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IMPACTS OF TRANSPORTATION DEMAND MANAGEMENT POLICIES
AND TEMPORARY CAMPUS TRANSIT USE ON THE PERMANENT TRANSIT
HABITS AND ATTITUDES OF UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ALUMNI
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In Memory of Andrew Factor, Christopher Zeiss and Premal Dagly
I would like to thank the following people for their support of my thesis research.
Special thanks to my thesis committee chair, employer and advisor Professor Ruth L.
Steiner. Her guidance, support and advice have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The other members of my thesis committee deserve thanks as well. Professor Joshua
Comenetz and Dr. Linda Crider have lent their expertise and advice at critical moments
through this process, and their input has been very valuable. Professor Paul Zwick, Linda
Dixon of UF Campus Facilities Planning and Construction, Doug Robinson of the
Regional Transit System, and Bob Miller, Vice President for UF Finance and
Administration, have also assisted this project in several ways.
This project was an expensive one, and without in-kind support the cost would
have been prohibitive. The Urban and Regional Planning Department generously
supplied me with thousands of letterhead and return mail envelopes, significantly
reducing the cost of the project.
Members of my family were also integral to the process. Special thanks go to my
sister Carly Bond for her effort at the start of this project. Without her work, this project
would have ended before it began. My parents, Carolyn and Tony Bond, have given me
their undying love and support throughout my time at the University of Florida.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S ............................................................................................... iii
LIST OF TABLES ................................................... vii
LIST OF FIGURES ....................................... ........... ............................ ix
A B S T R A C T ........................................................................................................ ........... x
1 INTRODUCTION ..................................... .......... .......................... 1
2 L ITER A TU R E R E V IEW ................................................................... ................. 4
Transportation Demand Management....................................................................... 4
Public T ransit In A m erica. ..................................................................... .............. 12
T ran sit R id ersh ip ....................................................................................................... 12
M o d a l S p lit .............................................................................................................. .. 12
T ran sit F u n d in g ......................................................................................................... 15
F lorida T ransit Funding .. ................................................................... .............. 16
B u s T ran sit ............... .. .. ... ... ......................................................................... 17
Bus Fare Elasticity and Free-Fare Transit ............... ... .............. 18
Other Service Characteristics to Build Transit Ridership................................... 20
N on-U ser Studies .... .. ...... ............. .......................................................... .......... 25
U university Transportation .. .................................................................... .............. 26
C am pu s P parking .................................................. .............................................. 2 7
C am pu s T ran sit ............... ... .................................................................................... 2 9
Unlimited Access and Fare Structure ................................................. 31
C am pus T ransit C ase Studies................................................................ .............. 33
Permanent Effects of Temporary Transit Use ........................................................ 37
3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ............................................................................. .............. 39
Survey A dm inistration ...... .. ................................................................. .............. 39
S u rv ey S c o p e ............................................................................................................... 4 0
Freshman Survey ................................ .. ......... .................................... 41
A lu m n i S u rv ey .............................................................................................................. 4 2
L im ita tio n s ................................................................................................................. ... 4 3
O their R research M ethods... ..................................................................... .............. 43
4 BACKGROUND .................................................. .......................... 45
T he U university of F lorida.. ..................................................................... .............. 45
R regional T ransit Sy stem ........................................................................... ............. 52
Cam pus Transit Service A greem ent ......................................................... .............. 56
T transportation A access F ee ........................................ ......................... .............. 58
Service E nhancem ents .... ................................................................ .............. 62
Stan d ard C ity R ou tes ....... .. ...................................... ........................ .............. 6 3
C am pus C irculator R outes ................................................................. .............. 65
L after G ator ........................................................................................................ 66
5 RESULTS AND DISCU SSION .................................. ....................... .............. 68
T ran sp o rtatio n H ab its................................................................................... .............. 6 8
Transportation B before A attending UF .................................................... .............. 69
Transportation W while Enrolled .................................... ...................... .............. 70
Transportation A after G raduation........................................................... .............. 71
Transit A attitudes and K now ledge ............................................................. .............. 73
Transportation Demand Management and Public Policy ....................................... 77
Self-Selection for T ransit U se........................................ ........................ .............. 81
F lorida R residency ....................................................................... ......... ..... ... 8 1
M ultifam ily and Single Fam ily residents.............................................. .............. 83
D isc u s sio n ..................................................................................................................... 8 5
T transportation H abits... ...................................................................... .............. 85
Transit A attitudes and K now ledge ......................................................... .............. 87
T D M and P public P olicy .. ...................................................................... .............. 89
Self-Selection for Transit U se..................................... ....................... .............. 89
6 C O N C L U SIO N S .................................................... ............................................... 92
Conclusions ................................................. ................. 92
P olicy R ecom m endations.. ..................................................................... .............. 95
R T S R ecom m endations .......................................... ........................... .............. 96
City of G ainesville Recom m endations ................................................. .............. 98
U university of Florida Recom m endations.............................................. .............. 99
Recommendations for Future Research...... ........ .................... 100
A INFORMED CONSENT PROTOCOL.............. .................... 103
B INCOMING FRESHMEN SURVEY ...... ........ ...... .................... 104
C A L U M N I SU R V E Y ................................................. ............................................ 108
D FRESHM EN RAW SURVEY DATA ...................................................... .............. 112
E ALUM N I RAW SURVEY D A TA ............................................................ .............. 140
R E F E R E N C E S ........................................................................................ ................... 17 2
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................................................. .............. 178
LIST OF TABLES
1 TD M Strategies O organized by A spect..................................................... .............. 6
2 United States, Means of Transport to Work 2000 ............................................ 14
3 Transit System Characteristics by University and City Size............................. 30
4 Parking and D ecal Sales, 2003................................... ...................... .............. 51
5 T otal R idership 1995 to 2003 .................................... ...................... .............. 55
6 Campus Circulator Route Ridership 1995 to 2003 .......................................... 55
7 Student Subsidy/Transportation Access Fee Growth ....................................... 61
8 2004-2005 Standard City Routes and Funding Levels ..................................... 64
9 Funding and Frequency of Campus Circulator Routes..................................... 66
10 2004-2005 Later Gator Route Funding and Service Characteristics ................. 67
11 Parents' M ode of Travel to W ork ..................................................... .............. 70
12 Transit Service U se at U F ...................................... ........................ .............. 71
13 A lum ni Travel to W ork M ode Split.................................................. .............. 72
14 Frequency of Transit U se....................................... ........................ .............. 73
15 Attractive RTS Service Factors for Alumni.................................................... 73
16 Willingness to Ride Direct Transit Route to Work................................ 74
17 W willingness to U se Transit...................................... ....................... .............. 76
18 R regular vs. F are Free Transit............................................................ .............. 77
19 Behavioral Response to Parking Restriction................................................... 78
20 Transit Reduces Traffic Congestion ................................................. .............. 79
21 Willingness to Vote for a Pro-Transit Political Candidate ............................. 80
22 TDM Policies and Their Impact on Willingness to Bike and Walk ..................... 80
23 W ish Transit W as a B better O ption.................................................... .............. 81
24 Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents to Transit Frequency .................. 82
25 Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents' Mode of Travel to Work........... 83
26 Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents' Willingness to Use Transit ....... 83
27 Multifamily and Single Family Residents' Transit Frequency.......................... 84
28 Multifamily and Single Family Mode of Travel to Work............................... 85
29 Multifamily and Single Family Willingness to Use Transit.............................. 85
LIST OF FIGURES
1 Percent of Transit Trips Taken (Transit Modal Split) ...................................... 13
2 Nationwide Total of Transit Agency Funding 1991-2001................................ 15
3 All Campus Parking Facilities and Core Campus Area.................................... 49
4 U F P ark and R ide F facilities ...................................... ....................... .............. 50
5 R T S R oute System ..... .. .................................. ........................... .............. 54
6 Campus and Total RTS Ridership Growth....................................................... 56
7 Hometown Housing of Incoming Freshmen..................................................... 69
8 Knowledge of Transit System Information......................................... .............. 75
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Urban and
IMPACTS OF TRANSPORTATION DEMAND MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND
TEMPORARY CAMPUS TRANSIT USE ON THE PERMANENT TRANSIT HABITS
AND ATTITUDES OF UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ALUMNI
By Alexander Bond
Chairperson: Ruth L. Steiner
Major Department: Urban and Regional Planning
The University of Florida began financially supporting the Regional Transit
System in 1998, allowing students to ride busses without paying a fare and substantially
improving service characteristics such as frequency and hours of operation. Students
have responded by shifting their commuting patterns away from single occupant
automobiles, and have played the pivotal role in boosting RTS' ridership by 284% in the
first six years of the program.
Students at the University of Florida are provided with high-quality, free-fare
transit during their period of attendance. Students are also subjected to a comprehensive
set of transportation demand management (TDM) policies intended to curb their use of
automobiles and shift their commutes toward alternative modes of transportation. After
graduation, most move away from the City of Gainesville to find employment. Alumni
must make new transportation choices, based on their new environs. The purpose of this
project is to understand how temporary exposure to TDM policies and high-quality transit
impacts permanent transit habits and attitudes.
Two mail surveys were administered, mimicking a time-series survey. Incoming
freshmen to the University were surveyed prior to their arrival at UF. Recent alumni
were surveyed as well, and the alumni responses can be compared to the freshmen
responses. Respondents were asked questions about transit use, transit system
knowledge, attitudes toward transportation policies, and attitudes toward TDM policies.
Survey results show a slight increase in transit ridership among alumni. Despite
the increase in ridership, alumni indicate they are less willing to ride transit than
freshmen. Upon deeper investigation, two "self-selection" factors for transit use were
identified: non-Florida residency and living in multifamily housing. The most important
factors for influencing transit use were fare cost and parking restriction.
This project concludes that people of all ages and backgrounds will ride transit
under certain circumstances. Those circumstances are parking pricing or restriction and
high-frequency transit. Low cost or free-fare transit may also be valuable if target users
are low-income or otherwise transportation disadvantaged. Prior automobile use does not
preclude the user from riding transit. Similarly, temporary transit use does not translate
into permanent habits once the users' life circumstances change. The decision on
whether to use transit is based on the transportation environment, which is largely shaped
by transportation demand management policies. This study concludes that TDM systems
in most cities-particularly those in Florida-are not comprehensive enough to influence
automobile users to change modes to transit.
The bulk of communities throughout the nation have failed to create a modal shift
toward transit because they have failed to implement a variety of complementary
transportation demand management (TDM) policies. TDM policies are those that
discourage single occupant automobile use and promote the use of alternative modes.
Universities are better equipped and more motivated than their surrounding communities
to implement comprehensive TDM programs. For many universities, increasing public
transit's mode share is the primary goal of their TDM programs.
Universities across the country are partnering with their communities' public
transit agencies to provide enhanced transit service to their campuses (Brown et al. 2003).
Schools hope to increase the number of students and staff that commute to campus by
bus, thus reducing the demand for parking on campus. Some schools offer unlimited
access, which allows users to board the bus without paying a fare. Many universities
improve the frequency, amenities and operating hours of transit routes serving the
The University of Florida is one university that has partnered with its local transit
agency to provide unlimited access, high frequency service. The partnership has been
very successful, increasing the system-wide number of transit riders 284% since its
inception in 1998. In 2004, the Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) carried
8.2 million riders per year, the majority of whom are students. RTS is now the 4th largest
transit system in the State of Florida despite serving the 17th largest county. Alachua
County now has the highest ratio of riders per capital of any county in Florida (NTD
The high rate of transit use in Gainesville (and Alachua County) stands in stark
contrast to the rest of the state. Florida is one of the most automobile dependent states in
the nation (Census 2000). Most of Florida was developed using suburban urban design,
the least transit-supportive pattern. Eighty five percent of the student population at the
University of Florida are in-state students, and as such have been raised in an
environment where private automobiles are the mode of choice for all trips. Since the
University of Florida has adopted a variety of TDM policies-including enhanced transit
service-students have been prompted to break their pre-conceived notions about using
alternative modes. Some students choose to walk or bike. Some choose to ride the bus.
