Improving University Transportation Sustainability: Reducing Barriers to Campus Bus and Bicycle Commuting

By Robert Schneider and Lingqian Hu.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Many urban universities throughout the world are promoting sustainable commuting. Shifting drive-alone trips to bus and bicycle modes can improve sustainability by reducing air pollution, energy consumption, and the number of automobile parking spaces needed in a constrained campus environment. This paper uses the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) as a case study to identify barriers that may prevent students, faculty, and staff from commuting to an urban campus by sustainable modes such as bus and bicycle. Travel survey responses were gathered from approximately 3,000 students and 600 faculty and staff at UWM. Responses were stratified to identify barriers cited by short-distance drivers and existing bus and bicycle commuters, groups who may have considerable potential to increase bus and bicycle use. These groups revealed that travel time was the most significant barrier to bus commuting. Their open-ended survey comments also emphasized the bus barriers of reliability, cost, and off-peak service coverage. Barriers to bicycling among this subset of respondents included weather, road safety, and road conditions. The prominence of these bicycle barriers tended to be greater for respondents with longer commutes. Bicycle access and security were barriers to short-distance bicycle commuting. The results point to specific strategies (e.g., establish more express bus routes, increase bus frequency during off-peak hours, improve bicycle facility connections to campus, remove snow and ice from bicycle routes, establish a local bike-share program) that can be implemented by universities and their local government partners to increase sustainable commuting.

Keywords: Sustainable Transportation, Urban Campus Commuting, Barriers

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.17-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 669.646KB).

Dr. Robert Schneider

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Dr. Lingqian Hu

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA