUAL RIDERSIDP University of Boulder 175,000 University of North Texas 281,584 University of Tennessee-Knoxville 300,000 Georgia State University 335,000 University of S outh Carol ina 454,000 Florida Stat e -University 500,00 0 Texas Te<:h U niversity 700,0 00 University of New Mexieo 840,000 U niversity of Florida NR University ofNorth Carolina-Chapel Hill NR 16


The range of ridership found in this table indicates that many of t hese universities.have different factors in place that greatly impact transit usage. This will be e xplored more complete l y in the profiles of selected universities below Followi n g ridership, it is log ical to then determine the ranges of annual expenses of a univers it y syste m operating a 5 to 12 bus campus system. Again the same ten universities were exami ned for this data. In this section four of the universities did not r eport their annual expenditures, including the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of North Tex as, and the Uni versity of South Carolina. The ran g e of annua l expenditures is listed in Table 4 below. Table4 Ann ual Expenditures for Campus Transportation ANNUAL UNIVERSITY EXPENSE University of New Mexico $46,000 Univer sity ofTennessee .. Knoxville $200,000 Georgia State University $300,000 Texas Tech University $340,000 University of ColoradoBoulder $400,000 Univers ity of North CarolinaChapel Hill $500,000 Florida State University N/R University of Florida N/R University ofNorth Texas N/R University of South carol ina NIR Finally, the funding sources for campus transportation for the ten universities was examined to provide USF with an indication of the models at which it might want to cons ide r for funding it's own transit service. Four of the ten fund transit direct ly from parking fees, two more use a combination of parking and student fees, and the remaining four use fares or other funds to fund transit. Table 5 below details the funding sources. 17


Table 5 Source of Local Funds PARKING STUDENT UNIVERSITY FARES FEES FEES OTHER University of Colorado Boulder X University of North Texas X University of Tennessee-Knoxvillc X Georgia State University X X University of South Carolina X Florida State University X X Texas Te<:h Uruversity X University of New Mexico X Univ

Table 6 Summary Cha r acteristics of Candidate Peer Universities #of V eh i cles Annual A nnu al Source of University Enrollment i n Operation Ridership Expens e Local Funds Univ. ofN. Carolina-Chapel Hill 23,000 6 NIR $500,000 Parking/Stud e nt Fees Univ of Colorado .. Boulder 24,000 12 175,000 $ 4 00,000 -other Georgia State Univ. 24 000 5 335,000 $300,000 Parking Fees/F ares Unlv. of Tennessee-Knoxville 25,000 7 300,000 $200,000 Parking Fees Un iv. ofNew Mexico 25 000 7 840,000 $46,000 Parking Fees Texas T ech Univ. 26,000 9 700 ,000 $340,000 Student Fees Univ. ofNorth T exas 2 6,000 7 281,584 NIR Parking Fees Un.iv. of Florida 27,000 5 NIR N/R Fares Univ. of South Carolina 28 000 5 454 ,000 NIR Parking Fees Univ. of Central Florida 28,500 3 105, 000 $50,000 Parking Fees Florida State Univ. 29,000 7 500,000 NIR Parking/Student Fees Based on these II universities a typical profile of a candidate peer university can be determined by using averages The typical university in this group has a !993 enrollm ent o f 2 5 ,950 students 6.5 vehicles in its campus transit system experiences an annual ridership of 410,000 passenger trips and provides service at an annual cost of $262,000 1 9


PROFILES OF SELECTED PEER uNIVERSI'TY TRANSIT SYSTEMS After compiling the candidate list, CUTR developed a telephone survey to gain campus transportation service characteristics based on those listed in the original Pilot Circulator Scope of Services. Of the 11 universities, a total of six universities were contacted and interviewed, three were non-responsive, and two were eliminated (the U niversity of F lo rida and Florida State) because their overall university characteristics do not bear similarity to USF. Contacted universities were first given characteristics of USF and asked how they compared to our university. For purposes of the survey, the following characteristics were used to describe USF: Large land area campus 825 acres; Enrollment >30,000; Urban fringe location; Urban area greater than 2 million ; High ratio of parking spaces to students; low cost, high availability; Low on-campus reside nt population (approx. 1,500) Higher off-campus resident population (5,000-1 0,000) Very high percentage of automobile commuters (students/faculty/staff/visitors) Once comparison of these universities to USF was made, respondents were then asked 15 questions about the transit services on their campuses. From there, four of the seven universities contacted were selected based on their applicability to USF and the Pilot Circulator Study. The four schools selected for profile in thi s section include: The Univers ity of Central Florida Orlando The University of South Carolina -Columbia The University of ColoradoBoulder Texas Tech University Lubbock 20