Many students that persist in driving use busses to reach the core of campus from parking
For many students riding the bus to, from and around the University of Florida
campus will represent their first sustained experience with bus transit. Seventy eight
percent of alumni report that they used RTS busses during their time at UF. It is clear
that students are amenable to riding the bus while in attendance at UF. But what happens
after they graduate? Most students will leave Gainesville, and most of those who stay
will no longer commute to campus. Will alumni continue to ride public transit in their
new communities? The purpose of this project is to explore how temporary transit use
impacts permanent transit habits and attitudes.
To answer questions about transit use after graduation, two mail surveys were
administered. The first survey was sent to incoming freshmen to establish "baseline"
data about transit habits and attitudes before arriving at the University. The second
survey was sent to alumni and asked many of the same questions. Data from the alumni
survey can be compared to the freshman survey, exposing any changes in transit habits or
attitudes toward public transportation.
Research questions. Three principal research questions are asked during this
project. The research questions are
1) Do alumni of the University of Florida ride public transit more frequently
than before they attended UF?
2) Do attitudes and perceptions about bus transit change after using busses on
and around the University of Florida Campus?
3) Which, if any, Transportation Demand Management policies are perceived
as being most effective by freshmen and alumni?
There are also some subsidiary research questions. These questions are:
1) What characteristics of bus transit and ancillary TDM policies at the
University of Florida make busses an attractive commuting option?
2) How educated are students and alumni on transit options?
3) Do students and alumni take transportation factors into consideration when
choosing where to live before and after graduation?
4) Which TDM policies are supported by students/alumni?
This section contains a review of the existing literature on a variety of topics that
relate to public transportation, building bus ridership, and university transportation.
Public transit has many benefits for its community including lower traffic congestion,
lower air pollution, increased transportation equity and lower cost of living. Increasing
transit's share of passenger trips is an important goal of many metropolitan areas.
This section begins with a discussion of Transportation Demand Management
(TDM), which uses a variety of policy measures to create a more balanced transportation
system. A summary of current trends in transit ridership and administration follow. An
important component of TDM strategies is the enhancement of transit services, and a
section is included that discusses various service enhancements that have been proven to
build ridership. Transit systems that serve universities are covered in depth in the final
Transportation Demand Management
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is a package term for a variety of
planning strategies that promote the more efficient use of transportation resources.
Efficient use of the transportation system is becoming increasingly important as
widespread automobile use strains the existing road infrastructure, and available
government monetary resources cannot keep up with the demand for new roadway
capacity. The broad use of automobiles also has negative impacts on air quality, urban
design, and creates hardships to transportation disadvantaged persons such as the elderly,
poor or handicapped.
TDM strategies seek to reduce or mitigate the negative aspects of automobile
travel including congestion, air quality, and transportation inequity. They also seek to
build upon positive aspects of a balanced transportation system including economic
development, expanded housing choices, and a reduction in capital expenditure on
transportation infrastructure. Some TDM strategies include: more transportation mode
choices, improved convenience of alternative modes, efficient pricing and other financial
incentives, marketing of alternative modes, and land use changes that improve access and
reduce automobile dependency (Litman 2003).
TDM policies fall into three broad categories- positive, mixed and negative.
Positive TDM policies expand transportation options and access for all users and include:
Transit service improvements, flextime work hour scheduling, and carpool/vanpool
programs. Mixed TDM strategies expand options and access for only one segment of the
population, but do not adversely impact those who are not in the target group. Mixed
TDM strategies include: high occupant vehicle lanes, fare-free transit programs, and
traffic calming. Negative TDM strategies reduce options or increase costs. Negative
TDM strategies include: fuel tax increases, parking pricing, or auto-free zones (Victoria
Transportation Policy Institute [VTPI] 2004).
Erik Ferguson (1990) identifies TDM as a complementary strategy to
Transportation Supply Management (TSM). TSM strives to increase transportation
system capacity on all modes by forecasting infrastructure needs. TDM complements
TSM because it maximizes the use of all built transportation infrastructure. Ferguson
identifies five aspects of travel that can be altered to maximize the efficiency of the
existing transportation system: 1) Trip Generation, 2) Trip Distribution, 3) Mode Choice,
4) Route Selection (spatial), and 5) Route Selection (temporal). The five aspects of travel
and proven strategies to alter that aspect are summarized in Table 1 below:
Table 1-TDM Strategies Organized by Aspect
Aspect of Travel TDM Objective Selected Strategies
Trip Generation Eliminate trips -Growth management
Trip Distribution Move trips to less -Increased density
congested destination -Promote trip chaining
Mode Choice Move trips to higher -Bike/Ped amenities
occupancy modes -Parking pricing
Route Selection Move trips to a less -Traffic calming
(spatial) congested route -Intelligent transportation systems
Route Selection Move trips to less -Alternative work schedules
(temporal) congested time period -Jobs/Housing mix
Source: Ferguson (1990)
Individual TDM strategies have a modest impact on the transportation system as a
whole. However when multiple strategies are applied in concert, the impact on the
system can be substantial. When multiple strategies are applied at the same time, the
negative impacts on individual users are mitigated (Litman 1999). For example, if
parking pricing is instituted it may reduce vehicle travel by 3%. The increase in prices
will likely cause lower income users to end their automobile commutes, impacting them
substantially. If parking prices are increased, AND transit service is improved, vehicle
travel could be reduced by 8-10%. Lower income users who were priced out of parking
will find the transit system meets their needs, and higher income users will choose to ride
the transit system because it is more cost-effective.
TDM has been criticized for "forcing" people into using alternative modes,
particularly individuals with low income or educational attainment levels. These
criticisms view modes other than the automobile as inferior (Pisarksi 1999). Proponents
counter that TDM is in fact a market-based system that provides additional options and
price points to users. TDM balances accessibility with mobility. Few TDM strategies
actually force people to change their transportation habits. Most strategies create
financial, convenience or time incentives to reduce automobile use (Litman 1999).
Comprehensive TDM programs have gained their broadest support in Europe,
particularly the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium. TDM policies are built
into the national transportation policies of these European nations. This stands in stark
contrast to the United States, where TDM policies vary from locality to locality (Cleland
and Cooper 2003). There are three themes of European TDM that deserve particular
attention when discussing TDM in a college/university setting. First, utilizing TDM
transportation alternatives is marketed as the socially responsible norm in European
countries. In the United States, TDM-friendly behavior is marketed as an alternative to
the automobile-dependent culture. Second, many European cities were founded and
substantially built prior to widespread automobile ownership. The opposite is true of
many US cities, but many universities were established prior to the automobile-era
(including the University of Florida). Last, recent European TDM programs have been
negative TDM programs that increase costs or reduce automobile accessibility. Road
pricing has recently been instituted in inner London, Singapore and Rome. These
"negative" TDM strategies have not been given serious consideration by most American
cities, however they have been employed by some universities. Colleges and
universities-like dense urban areas-must reduce single occupant vehicle use, promote
an alternative mode oriented environment, and employ negative TDM policies as the
norm, more closely resembling a European TDM model.
Published literature focuses mostly on decreasing automobile dependence
(Hodgson and Tight 1999) and best practice discussions (Vuchic 2001). The literature
does not fully address the unique transportation environment found on a university
campus. Universities have a mixed population who commute on irregular schedules-
classes and other activities are scheduled throughout the day. They also function as a
distinct community, and value interpersonal contact. Universities often have written
TDM policies promoting bicycle and pedestrian trips over automobiles (Balsas 2002).
Balsas does not go into much detail about transit-promoting TDM measures; however he
found that universities value a pedestrian environment-often having written bicycle and
pedestrian capital improvement plans and education programs.
An important component of any TDM plan is the control, restriction and pricing
of parking resources. Restricting the unlimited supply of parking creates a disincentive
for travel by single occupant car, thus reducing congestion. Universities have a dual need
for controlling the parking supply on campus. Beyond the obvious benefit of lower
congestion, universities have limited space and financial resources to dedicate to parking
infrastructure. By implementing TDM parking policies, universities can save substantial
amount of already scarce space and money-and apply those resources to its mission of
Parking regulation and pricing is a powerful TDM strategy. Charging fees for
parking where public transit is available would cause a rise in ridership. If no public
transit is available, parking pricing would stimulate more ridesharing (Downs 1992).
The parking situation on university campuses stands in strong contrast to their
surrounding communities. Keniry (1995) joking states that a "University is a group of
faculty, students and administrators held together by a common grievance over parking."
This jesting comment underscores how conditioned the American population is to the
suburban parking environment, and how university students (and faculty) must adapt
their travel behavior to the university setting. Suburban automobile users expect a free,
reserved parking space close to, or at, their destination (Beyard et al. 2003).
Contemporary urban planning mandates dedicated parking spaces for each land
use. Minimum parking requirements are a form of government intervention that
circumvents what would otherwise be a market system of paid parking. Ninety nine
percent of American automobile trips terminate in a free parking space (Shoup 1999).
Richard Willson (1995) surveyed planning directors in 144 cities and found that the
minimum parking requirements were based on either a) the parking standards of
neighboring cities or b) the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Parking Generation
Handbook. Most, if not all, minimum parking requirements are thus based on ITE
standards. In practice, peak parking demand has very little correlation with the standards
listed in the ITE handbook.1
Parking requirements in cities throughout the United States inflate the supply and
virtually eliminate the price of parking. But minimum parking requirements do not
eliminate the cost of parking. The cost of parking is built into the total expense of the
1 Shoup (1999) cites an example from the ITE Parking Generation Handbook. ITE studies on fast food
restaurants show a range from 3.55 to 15.92 spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor space. The majority of
localities use the standard of 9.95 spaces per 1,000 square feet, even though the ITE handbook shows that
only 4% of the peak parking demand is attributable to floor square footage variance.
development. The cost of the free parking is then absorbed by the landowner or passed
along to consumers (Shoup 1999). Constructing parking spaces can be quite expensive,
and the cost varies greatly based on the value of the land it is built on. Above or below
grade (structured) parking spaces cost between $10,000 and $25,000 per space. Surface
spaces cost $2,000-$3,000 each. Universities are in a peculiar position when it comes to
parking facility construction. They are non-profit entities, and cannot "mark up" the
price of goods to cover parking facility costs. Universities must charge students and
faculty who use parking spaces to recover at least a portion of the costs associated with
facility construction and maintenance (Shoup 1999). Since universities are unable or
unwilling to provide free parking, it follows that universities should incorporate parking
pricing into their TDM plans. By applying ancillary TDM programs- such as ridesharing,
enhanced transit services, and bike/ped capital improvements universities can capitalize
on the necessary parking pricing to create a comprehensive TDM program. The multiple
TDM strategies applied in concert could have the effect of stimulating substantial
transportation behavioral changes.
Morrall and Bolger (1996) found a strong inverse correlation between the
available proportion of parking spaces and transit's share of peak-hour commuters. In
places with fewer available parking spaces (and presumably priced parking), transit use
was high. In places with an excess of parking spaces, transit use was low. The
correlation is weaker in United States cities and stronger in Canada. This study also
found that more people used transit when the ratio of jobs to the number of parking
spaces was lower.
A TCRP study (Kuzmayak et al. 2003) found that transit tends to be competitive
in dense areas such as central business districts [or university campuses] for several
reasons. First, motorists face long walks after parking their vehicles. After parking in a
CBD, motorists were found to walk between 500 and 950 feet to their end destination.
The walking leg of the trip is shorter or equal if transit is used instead of an automobile.
Second, travelers must decide on a cost/convenience tradeoff. Riding public transit costs
less money than operating and parking a vehicle. However travelers are bound by the
transit provider's schedule and route network. Third, dense areas possess multiple
potential destinations within one area. This reduces the necessity of an automobile for
midday trips and promotes trip chaining. Fourth, at the extreme parking is simply not
available, legal, or its price point is too high for most users.
One study conducted in The Hague, Netherlands looked at the users of a 200
space high-demand CBD parking lot before and after its closure. The number of transit
trips taken during the week after lot closure went from 22 to 80, a 224% increase.
Transit's mode share increased from 5% to 19%. Previously, all 200 cars were single
occupant vehicles. After the lot closure, 4% of the displaced persons chose to carpool.
