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University Campuses Like Miami University Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving
New Report: University Campuses Like Miami University Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving
Columbus, February 5th – As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like Miami University are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released today. The report, titled, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” was released by the Ohio PIRG Education Fund.
“Across America, colleges and universities are showing that efforts to meet increased demand for transportation options deliver powerful benefits for their community and surrounding areas,” said Bryan Stewart at the Ohio PIRG Education Fund. “These efforts are saving money for universities, and improving the quality of life on campus.”
Americans aged 16 to 34 years of age reduced their annual driving miles by 23 percent per person between 2001 and 2009, according to research based on the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration that is included in the study.
“Miami University has drawn up a long-term master plan to encourage more walking, biking and transit riding. They’ve been making improvements to pedestrian and biking paths, with more specific enhancements already planned. The city Planning Commission has been considering similar kinds of improvements, and along with the university, the city is working with Butler County Transit Authority (BCRTA) to improve county-wide transit services for students as well as community members,” said Stewart.
According to Jung-Han Chen, the city of Oxford’s Community Development Director, “The City is looking for different ways to encourage students to walk and bike from where they live off-campus to Campus by considering more crosswalks and bike-friendly infrastructure improvements in an effort to create a network that allows pedestrians and bicyclist to go from place to places in a safe and convenient way.”
According to Susan Meikle, from Miami University’s Department of News and Communications, Miami has begun installation of new multi-use paths with bike-friendly sections of scored pavement on campus. Additionally, work will start this summer, between Miami and the City of Oxford to create a new bike lane on Spring Street which will also include a “Bike Box” – a protected “box” painted on the pavement for bikes to allow safe turning at one of the busiest intersections on Miami’s campus.
“As a graduate of Miami University, I saw scores of students who lived off campus use the buses on a daily basis. I also witnessed many improvements over the years, like one particular bus route being extended to include an additional local grocery store so students would have better access and options when it came to grocery shopping. Now, I live near the Ohio State University’s campus and live with roommates who attend Ohio State. My roommates as well as other students I know who attend OSU use the buses as an alternative to driving their cars and use apps on their phones to know when the next bus is coming,” said Stewart.
As Baby Boomers grow older, Millennials have become America’s largest generation. Since government investments in transportation infrastructure often last decades, the question of whether current investment will match the needs of future travelers depends largely on how well Millennials’ preferences will be met.
“University and college campuses are at the forefront of encouraging new ways to get around that don’t depend on personal cars. Public officials who want to stay ahead of the curve should be taking notes,” said Stewart.
The report describes how universities are improving their communities by providing a wider range of transportation choices. This includes buses, biking, various types of vehicle-sharing that makes it easier not to have a personal car, and convenient apps that make it easier to navigate the options. The report also documents how campuses seek to avoid the steep costs of building additional parking facilities.
“Universities have a lot in common with cities,” added Stewart. “They must get the most value out of limited land, they are acutely aware of problems associated with being overrun by cars, and they need to focus on the tastes and aspirations of young people. It’s no wonder that universities are leaders in finding successful ways to make it easier for people to drive less.”
Here is a link where you can download the report, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy.”
The report is the sixth in a series of studies on the national shift away from driving. The first report, Transportation and the New Generation, documents the dramatic decline of driving among Millennials. The second, A New Direction, examines the causes of declining driving and the implications for future transportation policy. The third, Moving Off the Road, documents state-by-state differences in declining driving, and shows how these differences do not correspond to how hard states were hit by the recession. The fourth, A New Way to Go, explores how new technologies and changing technological habits among Millennials are connected to the nation’s decline in driving and can encourage less car-dependent lifestyles in the future. The firth report, Transportation in Transition, released in early December, examines the data on declining driving and increasing transit and biking in America’s 100 largest cities.
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