The University of Central Florida Of all the universities contacted, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is most similar to USF in terms of characteristics and in terms of proposed transit service. UCF occupies 1,500 acres in eastern Orange County, approximately 30 minutes from Downtown Orlando. The urban area population is approximately 1.2 million. With a 1996-97 enrollment of28,500 students, the on-campus population numbers 2,500. The number of students Jiving in "adjacent" off-campus areas is not known. The University has a parking ratio of 3 students for every l space, and is in the process of building a new parking garage. Parking on campus is not restricted in terms of availability, but there are no guaranteed or assigned spaces that come with the sale of a parking decal. UCF also has a transportation demand management organization known as UACTA, which stands for the University Alafaya Corridor Transportation Association. UACT A's mission is similar to UNTI in that it consists of university and hos t community representatives and implements TDM strategies for the university area. Transit service, known as LASER, was implemented as part of the development order for the University Research Park. The existing LASER service operates three buses on three routes that serve the campus, surrounding residential apartment complexes, and the adjacent research park. The University pays LYNX (the Central F lorida Regional Transportation Authority) $50,000 per year to operate the service, which charges a passenger fare of $.25 per one-way trip. The service has been operating since 1992. According to UCF officials, the service is seen as a TDM strategy to reduce vehicle trips on campus, to provide transportation alternatives, and to increase safety by reducing vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. In 1996-97, ridership for the LASER was 105,090 annual riders for approximately 550 passenger trips per day. The service is paid for through parking fees. The frequency for 21


the three routes is every 30 minutes and oj)etatt.S froin 7:15a.m. to 6:15p.m. Ridership is believed to be I 00"/o student ridership. The University of South Carolina csq -C!!htmbia SC is in the heart of Downtown Columbia but has multiple locations for campus buildings and housing, w i th th e e n tire campus encompassing a six sq u are mil e area. The urban area popula t ion is 550,000. With a student enrollment of26 ,000 in 1996-97, on campus student populatio n (including all university-owned housing) is 7,000-8,000. The adjacent off-campus stude n t population is not known. SC has dealt with constrained campus parking by building two new parking garages wherein a decal is priced from $ 150 to $275 per semester. The university also has several commuter lots that are not located in the campus core and encourages students to use those lots with a $25 per year deeal program. Faculty and staff members receive top priority in core campus parking, which is a constraining factor. The transit service has grown to a total of II vehic les with five 40-passenger buses and six 20 passenger shuttles. There are a tot al of 5 routes, and the shuttle service primarily serves the commuter parking l ots to bring students into the campus core. The service also secondarily serves student residents in university-owned residen_ce halls along the routes. The routes do not serve off-campus residents. In 1996-97, SC carried 390,000 passengers operating over 142 sessio n days .Service runs every 15 minutes on the five r outes from 7:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. The re is no passenger fare for the service. The transit sys tem is owned and operated by Transportati on Services, whic h is a d i vision oflaw enforcement at the University. Operating costs for the service is reported at $58,000 annually for operations and maintenance. SC does not include administrativ e costs into its transit service. Officials indicate that this highly cost efficient service ($.23 per passenger trip) is attributed to low wages for drivers at $6.30 per hour and effic i ent preventative maintenance of vehic l es. Operating revenues are


budgeted directly by university gen eral funds through le gis la tive appropriations. No parking revenues or student fees support transit service. SC officials report that the s uccess of tran si t i s mos tly attribu table t o parking pricing and availability which e ncoura ges students t o park i n commuter lots away from the campus core. The Universitv of Co lorado-Boulder The Univ ers ity of Colorado at Boulde r (UCB) is located on the urban f r inge of the City of Boulder, which has a p o pu l ation of 1 10,000. A campus of more than 90 0 acres, the 1996-97 enrollment for the university was 35, 000 stude nts. A pp roximately 20% (7 ,000) of all students live on campus. Parking o n campus i s constrained and expensive. In fact rates have just recently gone up from $30 per m onth in 1996 ($360 annual) to $50 per month in 1997 ($ 600 annua l) The university owns I 0 buses and op erates 6 peak bu ses on one route with a 15 minute frequency. The route serves both campus and off-campus apartmen t complexes. The university employs student drivers and carried more than 500,000 passenger trips in 1996-97. Transit service operates from 6:00 a .m. t o Midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 6:00 a.m. to 3 :00a.m. Thursday through Saturday. The fare is $.35 for a one way trip and apartment c o mplexes are authorized to sell semester passes. Annual service costs are $300,000 and all funds are university genera l fund.s. The trans it system is owned by the university and operat ed by the University Transportation Center. Texas Tech U ni vers ity Since 1992, trans i t service and ridership have expl oded at Texas Tech University. In 1992, t he 9 bus campus syst em reported 700,000 passengers trips. In 1997, the system now reports 1.1 million passenger trips with 23 buses. 23