The bicycle/pedestrian modal share did not change, remaining at 4%. Despite the shift
toward public transit, single occupant vehicle commuting remained the overwhelming
majority at 74% (Gantvoort 1984). Automobile commuters chose to park at a more
distant location. The finding of this study has some mitigating factors. All of the
'before' trips taken were single occupant vehicular commuters. Work commuters have
very little choice as to the timing of their trip, and cannot choose whether or not to make
the trip. Public transit was already in place, yet the subjects of the study were choosing
not to avail themselves of it. Universities are somewhat different in that students have
a moderate amount of control over the timing of their trip, and often whether or not to
make the trip. Students also have a more limited budget than commuters to a major
European urban center.
Public Transit In America
Public transit has been experiencing a moderate resurgence in recent years. The
decade from 1985-1995 was one of ridership stagnation or decline. Public transit
ridership has been growing since, rising 18.7% between 1995 and 2001. In 2001,
9.5 billion riders took public transit. Since 2001, transit gave up a small percentage of its
gains, dropping to 9.2 billion riders in 2003.2 The number of bus riders has increased
every year since 1996, rising by 12.2% to 5.2 billion bus riders per year in 2001 (APTA
2003). Despite the ridership gains, busses carry less than 2% of all trips nationwide, and
most of those trips are work-related (Brown, et al. 2001).
Busses have been declining in their share of the transit rides. The reason for the
decrease in busses' share of trips is that other modes have been adding more route miles
to their systems or attracting new riders. Demand response/paratransit, heavy rail and
vanpool systems have each added significant amounts of route miles since 1995.
Figure 1 demonstrates the national modal split in 2001.
2 Data from 2002 and 2003 are preliminary. The term 'public transit' covers several modes of intra-city
travel including bus, light rail, subway, trolley, heavy rail, commuter rail, vanpool, demand
response/paratransit, ferries and other motorized alternative modes.
o -:0 ],
_- 30.0 -
0 1 U 2 25
Bus Light Rail Commuter Heavy Rail Vanpool Demand Other
Figure 1-Percent of Transit Trips Taken (Transit Modal Split)
Source: 2001 National Transit Summaries and Trends
Busses remain the "workhorse" of the public transit system, carrying 57.9% of all
transit riders. Busses carry nearly all of the able-bodied transit riders in small and
medium-sized communities, where rail modes generally do not exist. Heavy rail has the
second largest ridership share with 30.3%. Other modes carry a very small share of
public transport riders (NTD/FTA 2002).
All of the discussion to this point has been growth and modal split ii i/hi/n the
broad category of transit. Cars remain by far the most dominant mode of travel,
particularly for travel to work. Transit accounts for a small portion of the total
transportation system. Table 2 shows the modal split for travel to work from the
Table 2-United States, Means of Transport to Work 2000
Mode USA Users Percent of US Florida Users Percent of FL
Single Occupant 97,102,050 75.7% 5,445,527 78.8%
Carpool 15,634,051 12.2% 893,766 12.9%
Home Work 4,184,223 3.3% 207,089 3.0%
Walk 3,758,982 2.9% 118,386 1.7%
Bus 3,206,682 2.5% 108,340 1.6%
Subway/Elevated 1,885,961 1.5% 6,851 0.1%
Commuter Rail 658,097 0.5% 3,638 0.05%
Bicycle 488,497 0.38% 14,967 0.2%
Taxicab 200,144 0.16% 8,708 0.1%
Motorcycle 142,424 0.11% 14,967 0.2%
Streetcar3 72,713 0.0005% 954 0.01%
Ferry 44,106 0.0003% 629 0.009%
Other 901,298 0.70% 207,089 3.0%
Source: 2000 US Census with calculation
Automobiles have an 87.9% modal share for travel to work. This figure is even
higher in small communities where transit options are limited or simply unavailable. The
share of commuters that travel by bus is 2.5%, and that share is even eclipsed by walkers.
Florida's commuters use automobiles at a 3.1% higher rate. Walking and bus riding are
less common in Florida than nationwide. In fact, Florida commuters use all alternative
modes at a lower rate than nationwide commuters. Long commutes occupy valuable time
that could be devoted to work, family or civic activities. Long commutes also drive up
personal transportation costs because of increased expenditures on fuel and depreciation
of automobiles. The average American takes 25.5 minutes each way to get to work,
while Floridians spend an average of 26.2 minutes (Census 2002).
3 The choices presented on the census form do not contain a clear choice for light rail or vanpool. Light rail
users could think they should enter Streetcar or Subway/Elevated. Vanpool users could think they should
enter Bus or Carpool.
With little demand for public transit, agencies have had to subsidize their
operation with outside sources of money. Transit agencies across the nation depend on a
variety of sources to subsidize their operation. Figure 2 below shows the sources of
transit agency operating expenses in 2001. The largest source of transit funding remains
local government subsidy. However the local government contribution to public transit
has been decreasing, falling from 29.3% in 1991 to 24.9% in 2001. Federal assistance
also fell by more than 3%.4 The finance of public transit has shifted toward farebox
recovery and "other" sources of funds. Those categories rose 2.3% and 5% respectively
between 1991 and 2001. The rise in receipts from the farebox is attributable to the rise in
the total number of riders. "Other" sources of funding include advertising sales,
development partnerships and employer-based subsidy.
Local State Federal Fare Other
[11 29.3 20.4 20.3 20.6 9.4
M2001 24.9 20.7 17.2 22.9 14.4
Figure 2-Nationwide Total of Transit Agency Funding 1991-2001
Source: National Transit Summary and Trends, 2002
4 The Federal government's role in funding transit operations is relatively small, however the Federal
government plays the largest role in providing start-up capital for fleet acquisition and infrastructure
construction, particularly for rail projects.
The amount subsidized per passenger has also been increasing, but only at or near
the rate of inflation. Subsidy per ride was $1.55 in 2001, up 27% over the previous
decade. Inflation over that period was approximately 30%. However, small and medium
urban areas subsidized riders at a higher rate. Small urban areas subsidize up to $2.42 for
each ride (NTD 2002).
Florida Transit Funding
The State of Florida contributes less than comparably sized states toward transit
operation. In 2001 the state appropriated $92 million to fund transit operation and capital
improvement. This ranks Florida as the twelfth largest supporter of public transit in
terms of dollars spent. Florida is the fourth largest state in the union with about
17 million residents. In terms of per capital spending on transit, Florida ranks eighteenth
of the fifty states (Cambridge Systematics 2003).
Florida collects approximately $2.2 billion annually from fuel taxes,
license/title/registration fees, and rental car taxes. Eighty five percent of this amount is
spent on road construction and maintenance. The remaining fifteen percent is divided
among other modes, with public transit receiving approximately four percent of the total.
Of the $92 million spent on public transit, $64.2 million is allocated to local transit
agencies through formula-based State Transit Bloc Grants. Local governments may
spend this money on public transit however they see fit.5 Another $9 million is allocated
to the Urban Transit Capital program, which is earmarked to address the backlog of
planned transit capital improvements in major urban areas. The Transit Corridor
5 Fifteen percent of the State Transit Bloc Grant funds are earmarked for the Transportation Disadvantaged
Trust Fund (Cambridge Systematics, 2003).
Program allocates $7.1 million for state-designated corridors. The Public Transit Service
Development Program spends $5.1 million a year on short-term pilot and trial programs.6
Another $6.2 million is spent through 3 programs to fund research, development and
special projects (Cambridge Systematics 2003). Most of the Federal and State transit
operational assistance goes to support bus transit.
As discussed in the transit ridership section, busses continue to carry the majority
of public transit passengers in the United States. Public transit riders can be divided into
two broad categories- Transportation Disadvantaged and Choice Riders. Transportation
Disadvantaged riders are dependent on public transit for mobility because they do not
have ready access to an automobile. Transportation disadvantaged persons account for
the majority of riders on busses, particularly in small urban areas. Choice riders have
access to automobiles, but choose to ride transit for certain trips because of time, cost or
other advantages that the mode offers.
Among Florida transit users, sixty two percent are female. Ridership is highest
among people of prime working age (30-49). When more automobiles are available to
the household, fewer transit trips are taken. Households that do not own automobiles
account for twenty percent of riders in Florida, below the national figure of thirty one
percent. Households with lower income also tend to ride transit more often than higher
income individuals. People with an annual income of less than $15,000 account for 40%
of transit riders in Florida. Nationwide the figure is much smaller (12%). This is
likely due to high-income transit users in large metropolitan areas nationwide. Transit
6 RTS received $150,000 between 2000 and 2001 under the Public Transit Service Development Program.
These funds helped with the start-up of the Later Gator program.
users-particularly in Florida-are likely to be minorities. Nationwide, white users account
for forty three percent of all riders. In Florida this percentage drops to nineteen percent.
Florida's black riders account for thirty one percent, close to the national average. The
disparity in ethnic makeup of riders in Florida can be attributed to Hispanic and two-race
riders (Thompson et al. 2002).
Bus Fare Elasticity and Free-Fare Transit
Fare elasticity is the concept that ridership will change according to the fare
charged. The industry standard known as the Simpson-Curtain rule sets fare/ridership
elasticity at -0.3. The rule states that if fares are increased 10%, ridership will decline by
3%. According to the Simpson-Curtain rule, if fares are reduced 100%, ridership should
increase by 30%. In practice, systems that institute free-fare transit experience ridership
gains closer to 50% (Hodge et al. 1994).
Theoretically, there are advantages to instituting a fare-free policy. Automobile
riders could be enticed to use transit, thereby reducing traffic congestion and emissions.
Transit systems would experience lower costs because there would be no need to collect
and account for fare funds. Busses would load and unload faster because fares would not
be collected and paper transfers would not need to be printed. The system would be
easier to use because users could not be confused over fares and passes. For small
agencies, collecting fares may be a revenue neutral exercise, because the farebox
recovery rate7 is sometimes less than 10%. Accounting, equipment and security
costs can easily exceed farebox receipts. However large transit agencies could suffer
7 Farebox recovery rate refers to the percentage of annual operations that are paid for through income
generated by fare-paying customers. Cash fares and bus pass sales are both included in the dollar figure of
income produced at the "Fare box."
substantial losses of revenue. In large agencies, farebox recovery can be as high as 35
Jennifer Perone (2000) claims that fare-free policies could be advantageous for
small systems, but not for large ones. Small systems such as Logan, UT and Commerce,
CA have had success with fare-free transit programs, and continue to offer it to their
communities. Amherst, MA, is a medium sized system that carries 6 million passengers
a year. All riders board fare-free, in part because the system's budget is supplemented by
funds from 5 local colleges and universities. There have been three attempts at
eliminating fares on an entire transit system in a large city. Denver, CO and Trenton, NJ
instituted a fare-free policy throughout their systems in the late 1970s. Austin, TX
attempted the same in 1989/1990. All three programs were discontinued within one year,
despite a dramatic rise in ridership. After the programs were discontinued, ridership
returned to its previous levels. These systems found that they were not attracting choice
riders and were having little impact on overall traffic congestion. Instead of taking
people out of cars, more trips were being taken by transportation disadvantaged riders.
Vandalism, vagrancy and rowdiness skyrocketed. The costs to maintain and repair transit
vehicles and bus stop infrastructure went up dramatically. The savings promised by
removing the farebox paled in comparison to the costs being expended on maintenance.
Additional busses were needed to meet peak demand (Perone 2002).
The key to increasing transit ridership is not necessarily tied to the fare. One
study found service frequency was valued nearly twice as much as the cost (Perone 2000
citing Cervero 1990). The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) found that
customer satisfaction of riders in Florida depended more on "frequency, routing and on-
time performance" (24%) than cost (10%). Eliminating fares is not enough to attract and
satisfy riders of public transit. Service characteristics must be improved as well (Cleland
and Thompson 2000).
Other Service Characteristics to Build Transit Ridership
Every time a person makes a trip, he or she must make decisions about which
mode best suits the trip. Each mode offers advantages over others. Users must decide on
tradeoffs between cost, convenience, comfort and time amongst other factors.
Automobiles offer distinctive advantages over busses under the prevailing transportation
system. However, certain attributes of bus transit can be changed to close the gap
between bus and car, thus helping busses gain modal share. Making transit more
attractive will help recruit "choice riders"-those with access to an automobile.
The scheduling of busses is the most often-cited factor for improving ridership.
Scheduling consists of the hours of operation, frequency of busses, and ease of transfer.
Choice transit riders take into consideration the time needed to complete their trip, and
compare the time savings to using an automobile. Since wait time is a component of total
travel time, transit is already at a substantial disadvantage. Improvements to bus
frequency reduce the wait time of patrons. Patrons arriving randomly to board a bus that
runs on 30 minute frequencies can expect to wait an average of 15 minutes but no more
than 30. As frequencies are shortened, the convenience of bus transit improves. A patron
arriving at random for a 10 minute frequency bus can expect to wait an average of 5
minutes or a maximum of 10 (Li 2003). Travelers tend to feel their total travel time is
longer than the actual travel time, particularly if there is an idle waiting period. Agnes
Moreau (1992) blamed travel "time drag" on several factors including transit users being
unoccupied, alone, anxious, and their travel delay being unexplained. Hess, Brown and
Shoup (2003) found that persons waiting for transit perceived their wait time to be nearly
twice as along as the actual wait time.
Increased frequency of busses causes a rise in ridership (and vice versa). The
ridership to service frequency elasticity averages +0.5. For every 10% reduction in
frequency, ridership increases by 5%. Ridership increases the most when routes change
from low frequency (30 minutes or more) to high frequency (less than 20 minutes).
When frequency is already medium or high, shortening the frequency has less of an
impact on ridership. For example, when a bus changes its frequency from 60 minutes to
20 minutes, ridership elasticity can improve by a factor exceeding +1.0. Patrons may
shift from other low-frequency routes to the new high frequency route. Walkers may be
attracted to very high frequency transit. However for a bus changing its frequency from
20 minutes to 10 minutes, the ridership elasticity will be far lower, and in some cases
negligible (Evans IV 2004).
Fare cost and bus frequency are the two most commonly cited service
characteristics that attract choice riders. The literature does not conclude which is more
effective at building ridership. Ridership gains are maximized when the two strategies
are applied in concert. A study in Dallas, TX found that inner city residents are more
sensitive to the cost of transit, while suburban residents are more sensitive toward bus
frequency. Presumably inner city residents were poor or transportation disadvantaged,
and preferred low-cost mobility. Suburban residents were choice transit riders who
desired convenient service. A fare decrease in Dallas of 29 percent along with a 16
percent increase in frequency yielded a 50 percent increase in ridership system-wide over
a three year period (Allen 1991).
Students riding the bus from graduate student apartments to the UCLA campus
have two transit options- one free bus and one that costs 75 cents. Both busses operate on
10-12 minute frequencies. Eighty six percent of students bypass the bus requiring a fare,
preferring to wait for the next free bus. The average wait time for those who chose to
wait was 5.3 minutes. This translates to the subjects valuing their time at a rate equal to
$8.50 per hour. Most people value their commute time at up to half of their hourly wage.
The bus requiring a fare payment was considered the most comfortable, yet the cost was
the overwhelming concern for students (Hess et al. 2003).
Flexibility (or convenience) is an important factor when deciding whether to use
transit. Automobile users value two flexible aspects of car travel. Temporal flexibility
allows drivers to depart at the time of day they choose without regard to schedules.
Spatial flexibility allows drivers to choose their path and arrive at destinations not served
by transit (Evans IV 2004). Abdel-Aty et al. (1996) found that California commuters
who needed to make multiple trips during work hours or those who worked in multiple
locations were far less likely to take transit. A study in Oslo, Norway found that transit
riders are willing to wait an extra 8-10 minutes or pay 33 cents [currency conversion
calculated] to avoid a bus transfer. Patrons were concerned about service reliability,
weather and a confusion of the procedures and costs of transferring busses (Evans IV
2004 citing Stangeby 1993). Transit can improve its flexibility by lengthening service
hours, reducing frequencies and adding new route miles. Transit systems can also offer
jitney busses and "guaranteed rides home" on taxis. However transit's ability to compete
with automobiles in terms of flexibility/convenience is limited (Evans IV 2004).
Safety associated with transit use can be a concern for some riders. Bus Rapid
Transit (a type of express bus service that runs in segregated right-of-way) riders in
Florida reported that after travel time, personal safety was the most important reason for
choosing private automobiles over public transit (Baites 2003). Most of the concern over
personal safety stems from waiting at stops. Evans et al. (1997) found that one aspect of
safety dealt with the transit patron's (now a pedestrian) interaction with street traffic and
the elements. High speed vehicular traffic, poor intersection design and the lack of
sidewalks contributed to the perception of danger. Bus stops that had sidewalks, shelters
and seating helped mitigate the sense of danger- and actual danger-of patrons waiting
for busses. Another aspect of safety deals with violent crime while waiting for the bus.
In some circumstances the perceived risk of violent crime is very real. In the urban core
of Los Angeles, one third of transit users reported being the victim of violent or property
crime while making a transit trip. The risk of crime was highly focused in the inner city
and at stops with hiding places (Loukaitou-Sideris and Liggett 2000). Suburban users
have a somewhat different experience. Reed et al. (1999) found that transit users
generally feel safe using transit, but their perceived fear of crime increased with longer
wait times. Reed also found that non-users think that transit is more dangerous than users
Every transit trip begins and ends with a pedestrian trip. The origin and
destination points of a person's trip must both be within reasonable walking distance of
the transit route. There is a growing movement to develop high-density land uses in
proximity to transit routes. This movement-commonly known at Transit Oriented
Development (TOD)-seeks to place land uses close to transit routes. The urban design
of the area around the transit stop is also important. The urban environment must be
appealing and pedestrian-friendly (Cervero 2001). Potential users must be within one
quarter mile of the transit stop to be realistically expected to walk to the transit stop.
Some users will walk (or bike) a longer distance, but choice riders generally will not walk
more than 14 mile (Johnson 2003). Longer walks add considerably to the user's out of
vehicle wait time (Li 2003).
Social acceptability can also be an important factor when deciding whether to
drive or take transit. Reese et al. (1980, cited in Thompson et al. 2002) found that social
stigmas exist toward users of public transit. People expressed concerns about the social
acceptability of busses. The perceived bias stigmatized transit users as being from a
lower socio-economic class. Reese's study also found that busses were the least
acceptable for evening activities. Users felt that transit was more socially acceptable than
Improving transit's amenities can help attract and retain choice riders or
infrequent riders. Additional amenities can also help raise the level of customer
satisfaction. A transit system with amenities generally has a better public image. Bus
stop amenities include infrastructure such as seating, lighting and even retail such as
newsstands. On-board amenities include low floor busses, courteous drivers, bike racks
and comfortable seats. Cleanliness both on-board and at stops is essential (PPS 1999).
A common perception is that consumers prefer rail transit to bus transit. The
social stigma holds that white-collar workers use rail transit, whereas blue-collar workers
frequent bus transit. Moshe Ben-Akiva (2002) refutes this perception using mathematical
models that prove bus rapid transit has an equal preference to rail transit. People slightly
preferred rail over bus transit that operates in the same right of way as automobiles
because busses realized no time savings over driving.
One aspect of transit amenities is the ease of information dissemination. The
availability of information is critical in attracting new riders. The public is generally
uneducated about transit. Bus routes are difficult to recognize and wait times are very
uncertain (Ben-Akiva 2002). Abdel-Aty et al. (1996) found that transit non-users are one
third more likely to use transit if they are given advanced information such as point-to-
point routing instructions, travel time estimates and single-route maps. Many people do
not intuitively understand transit and are unable to choose the correct routes, estimate
travel time, or decipher fare structures (Thompson et al. 2002 citing Hardin 2001).
Studies that focus on non-users of public transit are often very valuable to transit
researchers and planners. The goal is to build ridership, and non-users are the market that
transit seeks to attract. In a study of non-users in seventeen US cities, the relative
attractiveness of the automobile was cited as the reason for not using public transit.
Transit was viewed as having no clear advantage, while cars were viewed as having
flexibility and travel time advantages. However when non-users were presented with a
set of hypothetical service changes, 50% said they would ride transit under those
circumstances. The most popular hypothetical service changes were: dedicated bus lanes,
direct transit routes from home to work, and increased frequency (Thompson et al. 2002
citing Mierzejewski and Ball 1990).
Employer-based programs can help build transit ridership among non-users.
Oram and Stark (1996) found that employers who provided free or discounted individual
ride tickets showed a moderate increase in ridership among employees. Employees did
not generally switch their daily commute to transit. Instead they rode transit relatively
infrequently. Employees found it easier to use transit without committing to it entirely,
and employers saved considerable amounts of money by not purchasing monthly passes.
Employer-based programs have the effect of making transit non-users into infrequent
users. Employer-based programs can add 8-9% to the total number of riders on a transit
system (Conklin et al. 2001).
Employer-based transit programs are very similar to programs offered by colleges
and universities. Both employers and universities seek to reduce their costs associated
with parking, and give their constituents additional fringe benefits of attendance or
employment. Employers that reduce or eliminate their subsidy of free parking will be
able to use those funds to increase profits or reinvest in the company. Universities that
discontinue subsidized parking are able to use those funds to support the school's primary
missions of academic instruction and research. From the transit agency's point of view,
large employment sites and universities are substantial trip generators that need transit
service and have the potential to increase total ridership on the system.
Universities have a different set of transportation needs than their surrounding
communities. Universities value a walkable, green campus where buildings are in close
proximity to foster academic collaboration. Parking takes up valuable space that could be
devoted to classrooms or laboratories. Universities are major trip attractors. Students
commute on irregular schedules, since classes begin throughout the day. Cities expect
spikes in transportation demand during rush hours, while universities can expect a fairly
steady flow throughout the day. Finally, universities are experiencing rising costs for
constructing and administering transportation infrastructure, which detracts from the
university's primary mission of academics (Balsas, 2002). Universities are in an
excellent position to experiment with and implement transportation policy changes.
Universities have complete control over the road network, parking facilities and land uses
on their campus. Cities do not possess absolute power over these factors (Miller 2001).
Universities have begun to address their transportation needs in ways similar to
their municipal counterparts. A study by Gutkowski and Daggett (2003) found that 91
percent of surveyed universities maintained a campus master plan, and that 70 percent of
schools had a dedicated transportation section. But only 57 percent of universities
incorporate public transit into their campus plans.
Exposing students to alternative modes could have lasting impacts on the nation's
transportation system. Rodney Tolley (1996) makes the claim that creating a "green",
sustainable and multimodal transportation system on a university campus could make
lasting impacts on the travel behavior of graduates. His claim depends heavily on
students being environmentally conscious, and argues that graduates will keep the earth
in mind when deciding how to commute to their first jobs.
The parking situation on campuses varies, but restricting parking is always an
integral part in effecting a modal shift. Universities usually have fewer parking spaces
(supply) than the number of commuters who wish to park on campus (demand).
Universities usually track the demand for parking by the number of requests received for
parking passes each year. The demand to supply ratio of parking spaces at sampled
universities varied from 0.70 to 4.00 with a mean of 1.70. To help fund parking facility
construction, operation and maintenance, all universities charge for parking passes. This
process-known as "parking pricing"-also serves to discourage commuters from
parking on campus, and to encourage them to carpool or utilize alternative modes. The
cost of parking passes in a recent sample ranged from $14 to $300 per semester, with a
mean of $83.43 (Gutkowski and Daggett, 2003).
The pricing of parking is an essential step in promoting transit use. Even though
the University of Florida prices its parking, the price point remains below other
comparable schools. The annual price of decals for students is cheaper at UF ($94/yr)
than other comparable universities such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison ($200-
834), the University of California-Davis ($204), and the University of Minnesota ($537)
(Siegel 2000). Even at schools with more expensive parking, universities are not pricing
parking to recover 100 percent of its costs. The monetary costs of parking to a university
include salaries for parking personnel, accounting, construction costs, and loss of
available land- which at some point in the future could necessitate the purchase of
campus annexes (Tolley 1996). A discussion of parking on the University of Florida
campus can be found in Chapter 4 of this report.