Texas Tech University lies on an I, 100 acre campus, reportedly the second largest i n the United States. Similar to USF, the trend in campus development has been to build out from the core of campus. With an enrollment of the sprawling campus is located in Lubbock with an urban area population of200,000. Approximately 7,000 students live on campus. In addition, there is substantial off-campus hous ing V

SUMMARY Comparisons of the profiled universities indicate a correlation to the literature review. The University of South Carolina has constrained parking and encourages transit usage through pricing by making remote commuter lots much less expensive than core campus parking. The Amherst example illustrated the impacts that increased parking costs and reduced parking availability had on the attractiveness of a shuttle. Correspondingly, the profile of the University of Colorado in Boulder showed that increasing the annual cost of parking which was already high at $360 to $600 per year. In the case of San Francisco, several TOM techniques were combined to discourage the use of single occupant vehicles, parking availability and price were still critical in creating support for the shuttle system. In the profiles, Texas Tech closes its campus core . to all vehicular traffic which is combined with free fare transit shuttles from both remote commuter lots and off-campus residential areas. The four universities profi led provide a progression of what could happen with USF's circulator service UCF chose to implement a shuttle service without restricting parking availability or increasing cost. On the other hand, Texas Tech is very similar to USF in its geographic size, enrollment and development patterns and yet has more than doubled in size in five years with a 57% increase in ridership


EXIS T ING CONDITIONSUSF USF is one of the fastest growing universities in the country. It was created in 1954 and recently graduated its 150,000th student, one of the fastest rates of any school. The large physical size of the campus, eight hundred fifteen acres has made expansion and enrollment growth easily handled through the 1980's. However this came at a cost as campus development resulted in sprawling urban design dispersed surface parking lots, and a campus layout that contained no true center of campus. S tud ents frequently drive to multiple locations on campus to access their c l asses, which causes a greater number of internal vehicular trips. Sntdent enrollment growth has considerably impacted on-campus traffic. The uni versity has responded to this growth by developing a Master Plan to infill campus development with new academic buildings that will fonn a campus core. In addition to the student population, the campus houses four medical facilities, the Shriner s hospital, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, the Florida Mental Health Institute, and the Veteran's Hospital two corporate parks and a blood bank. The Master Plan predicts most of the grov.


prepared by UNT!, show that the highest concentrations of residential populations along the north side of Fletcher and southeast of campus. Growth places strains on the campus' parking system. As the campus grew the demand for the parking naturally increased. According to the 1995-1996 Parking Survey performed by the parking services department there were currently 14,579 parking spaces. Of those 3,622 are dedicated for the commuter students only and another 3,191 are shared with the staff and 1,203 are for residents. On average the commuter parking lots are used to 74% of their capacity. However, a closer look at the lots reveal a drop in the lot capacity on Fridays. When Fridays are excluded from the average the lot capacity jumps 5% to 79%. Despite the large number of parking spaces the spaces are not convenient to the needs of the student. The students often chose to drive from one class to another because of the distance of the parking lots to the c l asses. The layout of the parking lots contributes to the campus' congestion problems. The Campus Plan indicates that long with the 14,400 spaces currently on campus, a net additio n of9,460 spaces will be needed if the entire plan is implemented for a total of23,860 spaces. However, the plan also notes that 5,300 of the existing spaces will be eliminated by new academic and residential construction Therefore, the total number of spaces illustrated is 19,510 with a noted shortfall of 4 350 spaces. This shortfall will be addressed through such measures as shuttle parking lots, improved transit linkages, and TOM strategies. Regardless of the manner in which the Master Plan deals with any one or more infrastructure improvements in the coming years, the most compelling story is that the Master Plan sets a course for what the University is to become. Universities that have low numbers of students living on campus experience difficulty in creating the benefits often found in the traditional "college experience." By developing academic buildings more becoming to a university environment building more on-campus housing, assisting fratemities and sororities, and creating a friendly pedestrian-oriented campus core, the 27