Peripheral parking lots (sometimes known as 'park-and-ride' lots) have not been
shown to increase transit's modal share. In general, periphery parking is not intended to
induce travelers to change their modal choice. They are intended to capture vehicular
traffic before it enters the congested central core. However if priority parking spaces
within the core are awarded for carpools, peripheral lots can help increase ridesharing.
Peripheral parking is commonly used by major employers, hospitals and universities that
are unwilling or unable to supply on-site parking (Kuzmayak 2003).
Universities have adopted parking management policies to promote transit use
and alleviate parking demands in the center of campus. The University of Maryland at
College Park operates peripheral parking lots linked by shuttle busses. UM's park-and-
ride service moves 750,000 people annually from the parking lots to the center of campus
by shuttle bus. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not sell parking passes to
students who live within the transit system's operating area. Similarly, UCLA prices its
parking passes based on the student's address and its proximity to campus and the transit
system (Kuzmayak 2003)
In an interesting side observation it was noted that in eight US cities with
periphery lots, many users chose to walk the last leg of their trip instead of using busses.
Unfortunately this phenomenon was not studied in depth, and the pedestrian's reasoning
for choosing walking over transit is not known (Kuzmayak, 2003 citing Pratt and Copple,
Transit service on university campuses varies from school to school. Among
colleges with 10 or more transit vehicles serving the campus, roughly half of the systems
are operated under contract by the local community transit provider (Gutkowski and
Daggett 2003 and Miller 2001). The rest are operated by the university administration.
Campus transit services are targeted toward four types of service: 1) Home to school
trips; 2) Intra-campus trips; 3) Remote parking shuttles; and 4) General service routes
that treat the campus as a special generator of trips (Gutkowski and Daggett 2003).
The mission of the transit system dictates the ownership and financial situation of
the transit provider. Table 3 below summarizes the prevailing ownership, financial, and
targeted trips of all four types of campus transit systems. Systems on small campuses
(less than 8,000 students) are generally university-owned. University-owned systems are
cheaper to operate because of non-unionized employees (often students) and smaller,
more efficient vehicles. Small transit systems tend to target intra-campus trips and
remote parking facilities. Schools in larger communities usually enter into contractual
service agreements with local transit providers. Local agency transit service is more
expensive, but the more complex route system allows busses serving the campus to
extend far into the surrounding community. This opens up housing options to students
(Miller 2001). Even though the annual cost is more expensive for larger systems, smaller
systems are usually more expensive on a per-ride basis.
Table 3-Transit System Characteristics by University and City Size
Large University / Small City Large University / Large City
Owner/Operator: City Owner/Operator: City
Target Users: Intra-Campus and Home to School Target Users: Home to School Trips
Finances: Expensive Finances: Very Expensive
Small University / Small City Small University / Large City
Ownership: University Ownership: University
Target Users: Intra-Campus and Parking Shuttles Target Users: Intra-Campus and Parking Shuttles
Finances: Inexpensive Finances: Inexpensive
Source: Gutkowsky and Daggett (2003) and Miller (2001)
About 40 percent of contractual service agreements allow the university
administration or student leadership to dictate service changes. The remainder of systems
depend on the transit agency's judgment (Gutkowski and Daggett, 2003). An
increasingly popular service change is the implementation a free-fare system, where
students do not pay cash fares each time they board the bus.
Unlimited Access and Fare Structure
The idea of unlimited access transit (also known as fare-free transit) has been
practiced on university campuses since the late 1970s (Miller 2001). As of 1998, thirty
five universities offered unlimited access transit. That year, total of 875,000 students
receive unlimited access benefits from their universities (Brown et al. 2001). The
number of schools offering unlimited access has grown since 1998, but no literature was
located that cited a precise number.
Unlimited access transit is not free transit. It is a different way of paying for
transit service. A third party pre-pays the transit provider to carry members of a
constituent group without charging them a fare. The transit provider usually receives an
annual lump sum payment from the university (Brown et al. 2001). Through a method
similar to group health insurance, fares are substantially discounted because so many
fares are being purchased (Miller 2001). Transit passes are distributed, or identification
cards double as passes. Users are allowed to ride free on all transit system routes,
irregardless if they connect with the university.8
Currently, passengers occupy only 27% of available seats on busses nationwide.
The enormous number of empty seats drives up the needed operating subsidy. Transit
systems want riders to fill those seats, and universities want to discourage automobile
commuters to campus. Through university payments to transit systems, new riders can
8 Some universities provide free-fare transit only on routes that intersect with campus (Brown et al. 2003).
This model is more typical of employer-based transit programs.
be brought to the transit system while at the same time relieving the parking demand on
campus (Brown et al. 2001).
Unlimited access programs offer multiple advantages to the university and its
students: 1) Unlimited access reduces demand for parking on campus. Consequently the
university divests itself of the capital expenditure costs of constructing new parking. 2)
Unlimited access transit reduces the cost of attendance for students, while at the same
time increasing mobility options. Students do not need to buy and maintain a car, which
can save an individual up to $4,000 a year. For students who continue to own cars,
slower depreciation and gas expenses can save the owner $800-1,000 a year. 3) Students
have better access to housing and employment. Students living on campus do not need a
car for off campus social or shopping trips. Students off campus do not need a car to
commute to campus, and can also use transit for social and shopping trips although
their options may be limited. 4) Unlimited access can help a university attract and retain
students (Brown et al. 2001).
There are substantial advantages for the transit agency as well. Unused seats are
occupied, optimizing the bus' operation. The agency also receives a stable source of
income less subject to political whims. State and Federal assistance is often based on
formulas that take into account ridership. Simply by putting people in seats, the transit
agency can garner a larger share of state and federal assistance (Brown et al. 2003).
Among schools that have a fare-free transit system, approximately 20 percent
have an unlimited access fare structure similar to the University of Florida. Students,
faculty and staff ride without paying a fare because the university administration or
student fees have prepaid their fares. Fifty three percent of schools have systems where
the general public rides fare-free, however the bulk of those are campus-only systems.
The remainder of free transit systems are park-and-ride shuttles only.
Both the local transit agency and the university can reap benefits from contractual
service agreements. Universities are able to divest themselves of the administrative and
fiscal burden of operating on-campus busses, even if the school makes substantial
payments to the transit provider. Schools that choose to use student fees can further
reduce the school's contribution. University-operated transit systems are not eligible to
receive most types of Federal and State matching funds. Thus partnering with the local
transit provider makes the system eligible for operating assistance and start-up funds. For
local transit agencies, partnering with local universities also provides a reliable revenue
stream in a period of declining government subsidy (Miller 2001).
Campus Transit Case Studies
Each university pursues the goal of building transit ridership differently. This
section presents three case studies of enhanced transit service on university campuses.
Each school used a different model to approach the issue of bringing about a mode shift
toward public transit. These three case studies are selected to demonstrate principles of
college/city joint transit service that are not embodied at the University of Florida. An in-
depth case study of the University of Florida transit program can be found in Chapter
Four of this report.
Clemson University- Clemson, SC. Clemson, SC is located in Pickens County
(pop. 105,000). Until the mid-1990s, there was no municipal transit system in Clemson.
Partnering with the city and county, Clemson University pledged $350,000 toward the
joint project that had previously funded on-campus parking shuttles. The new source of
funding allowed the city/county to create a transit agency and avail itself of state and
federal matching funds that were previously unavailable to the university. The small,
efficient system operates on a fare-free basis for all riders, student or otherwise. As
ridership increased, the transit agency was able to secure additional operating assistance
from federal rural transit assistance funds (also known as Section 5311 funds). The State
of South Carolina also pledged additional operating assistance, in part due to Clemson
Area Transit's (CAT) contribution to state ridership totals which boosted South
Carolina's share of federal block grants. Thus the city/county added a transit system
where one had been lacking, and the university was able to shift people from single
occupant cars to public transit. In 1999/2000, CAT operated 10 routes carrying 666,000
passengers annually at a cost of $782,000. CAT also operates late evening busses to
shuttle patrons to bars and other evening activities. (TCRP 2003)
Clemson's experience is an example of how small college towns can partner with
the university to create a transit system where there previously was none. A small
community benefits by creating transportation options, lowering traffic congestion, and
opening access to housing. All transit systems can learn from CAT's example how to
leverage state and federal funding sources to maximize operating assistance. Funding
arrangements vary from state to state, and South Carolina's local assistance framework is
what made the CAT system possible. One drawback of instituting a no-fare system is
that the cost of expanding route miles is prohibitive, since there is no dedicated source of
funding for capital improvements (Miller 2001).
University of California at Berkeley- Berkeley, CA. AC Transit, the bus
service provider in Alameda (Oakland) and Contra Costa Counties, California operates
154 routes, seventeen of which intersect the University of California campus. The
University of California has only 4,000 parking spaces for 32,000 students. The impetus
for change came in 1998 when the City of Berkeley relaxed its rent control laws, creating
a market for student housing outside of walking distance to campus. In 1998-the year
before the program began-one thousand eight hundred students purchased transit passes
at a cost of $60 per semester. A rider study found approximately 700 other students who
paid cash fares on a regular basis. Student leadership wanted to increase access to
additional housing stock, and the university wanted to ease its parking demand. In April
of 1999, UC students voted by an 89 percent margin to establish a student fee of $10 per
semester to create the "TransitClass" program. The transit agency receives at least
$320,000 each semester to provide unlimited access service, more if the number of passes
requested was high. Through a process known as distributive cost pricing, the individual
cost of a transit pass is much lower since the total cost is spread across the whole
constituency of students attending the university. The concept of distributive cost pricing
is similar to group insurance rates or taxation, where the cost per person of the program is
very small, yet the benefits to individuals who utilize the program is substantial.
Under the TransitClass program, students receive unlimited access on AC Transit
routes. Students must sign up to receive a transit pass. Over 23,000 of the 32,000
eligible students signed up to receive one during the first semester the program was
offered, twelve times the number who purchased passes before the start of the program.
The large number of student passes distributed and the approval rate of the referendum
were the result of a successful marketing program. The marketing program exposed
students to the financial, environmental, and institutional benefits of transit use.
There are several attributes of the UC-Berkeley program that demonstrate models
of campus transit. The University of California/AC Transit partnership is a successful
example of a university unlimited access program integrating into a large urban transit
system. It is also an example of utilizing student fees in the partnership- the university
administration does not contribute any funds to the transit system. Even though all
students are entitled to a free transit pass, each student who wants to ride must interact
with a third party to receive benefits. This is one variant of a distributive cost pricing
model. All students must pay the fee, but not all students will sign up for a pass.
Students must decide to sign up for the unlimited access program before arriving at the
bus stop. By requiring students to sign up, it creates a roadblock to infrequent or
occasional riders. However, the fee is being utilized to pay for the number of passes
requested, not unlimited access for all students. Some students will not sign up for a
pass. From the transit agency's perspective this is a more efficient model to implement
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)- Los Angeles, CA. The
University of California at Los Angeles is served by 5 routes of the Santa Monica
Municipal Bus Lines. Students, faculty and staff are allowed to ride fare-free on those 5
routes. Passengers must swipe their university ID card to board. UCLA's administration
pays Santa Monica Bus Lines 45 cents per ride. The University pays about $80,000
There has been a marked modal shift among student commuters. Student
commutes by transit increased 43%. Twenty nine percent of the student riders were new
to using public transit. The number of drivers fell by 33%. The rise in student ridership
increased further during subsequent years of the program (Brown et al. 2003).
UCLA's transit agreement is a good example of a university administration
paying for transit service. UCLA's administration pays for the entire cost of providing
unlimited access transit. The university is divesting itself of the expense of constructing
parking infrastructure, but more institutional money could be saved by instituting student
fees. Instead of applying a distributive cost pricing model, the school pays for each
individual ride. From the transit provider's perspective this is advantageous, since a
ridership increase will result in increased revenue. Under a fixed-payment scheme,
ridership gain does not cause an increase in revenue.
Permanent Effects of Temporary Transit Use
What happens to people's behavior once they have been exposed to transit? It is
clear that people will use transit under certain circumstances (Crane 1999). The decision
to use transit is in part based on the level of service in each mode (Hensher and Button
2000). The decision to use transit is also based on the habits, attitudes and beliefs of the
user. Experience with high level of service transit may influence future behavior, since
psychologically the experience was a positive one (Verplanken et al. 1994).
The existing literature is largely lacking for experiments that examine the lasting
effects of temporary transit use. One experiment performed by Fujii and Kitamura
(2002) gave automobile users in Japan a free bus pass for one month. People who
received transit passes continued to use the bus after the one month period ended.
Ridership within the experimental group rose by 20 percent. The study also concluded
that automobile users had a general negative perception of public transit which was
refuted after using transit temporarily. This important concept indicates that a temporary
change in transportation habits can alter a person's permanent routine. The authors
suggest a temporary period of free-fare transit may help increase ridership in the long
The literature is lacking in studies that ask if users of high frequency, unlimited
access transit continue their transit use after they move to a new city. In fact, there is a
lack of studies asking questions about the overall reasoning of choice riders who use
transit. Further, there is no previous record of studies that focus on whether the
transportation system at a university has any lasting effects on the habits or attitudes of
A natural experiment exists for evaluating the lasting effects of using bus transit
while at the University of Florida. The experiment involves sampling students before
they arrive on campus (incoming freshmen), and then sampling students soon after
graduation (recent alumni). Responses can be compared between the two groups to
uncover changes in habits and attitudes toward alternative modes. It is assumed that any
changes observed are attributed to the respondents' common experience of commuting to
and from the University of Florida campus.
Time constraints prohibited the administration of a true time-series survey to the
incoming freshman of 2003 and surveying the cohort again in 2008 after graduation. It
was necessary to survey the 2003 incoming freshmen class and a group of alumni during
the same year. This research project assumes that the responses given by the alumni
surveyed would be substantially similar to responses that would be collected in 2008 if
time constraints did not apply.
To analyze the impact that multimodal transportation to campus has changed the
habits and attitudes of University of Florida students, two surveys were taken. Both
surveys were administered by mail using address lists maintained by the University. The
data collection period ran from July through November of 2003.
Both surveys asked questions in the following general areas, although questions
were not grouped together in consecutive order:
Demographics- Questions about gender, race, marital status and zip code. These
questions were asked so that other responses could be put into social and spatial
Transportation Habits- This section included questions concerning commute time,
automobile ownership, modal choice and maximum preferred walking/biking
distance. Some questions were asked twice, with one question asking about
habits while at the University and the other asking about habits in their current
location. These questions were asked to determine the respondents' actual
transportation habits. Their responses can be compared to other groups within the
survey or to state and national datasets.
Housing- This question set asked about housing choice and desirable attributes of
housing. These questions were asked in an attempt to determine how important
transportation factors were considered in the respondents' decision-making
process when choosing where to live. Some of these questions were asked twice,
with one question asking about college housing and one asking about current
housing. In the case of the alumni group, respondents were directed to answer
questions about their collegiate housing choice based upon where they lived
during their senior year only.
Alternative Mode Use- These questions were asked to gauge the willingness of
respondents to use alternative modes. Additional questions were asked to gauge
the level of education the respondent possesses about public transit in their current
city. Some questions asked about the usage of public transportation during all
four years of undergraduate work.
Public Policy- These questions ask respondents to rate their level of agreement
with transportation public policy measures. These questions asked participants to
rate their level of agreement with statements on a scale from 1 to 5 (or Strongly
Disagree to Strongly Agree).
The first survey consisted of 45 closed response questions. It was randomly
mailed to 697 incoming freshmen during the summer of 2003. These incoming freshmen
were not yet enrolled at the University. Addresses were obtained from a list of admitted
fall-semester students maintained by the University of Florida Office of Admissions.
Only addresses from the 50 United States and the District of Columbia were included.
The size of the admitted freshman population was 7,296.
Of the 697 surveys mailed, it was expected that up to 34% of the recipients were
ineligible to take the survey. This was due to two factors. Persons under the age of 18
(approximately 17% of the incoming class) were not allowed to take the survey due to
concerns over parental consent. Recipients under the age of 18 were instructed not to
complete the survey. The mailing list also included persons who had been admitted to
UF but were not planning to enroll-approximately 20 percent of the sample. 1
1 The Office of Admissions reported 7,296 admitted freshmen. The University Registrar reported 5,830
enrolled freshmen for the Fall 2003 semester. The difference between the two figures is 20.1%.
One hundred and twenty three valid freshman surveys were returned. This is a
raw response rate of 17.6%. Taking into account the recipients who were not permitted
to respond, the response rate was 30.4%. A copy of the freshman survey can be found in
Appendix B. Raw data from the freshman survey can be found in Appendix D.
A second survey was taken to determine the multimodal behaviors and attitudes
of recent alumni of the University. Responses on the alumni survey can be compared to
the freshman survey to determine if the multimodal environment of the university campus
had caused any changes. Six hundred and fifteen surveys were mailed to randomly
selected addresses from a database maintained by the University of Florida Alumni
Association. Only students who graduated with their bachelors degree in 2001 and 2002
were selected. Alumni who received only graduate degrees or who were still enrolled
were not included. The total potential population represented 12,376 people.2 These
limiting factors were chosen because: a) Alumni who graduated in 2000 or before would
have limited exposure to enhanced transit services; b) Alumni would have at least one
full year to settle into a transportation routine post-graduation; c) Alumni holding only
graduate degrees have an unknown background since high school graduation, and d)
Alumni who hold a bachelors degree but were still enrolled at the University are still
commuting to the same multimodal environment found during their undergraduate years.
The survey that was mailed to alumni had 49 closed response questions. Of
those, 24 questions were exact duplicates of questions asked of the freshmen. An
2 The alumni population 12,376 represents the number of addresses that are on file with the University of
Florida Alumni Association minus the percentage of graduate and professional degrees awarded each year
by the University. The Alumni Association is a membership organization, and some alumni choose not to
additional 11 questions were substantially similar, and to a varying degree they can be
compared using statistical tests. One hundred and fifty four valid alumni surveys were
returned. This represents a 25 percent response rate. A copy of the alumni survey can be
found in Appendix C. Raw data from the alumni survey can be found in Appendix E.
Both surveys qualify as large samples, and it can be assumed that the confidence
level of sampling error is p = 0.05 or 95%. Using this confidence level, the margins of
error for scalar data can be calculated. For the Freshmen, the margin of error is +/- 8.74.
For the Alumni, the margin of error is +/- 7.85.
Other limitations exist on the survey data. The alumni surveyed graduated in
2001 and 2002. Since 2002, expenditure on bus transit by UF has more than doubled.
The alumni sample did not experience the same transit environment that the incoming
freshmen will. Further, some alumni will have experience with high-quality transit
outside of Gainesville. Alumni may have moved to or visited cities with high quality
transit (including rail transit) or comprehensive TDM policies. Any changes found in
habits or attitudes can be attributed to temporary transit use.
Other Research Methods
Interviews were conducted with several key informants. An interview was
conducted in April 2003 with the UF Campus Master Planner Linda Dixon to investigate
the scope and intent of the campus' TDM policies. Bob Miller, UF Vice President for
Finance and Administration was interviewed in July of 2004 to discuss University
funding of the RTS system. Finally, Doug Robinson, transit planner with the Regional
Transit System was interviewed by email and telephone.
Other research methods were employed during this project. The author of this
project was appointed a voting member of the 2004/05 Transportation Access Fee
Committee. Through membership on the committee, the author gained familiarity with
the process and the responsible parties. Documents were reviewed from the UF Division
of Finance and Administration (publicly available) to compile information on monetary
payments for bus service. The Division of Finance and Student Government records
were obtained. These documents show the agreements, funding, and service agreements
between the University and RTS. The Regional Transit System provided ridership data
dating back to 1996. The UF Campus Master Plan was reviewed. Finally, the policies of
the Transportation and Parking Division were analyzed to establish the campus TDM
This section contains an in-depth discussion of the transit-oriented environment at
the University of Florida and the City of Gainesville. In order to understand any changes
in habits and attitudes found in the survey, it is important to have a full understanding of
the transportation environment and TDM policies at the University. This section also
serves as a case study of bus transit at UF.
The University of Florida
The University of Florida had a total enrollment of 47,373 students in 2003/04.
Of that number, 28 percent are graduate or professional students and 72 percent are
undergraduates. UF is a residential school. Most of the student body moved to
Gainesville to attend classes, as relatively few students are native to Alachua County. In
addition to the student body, there are over 4,000 faculty and 8,000 other staff members.
Founded at its present site in 1905, the oldest part of campus is dense and is best
navigated on foot or bicycle. The core part of the campus is largely a pedestrian-only
zone during daylight hours and lacks parking resources. The core part of the campus and
Shands Hospital occupy roughly 600 acres, with the other 1050 acres devoted to less
dense uses such as agricultural research and conservation. At least some coursework is
required on the Gainesville campus to satisfy the requirements for all but a few1 of the
100+ undergraduate and 242 graduate programs. Accommodating the needs of 58,000+
regular commuters to the core of campus requires balancing the needs of diverse groups
and maintaining a comprehensive transportation demand management plan. University of
Florida Transportation Demand Management
Multiple TDM policies are maintained by the University of Florida. However, the
University does not maintain a stand-alone Transportation Demand Management plan.
TDM policies are distributed throughout the Campus Master Plan and in the regulations
of the Transportation and Parking Services Division.
The Campus Master Plan outlays the following major goals related to
1) Build future parking facilities near campus gateways and other remote areas
2) Maintain a transportation fee that covers the costs of parking, circulation,
transit and non-vehicular transportation infrastructure
3) Build bike lanes and off-road trails to promote bicycle use
4) Provide fare-free transit to students, faculty and staff
5) Promote pedestrian behavior in the "Pedestrian Enhancement Zone" by
removing vehicle parking, restricting automobile access, and constructing
6) Enhance the service characteristics of bus transit, including on-campus
The campus plan seeks to increase the mode share of transit and non-motorized
modes for commuting to campus. The plan recognizes that not all students have the
1 Some degree programs in the fine arts can be obtained by taking classes only at the New World School of
the Arts in Miami. At least some Instruction in residence in at the Gainesville campus is required for all
undergraduate degree programs except those offered at the New World School of the Arts.
option of using alternative modes, so parking facilities construction is provided at remote
facilities. Automobile commuters would then transfer to alternative modes such as on-
campus busses, bicycles or walking. The plan puts heavy emphasis on capturing
automobile traffic in park-and-ride lots to lessen the impact on campus roadways and
entice cars to enter the campus at several different locations to mitigate their impact on
city roads. The plan also provides for a carpool program, with carpools receiving
The core of the campus is designated a "Pedestrian Enhancement Zone". In effect
this is an auto-free zone, except it is accessible by busses, official business vehicles and
handicapped persons. One positive impact of the auto-free zone is that bus riders debark
close to classrooms, while automobile drivers face a long walk, bike ride or bus ride of
their own to reach the same point on campus.
The Transportation and Parking Services Division (TAPS) implements several
TDM policies. That office determines the requirements for different classes of parking
passes. They also issue parking decals and collect fees for their purchase. Stringent
parking enforcement is coordinated through the TAPS office. Thus the Transportation
and Parking Services Division implements the parking restriction and parking pricing
portion of the "TDM plan". The office also operates the University's carpool program,
which has been marginally successful (Siegel 2000).
Even without a formal TDM plan, the University is employing several TDM
strategies to foster a modal shift among students, faculty and staff. Below, UF's TDM
strategies are summarized according to the broad categories defined by Littman (1999).
Positive- Unlimited access transit, transit service characteristic improvements,
pedestrian/bicycle capital improvements
Mixed- Carpooling program with preferential space assignment, park-and-ride
facility construction, traffic calming
Negative- Parking pricing, parking restriction, auto-free zones, transportation fees
TDM seeks to reduce automobile dependence and its harmful impacts. The
positive, mixed and negative TDM policies work in concert to discourage the use of
single-occupant automobiles. Viable alternatives are presented to commuters. Unlimited
access, high quality transit is presented as the alternative for motorized travel to campus.