Master Plan calls for a univers i ty that provides quality 24-hour campus life and the most important non-academ i c benefits of the coilege experie n ce : friendships, experiences and m emories that last for a lifetime Exis t ing Mode Choice Data In 1993, th e State of Florida Board o f R e gents conducted a transportation study for the entire State University System (SUS) that was in t end e d to develop campus-specific travel characterist ics for campus master plan upda t es and transportatio n re l at i o n ships to Host Communities. Through a series of data co ll ection and survey activities, as well as using t he computer modeling, th e s tud y identified mode choice percentages for each of the SUS campuses The percentage breakdown of mode share for externa l trips for the USFTampa campus i s as follows: Automobile -one occupant 83.9% Auto m obile2 to 5 occupants 15.1% City Bus 0.3% Campu s Bus 0 .1% MotorBike 0.5% Bike 0.0% Walk 0.2% Essentially, 99% of travel to campus is by a u to while all other non-automobile modes combined account for I % of travel to campus I n comparison the highest mode split for non automobile modes occurred at the University of Florida wherein b u s/walk/bike/ m otor b ike m odes accounted for 40% o f all travel to campus. USF did compare equitably with other Florida universities including the Un i ver s ity of North Flor i da (Jackso n v ill e), Florida Atlantic University, and Florida International University. 28


However, regardless of rankings the data analysis for mode split indicates that USF has both the need for an d the opportunity to work tO'o\'

CONCLUSIONS The goal and objectives for the pilot circulator study, outlined on pages 2 and 3 of this report f ormed a foundation for the liter a ture rev iew and profile of peer univers i ties. Based on the info rma tio n presented, CUTR believes that the conclusions drawn below support the continuation of the study into the succ ess ive sta ges. The conclusions will be based on the six objectives for the s tudy. GOAL: Achieve a balanced transportation system for the USF Tampa campus by designing transit solutions that accommodate future campus development with customer-oriented, viable mobility to and from campus. The very nature o f this goals imp lies that the Tam p a campus does not currently ha ve a balanced transportatio n s ystem that equally supports vehicular, tr ansit, walking, and bicycling modes of trave l to campus While it is unlikely that the USF-Tam pa campus "Will ever achieve a 40% non-a utomob ile mode split as experienced at the University of Flo rida, the difference between 1% and 40% implies that im prov ement is as possible as i t i s ine vitabl e. Objective #1: Determine the appropriate market area and potential customer base. Both the literature and university profi les indica t e tba t transi t shutt le services are mos t appropriate for student markets lind m ost efficient when operated within short distances of campus. Whether the shuttle supports remote parking efforts or areas of studen t residence, the distance (route miles) and running times of campus transpo rtation systems s h ould be s hort so tha t frequency of service is always high (in most cases, a bus every 15 min utes). Since most univers i ties have constrained parking in the campus core that either results in lower availability or higher cost, student p op ulat ion s are the most l ogical market for transit shuttle services. 30


Since USF has approximately 8,300 students living within a five mile radius of campus and sixteen (I 6) apartment complexes within the immediate adjacent areas off campus, residential densities of student populations are sufficient to generate ridership to campus. Objective #2: Mitigate the impact of vehicle trip growth to and from campus. The literature indicates that transit ridership does not necessarily reduce the number of vehicles nor the growth of vehicular traffic to campus because growth in university enrollment in evitably results in growth of commu t ing students as well as increases in staff and fac u lty. However, reducing the availability of parking or locating parking in remote areas can great l y reduce the amount of vehicular traffic in the campus core. T he literature also indicates that growth in transit ridership can also be correlated to decli nes in walk and bicycle modes of travel, but only in areas where transit service is provided. Existing conditions at USF already promote motor vehicle traffic traveling to and within the campus to the degree that walk and bike trips are not currently significant to the overall mode split. Therefore, a "no transit" alternative will only continue the current trend of encouraging single-occup ant vehicle travel to campus, which will make the goal of achieving a balanced transportation system virtually not achievable. Therefore, a transit a lternative could play a significant role in mitigating the growth of vehicle travel to campus Objective #3: Reduce demand for parking spaces in the campus core. The literature and univers i ty profiles clearly show that parking availability and pricing have a definite impact on promoting transit and other modes of travel to campus. In the case of South Carolina, there is a huge pricing difference between core campus and remote commuter lot pricing which greatly supports transit usage. In Central Florida, 31