According to Ferguson (1990), TDM tackles the disparity in mode share by employing
five strategies. UF's TDM strategies are organized in the list below according to
Trip Generation- Transportation Fees
Trip Distribution- Parking Pricing, Parking Restriction, Park-and-Ride facilities
Mode Selection- Carpool program, Parking Restriction, Parking Pricing,
Unlimited Access Transit, Transit characteristic improvements,
Pedestrian/Bicycle Capital Improvements
Route Selection (spatial)- Auto-free zones, Traffic Calming
Route Selection (temporal)- Night and evening classes, Transit characteristic
Four of the most important TDM policies are discussed in the rest of this section.
The parking pricing, parking restrictions, bus transit service enhancement, and
transportation fees are all investigated in greater depth.
Parking demand far exceeds supply on the University of Florida campus,
although some limited parking facilities are available in neighborhoods adjacent to the
University. A total of 19,371 spaces are available on campus. The available spaces are
prioritized for certain groups' use: 5,094 are reserved for students who live on campus;
another 7,719 are reserved for faculty and staff. Only 6,558 spaces remain to
accommodate the approximately 9,600 students living off campus. Figure 3 below shows
all campus parking facilities.
A -- -
a4. n] :
App t,75 s l. Ao h
----iF-. "^ -
reserved for off campus students are located in the core area of campus, and are
designated "Commuter". Students with 90 credit hours (senior status) and graduate
students can park in these more centrally located commuter spaces, usually in structured
parking facilities. Other students must use park-and-ride spaces. Park-and-ride spaces
are found on the perimeter of campus, and users require a bus or bicycle ride to reach
most instructional facilities. Under the contractual UF-RTS agreement, RTS provides
dedicated park-and-ride busses at 10-20 minute intervals at a cost of $995,000 annually.
Figure 4 below shows the park-and-ride facilities only.
- -.- -a-
Figure 4-UF Park and Ride Facilities
Source: UF Division of Transportation and Parking Services
Analyzing the purchases of parking decals can render useful information about
the demand for parking on campus. Table 4 below summarizes the number of spaces,
their cost, and the oversell ratio of decals.
Table 4-Parking and Decal Sales, 2003
Decal Type Spaces Eligible Decals Decal Oversell
Purchasers Sold Cost Ratio
Faculty/Staff (Orange, 7,719 N/A2 11,351 Up to 1.47
Blue, Official Business) $636
On-Campus Residents 5,094 9,623 5,823 $94 1.14
Commuter 3,393 -21,000 7,655 $94 2.73
Park and Ride 3,165 -26,300 2,837 $94 0.89
Total 19,371 -58,000 27,666 1.43
Source: UF Office of Parking and Transportation Services
UF Parking and Transportation Services does not limit the number of decals sold,
instead choosing to let the supply of parking spaces and the willingness of drivers to
search for spaces determine the number of decals sold. Table 4 above summarizes the
parking situation on campus. Holders of faculty/staff, on-campus, and commuter decals
are only allowed to park in spaces reserved for their respective category of decal.
Overall, the number of decals sold exceeds the number of spaces by a 1.43 : 1 ratio. Only
park-and-ride decals are sold at a rate lower than the number of available spaces,
although in practice this is not accurate since all other decal types are allowed to use
Lower-division students have few options when it comes to parking on campus.
Those with junior status and under must use remote park and ride lots, which requires a
bus ride to reach their classrooms. Seniors and graduate students can park in close-in
facilities, but the number of decals sold in this category far exceeds the number spaces by
a 2.7 : 1 ratio.
Motorcycles and gas-powered scooters are treated very differently than
automobiles. Since two-wheeled vehicles require far less space to park, the decal cost is
2 The Faculty/Staff Category is broad and includes Faculty Staff (Orange) Official Business, Medical
Resident, Gated Reserved, Shands Hospital (Blue) and certain types of advanced students. Data is not
readily available to calculate the total number of eligible Faculty/Staff decal purchasers.
substantially reduced. Motorcycle/scooter decals cost $24 per year, compared with $94
for cars. Motorcycle decal sales are not prioritized according to credit hours. Further,
motorcycle parking is found in every major lot on campus, greatly improving the riders'
locational choice of parking. Bicycles also require very little parking space, and the
University maintains bike racks at or near every building on campus.
Many of the students commuting daily to campus must use alternative modes of
transportation to get to class. Some students will live close to campus and walk or bike to
class. Some who live farther away will use public transit. Since 1998, the University of
Florida has applied substantial monetary resources to the local transit system to make
riding the bus a more viable option for students to commute to campus. During the
period 1998-2004, the number of student riders has been increasing very rapidly. In
2004, the number of students arriving on campus each day by bus was more than double
the number of students who arrived by car.
Regional Transit System
Bus transit in the City of Gainesville is provided by the Regional Transit System
(RTS), a division of the Public Works Department of the City of Gainesville. In
2004/2005 RTS maintains a fleet of 92 diesel busses that operate on 21 standard city
routes, 9 campus-only routes, and 4 late night routes (Perteet Engineering 2002).
Paratransit for the city is contracted out to ATC/Intellitran. Many of the city routes
operate on a pulse system from the downtown transfer plaza. Under a pulse system,
many bus routes are timed to arrive at the transfer station at the same time. Busses wait 3
to 5 minutes, allowing passengers to transfer, before departing.
Three transfer points exist on the University of Florida Campus: the Reitz Union,
Shands Hospital and Turlington Plaza. The campus transfer points do not operate on a
pulse system, in part due to short frequencies and in part due to the congruence of
campus and city routes. Bus frequencies range from 60 minutes on some city routes to 8
minutes at peak times on high demand routes operating from student-heavy areas to
campus (Perteet Engineering 2002).
Ridership on the Regional Transit System (RTS) has increased each year since
1995. Please see Table 5 below for a summary of the ridership increase for the period
1995/1996 to 2002/2003. Over the study period, ridership increased 284%, to 8,106,964
boardings per year. RTS's annual ridership ranks 6th among state agencies behind
Miami-Dade (63.4 Million), Broward (31.8 Million), the Central Florida Regional
Transportation Authority (20.5 Million), Pinellas (10.1 Million), and Hillsborough (9.4
Million). This makes RTS the 6th largest transit system in the state, despite serving the
17th largest county (Census, 2000). Figure 5 below shows the RTS bus system and its
routes within the City of Gainesville.
Figure 5-RTS Route System
Source: Regional Transit System
The growth in bus ridership on the Regional Transit System has outpaced
ridership growth nationwide. Nationwide, bus ridership has grown 15% to 5.27 Trillion
over the period 1995 to 2003 (NTST 2003). The disparity between ridership growth in
Gainesville and the nationwide total can be attributed to service changes at RTS, and to
the TDM policies of the University of Florida. RTS experienced the largest increases
during the two years when student subsidy of transit services began. Student subsidy
began in 1998/99 and resulted in substantial service improvements. Further, UF students
could ride the bus on a fare-free basis. Since 1999/2000, ridership increases have been
steadily increasing at more modest rates, although it is far out-distancing transit growth
Table 5-Total Ridership 1995 to 20033
Year Boardings Percent Increase over Previous Year
95/96 2,110,209 NA
96/97 2,174,840 3.1%
97/98 2,948,150 35.6%
98/99 4,412,773 49.7%
99/00 5,195,883 17.7%
00/01 6,306,241 21.4%
01/02 7,198,085 14.1%
02/03 8,106,964 12.6%
Increase '95-'03 5,996,755 284.1%
Source: Regional Transit System
Table 5 above demonstrates the overall growth in ridership. Segments of the total
ridership have grown at even faster rates. Ridership growth on campus routes has not
been as steady as other routes. Increases can be more closely attributed to new routes
being created, such as the Lakeside Apartments bus. Over the period 1995/96 to
2002/03, ridership on Campus Circulator routes has increased by 125 percent to
2,253,041 annually. However, the proportion of campus route riders to the total number
of riders has been steadily decreasing. Campus-only trips accounted for nearly half,
47.4%, of all RTS riders in 1995/96. That figure had decreased to 27.8% in 2002/03.
Please see table 6 below for a summary of ridership on campus circulator routes.
Table 6-Campus Circulator Route Ridership 1995 to 2003
Percent Increase Campus Riders as Percent of
Year Campus over Previous Year Total
95/96 999,236 NA 47.4%
96/97 945,963 -5.3% 43.5%
97/98 987,049 4.3% 33.5%
98/99 1,184,643 20% 26.8%
99/00 1,281,250 8.2% 24.7%
00/01 1,620,287 26.5% 25.7%
01/02 1,879,694 16% 26.1%
02/03 2,253,041 19.9% 27.8%
Increase '95-'03 1,253,805 125.5% --
Source: Regional Transit System
3 The RTS fiscal year begins on August 1st. This is meant to coincide with the beginning of the academic
year. Ridership counts also are recorded by fiscal year.
Figure 6 below demonstrates the separation between the number of riders using
campus circulators and the total number of riders. Total ridership growth has outpaced
campus-only growth, indicating that off-campus and special routes have been the source
of greater ridership growth.
95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03
Figure 6-Campus and Total RTS Ridership Growth
Source: Regional Transit System
Campus Transit Service Agreement
Prior to 1998, RTS operated as a small urban system. Busses covered the city by
circuitous routes at infrequent intervals. Nearly all riders on the system were
transportation disadvantaged. The system was experiencing declining community
support and ridership. Meanwhile the University of Florida had added over 8,000
students to its total enrollment during the previous decade. Previously students lived to
the north and east of the campus, but the off-campus housing pattern had shifted to the
southwest of the city into unincorporated Alachua County. The newer student apartment
complexes were 2-5 miles distant from the core campus. The outward sprawl of student
housing coupled with rising enrollment increased the demand for motorized transport to
campus. The University's Transportation Demand Management policies place an
emphasis on public transit rather than private automobile use. In this next section, the
sources of funding and mechanisms of coordination will be discussed.
The increase in ridership correlates closely to funding increases to the transit
provider. RTS realizes very little of its operating revenues from fare-paying customers.
In 2002, farebox revenues accounted for $714,183 of the agency's $9,462,631 budget.
This represents a farebox recovery rate of only 7.5%, less than half the State of Florida
average of 15.2%. Nationwide, farebox recovery averages 37.7%. However for small
urbanized areas, the ratio is around 20% (NTD 2002). In 1998 the University of Florida
entered into a contractual service agreement to provide enhanced transit service to the
University in lieu of a massive parking facility construction project. The City of
Gainesville made an ongoing commitment to fund the "baseline" levels of service found
on routes in 1997. Newly established routes would be city-funded to provide a level of
service consistent with routes operating in 1997, which operated with one or two busses
on 30 to 60 minute frequencies. Additional funds to provide higher frequency, unlimited
access transit would come from the University.
The Transportation and Parking Services Division and the Campus Facilities
Planning and Construction Office would pay a portion of the costs, principally to fund
on-campus routes and faculty/staff unlimited access. Each year the Transportation and
Parking Services Division gives $1 million dollars to RTS. All funds from
Transportation and Parking come from parking decal sales and parking fine revenue. The
Finance and Administration Division of UF (through the Campus Facilities Planning and
Construction Office) supports RTS service with $500,000 annually. These funds are
earmarked under the "Campus Development Agreement," a compact between the
University and the City to help mitigate the impact the school has on city infrastructure
The bulk of the funds came from a third source- a fee charged to students on a
per-credit hour basis, similar to fees charged for capital improvements or activities. The
funds that come directly from students pay for enhancements to the service characteristics
of selected bus routes. The University pays RTS $42.50 per additional bus operating
hour above and beyond the operating level of service paid for by the city.4 The cost of
constructing bus stop infrastructure is shared by RTS, the UF Transportation and Parking
Division and the Office of Campus Facilities Planning.5
Transportation Access Fee
The Transportation Access Fee is the discretionary and variable portion of the
payments to the Regional Transit System. Student funds are separate and distinct from
Administration funds. The University's interest in stimulating transit use comes from a
desire for less parking demand and improved walkability/bikability of the campus. The
University administration's share of the service contract pays for unlimited access to RTS
busses. Any improvements to service characteristics come from student funds. From
4 The per-operating-hour fee was raised to $46.75 in 2004-2005. The increase was the first since the
inception of the contract. The increase was necessary due to rising costs of fuel and labor.