although parkin g decals are not restricted, there is no guarantee of a space for a decal s old. In Boulder, parking is highly constrained a n d pricing is astronomical, resulting i n 50 0 ,000 transit passenger trips per y ear with only one route. USF is currently pursuing th e construction of additional perim eter lots (one new lot a t the old bookstore location opening Fall 1997) that will also be priced much lower than core campus parking. The Parking div ision has just instituted a tremendous expansion to on campus transit service that increases the number of routes from one to three and provides loop service that covers the entire campus. By the time a dd itional perimeter lots are opened, students w ill already be accus to med t o the c ampus shuttle system such that any changes to core campus parking a v ailability and/or pricing will be m uch l ess severe. Also, any policy c hanges tha t limit student park ing decals to a particular region of campus will al so have the impact of reducing internal vehicular traffic and promoting shuttle use to other parts o f campus. Although the above conditions are very favorable to this objective an d will promo te reduction of future park ing demand, it mus t be not ed that when compared to other universities, the cost of parking at USF remains in expensive an d unconstrained Any alterations to these conditions, whether by pol icy or b y new development closing exis ting lots, can only have the impact of promoting the success of transit a lterna t ives in surrounding residential areas and perimeter Jots. Objective # 4: Provide linkage betwee n any new transit-alternative and on-campus transit service as well as the regional transit system. This is a highly critical element to creating a balanced transportation system. Students who currently rely on their cars to trave l to and on campus are dependent for the follow ing reasons: 32


the two six-lane divided arterials that stii:round the campus (Fowler and Bruce B. Downs), as well as a four lane divided arterial (Fletcher) do not provide a safe environment for walking or biking to campus; the size of the campus is such that walking from one side of campus to another can be impossible given the long distances and amount of scheduled time between classes; and driving to campus enables students to easily and conveniently get back home if they have long gaps between classes. With the efforts currently undertaken by the Parking Division to expand on-campus mobility, coupled with connection points to the regional HARTline system, a new transit circulator alternative must provide conne ctivity such that students can experience a trust and confidence that leaving their cars back at the apartment v.ill not hamper the freedoms they maintained when driving. Connectivity between the services establishes a continuity that makes non-vehicular modes more viable in the eyes of customers. Object ive #5: Position any new transit alternative as a stimulus and a catalyst for other modes such as pedestrian and bicycle travel as well as ridesharing alternatives Tbis objective is intended to keep in mind that the goal of the circulator is to achieve a balanced transportation system for the campus and that transit does not stand alone in that quest. The literature and profiles indicate balancing travel to campus involves more practical concerns that cause transit service to be successful, such as high residential densities in proximity to campus creating a friendlier walk/bike environment or constrained parking creating remote parking lots


In the case ofUSF, the university is surrounded by two six-lane divided arter ia ls on the west and south sides of campus and a four lane div ided arterial to the north Only 50"' Street to the east is a two lane road. Circulator tr!lll5it alter:natives should be a catalyst for pedestrian bicycle, and pedestrian signalization improvements on and off campus for the purpose of creating a safer environment. In addition, the system of phys i cal improvements and on-campus and off-campus transit should establish a level of confidence and comfort that university employees can have their mid-day mobility needs met \vithout having access to a car during the day, thereby making ridesharing a viable alternative . Objective #6: Establish a sustainable funding plan for transit alternatives to establish a long term viability for service costs. The original Campus Transportation Survey completed by Penn State in 199 2 indicated t hat of the 186 universities surveyed, 79 funded transit all or in part by university general funds 54 funded transit all or in part by student fees, and 53 funded transit all or in part with parking fees. Only 17 universities funded transit with passenger fares. In the case ofUSF, current plans call for the construction of nine (9) new parking garages in campus perimeter areas that will replace Jot closings in the campus core and will be priced much higher than surface lots because of the costs to build and maintain parking garages versus surface l ots. Therefore, the potential sources for funding transit seJ:Vices include university general funds, funds that are set aside by the Board of Regents to miti gate the impa ct of universities on host community infrastructure, parking fees, and Stud ent Government participation. However, additional investigation is necessary to determine the overall appropriate funding formula. 34


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