5 Minutes of proceedings of the Transportation Access Fee Committee and Student Government Budget
and Appropriations Committees from 1998-2004. Official correspondence between City Commissioners,
UF representatives and RTS officials is also archived by the Business Services Division and Student
Government as official material pertaining to the student funding of transit services.
1998-2001, student funds were allocated from the Student Government budget. For the
period 2001-2004 funds came from the Transportation Access Fee.
The responsibility for collecting the Transportation Access Fee rests with the
University Financial Affairs Office. Students are required to pay the fee as if it were a
component of their tuition, and financial aid awards can be used to pay the fee. The
responsibility for setting the Transportation Access Fee and allocating the funds is
directed by a 7-member committee operating within the administrative structure of the
Division of Finance and Administration. Four voting members of the committee are
students, all of whom are appointed by the Student Body President and approved by the
Vice President for Student Affairs.6 One faculty member and two representatives of the
University Administration are also voting members. The Transportation Access Fee
Committee is authorized to charge a required fee to all students under Florida State
Statute 240.209.(3)(e)8 to "support the transportation infrastructure of the university for
the purpose of increasing student access to transportation services".
Student funds began to pay for enhanced bus services during academic year
1998/1999. Since a dedicated Transportation Access Fee had not yet been instituted by
the Florida Legislature, funds were budgeted as a portion of Student Government's
Activity & Service Fee, which also funds student organizations, recreation areas and
fitness centers. Table 7 below summarizes student payments to RTS. In academic year
98/99 $179,055 was paid to RTS, which translates to about fifteen cents per credit hour.
This first fee paid for frequency improvements to areas where critical shortages of bus
6 Only 29% of university transit agreements guarantee students a voting seat on advisory committees
(TCRP #39, 2001).
7 Florida State Statute 240.209,(3)(e)8 and Florida Administrative Code Rule 6C-7.003(34), authorizing
legislation of the transportation access fee, was passed in 2000.
space were occurring on a regular basis, specifically to three routes serving student-heavy
areas of southwest Gainesville. The first year of student subsidy of the transit system
proved to be a success, and it was renewed for a second year.
During the third year of student bus subsidy (2000/2001), the student contribution
increased to $282,290. Daytime bus service levels remained the same as in previous
years, costing $179,522. An additional $103,235 was spent to create a new late night bus
route known as Later Gator. The Later Gator program was also a success and was
expanded considerably during in coming years.
Students had begun to use busses in large numbers. Busses were often full, and
student housing complexes had continued to sprawl outside of the RTS coverage area.
Student Government could not increase its contribution to keep pace with rising demand.
The idea of a separate Transportation Access Fee for all State of Florida
Universities had been discussed as far back as 1996 (Salazar 1996). However creating a
separate Transportation Fee would require approval from the State of Florida Legislature
and the State University Board of Regents. This approval came during the 2000
legislative session. This allowed the establishment of a dedicated Transportation Access
Fee beginning in the Fall 2001 semester.
The Transportation Access Fee grew rapidly to keep pace with the rising demand
for transit service. Table 7 below outlines the fee and the amount raised from academic
year 98/99 through 04/05. The Fee amount has risen each year since its inception,
starting in Fall 2001 as a $2 per credit hour fee. In 2004/2005, the fee will be $4.10 per
credit hour. One hundred percent of Fee money is spent on motorized mass
transportation services. The Fee has been increased to provide service enhancements due
to congested busses, new residential construction, and rising student demand.
Table 7-Student Subsidy/Transportation Access Fee Growth
Academic Funding Source Fee Amount per Cost Per Student Funds
Year credit hour Per Year Raised
98/99 Student Government $0.15 8 $4.50 $179,055
99/00 Student Government $0.15 8 $4.50 $179,055
00/01 Student Government $0.24 9 $7.20 $282,290
01/02 Transportation Access $2.00 $60.00 $2,200,000
02/03 Transportation Access $3.00 $90.00 $3,940,000
03/04 Transportation Access $3.59 $107.70 $4,510,800
04/05 Transportation Access $4.10 $123.00 $5,264,500
Source: UF Business Services Division and RTS. Cost to students is based on 30 billed credits per
The Transportation Access Fee was not intended by the state legislature to be
solely a means to subsidize or improve bus transit services. Funds can be used to build
bike/pedestrian infrastructure, provide paratransit, jitney bus service, parking facilities, or
add roadway capacity. Other Florida universities have used Transportation Access Fee
Funds for all of these purposes. However at the University of Florida it remains
primarily a means to subsidize bus transit, as 96% of the funds realized are transferred to
the bus transit provider. However two other University transportation services are funded
using the Transportation Access Fee. The Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP)
runs jitney van service on the UF Campus from 9PM to 2AM. SNAP was previously
funded by Student Government. SNAP's mission is to provide safe point-to-point
transport for on-campus residents and anyone on campus late at night. The program is
operated by the University Police Department. In academic year 2004/05, SNAP was
8 Fee amounts in 98/99, 99/00 and were allocated as a portion of the Activity and Service Fee. RTS also
benefited from several Department of Transportation grants during this period.
9 The fee amount in 00/01 continued service enhancements from the previous two years and funded the first
Later Gator late night service route. These fees were also budgeted and appropriated from Student
Government's Activity and Service Fee.
funded by $92,000 of Transportation Access Fee money. Paratransit around the UF
Campus is provided by the Handi-Van service. Before being funded by Transportation
Access Fee funds, the Handi-Van was funded and operated by the Transportation and
Parking Services Division. The Handi-Van services remains under the operational
control of Transportation and Parking Services, however all $120,000 of its funding
comes from the Fee. Sixteen cents of the $4.10 (or 4%) Fee goes to pay for SNAP and
The Campus Transit Development Agreement has paid for several bus transit
improvements. The most important improvement was the creation of an unlimited
access, fare-free system for students, faculty and staff. Anyone possessing a valid
University of Florida Identification Card can board any RTS bus free of charge. The ID
Card, referred to as a Gator-1 Card, is presented to the driver upon boarding. There is no
need for riders to obtain passes or interact with a third party to gain access to free transit
services. This allows students to use bus transit services as frequently or infrequently as
they desire. This is an important factor since bus route enhancements are intended to
support a variety of different trips, some of which are used infrequently by patrons. The
unlimited access program began during the fall semester of 199810 and has continued
through 2004. Community and institutional support for the unlimited access program is
very high, and the arrangement will likely continue far into the future. Two other
constituent groups have started unlimited access programs in recent years. Beginning in
2001, an unlimited access program was started for city and county employees. In the
10 UF Faculty and Staff were given unlimited access benefits in 2000.
Spring 2004 semester, Santa Fe Community College Students received fare-free rides on
two routes that lead to that campus.11
The Service Contract provides three different services- Standard City Routes,
Campus Only Routes, and "Later Gator" Late Night Routes. The service characteristics,
funding arrangements and intended users differ for each type of bus route.
Standard City Routes
Standard city routes are identical to fixed bus routes found in cities throughout the
United States, except that select routes run on very short frequencies. They are planned
to connect residential areas (trip producers) with trip attractors such as employment or
institutional land uses. As discussed previously, the City of Gainesville agreed to
continue funding Standard City Routes at levels of service found in 1997. The University
made a priority of increasing frequency of busses to entice more students to use the bus
and to alleviate congestion on busses. Certain routes would have their operating hours
lengthened to accommodate the irregular schedule of college students. Of the city's 21
Standard Routes, 10 are supplemented by University funds. These routes connect student
housing to the University campus. This creates a disparity between the level of service
for UF-supplemented routes and routes operated only on city funds. Table 8 below
shows the 2004 routes offered by RTS including those supplemented by UF funds.
1 Funds to allow Santa Fe Community College students to ride fare-free on two bus routes serving that
campus come from the College's administration. At present, Florida Statutes do not allow a Transportation
Access Fee to be charged to community college students.
Table 8-2004-2005 Standard City Routes and Funding Levels
Route Number City Funding UF Funding Additional Peak
Service Hours Frequency
1 $561,711 $0 0 20
2 $196,724 $0 0 60
5 $412,391 $129,044 2,760 20
6 $199,342 $0 0 60
7 $202,932 $0 0 60
8 $562,982 $0 0 30
9 $175,182 $653,397 13,976 8
10 $178,996 $0 0 60
11 $199,342 $0 0 60
12 12 $0 $708,085 15,146 10
13 $140,026 $240,865 5,152 15
15 13 $180,918 $0 0 30
16 $187,187 $430,549 9,210 10
20 $348,026 $609,751 13,043 12
2112 $0 $190,142 4,067 20
24 $190,964 $0 0 60
34 12 $0 $540,028 11,551 20
35 $438,029 $232,011 4,963 12
36 12 $0 $175,574 3,756 20
43 13 $315,995 $0 0 60
75 $487,359 $0 0 30
Totals $4,978,066 $3,894,612 83,307 --
Source: Regional Transit System and UF Transportation Access Fee Committee.
UF-funded routes are
The sharing of costs for citywide fixed routes requires close coordination between
the University and the Regional Transit System. Transit planners for RTS monitor full
bus conditions and the locations of new student-oriented housing developments. They
present the information to the responsible parties at UF including the Transportation
Access Fee Committee and the Student Body President, who collectively appropriate
funding changes to alter the bus routes, schedules and hours to accommodate changes in
demand for transit service. Final approval of expenditures comes from the University
12 Routes 12, 21, 34 and 36 are reverse routes or spurs off other routes. Since these four routes closely
duplicate the service area of city-funded routes, UF is responsible for the entire cost.
13 Routes 15 and 43 are partially funded by Santa Fe Community College
President. In 2004/05, $3.02 of the $4.10 Fee goes toward supplementing service levels
on selected city routes.
Campus Circulator Routes
Campus Circulator Routes run on fixed routes on the UF Campus. Certain routes
leave the campus briefly, but only to complete loops when road connections and
configurations require completing a loop using city streets. They are intended to
facilitate the movement of UF students, faculty and staff around the campus. The
existence of Campus Circulator routes gives on-campus residents mobility within
campus. These routes also allow off-campus students to park once or arrive by off-
campus bus and move around to multiple destinations. The North/South Circulator, and
the East and West Circulators serve as the high frequency backbone of the campus
system. These routes run on 9-15 minute frequencies during peak hours. The Family
Housing and Lakeside routes serve to move on-campus residents that live in remote areas
to the center of campus. Three routes- Park & Ride 1, Park & Ride 2 and the Commuter
Lot Routes primarily transport patrons of remote parking facilities to the center of
The Campus Circulator Routes are funded entirely by the University, but are
operated by RTS. The total cost of operating the Campus Circulator Routes is
$2,272,005. The Campus Circulator Routes cost $48.54 per UF student per year. In
2004/2005, $1.61 ( or 39.5%) of the $4.10 per-credit hour fee is allocated to fund campus
circulator routes. The cost of each Campus Circulator Bus is summarized in table 9
Table 9-Funding and Frequency of Campus Circulator Routes
Route UF Funding Daily Operating Peak Number Frequency
Schedule of Busses (minutes)
Park & Ride 1 $466,920 7am-7:30pm 5 8
Park & Ride 2 $193,975 7am-7pm 2 15
Commuter Lot $333,791 7am-7:30pm 3 10
West Circulator $344,061 7am-7:30pm 3 6
East Circulator $186,308 7am-7:30pm 2 10
E/W Circulator $213,004 5:30pm-2am 2 15
N/S Circulator $284,156 7:30am-2am 2 15
Family Housing $121,428 7am-5:30pm 1 30
Lakeside Apts. $107,454 9am-4:30pm 1 30
Lake Wauberg $20,907 Sat/Sun 9:30am-5:30pm 1 60
Totals $2,272,005 22
Source: Regional Transit System and UF Parking and Transportation Services
Later Gator busses operate on special routes from 8:30pm to 3:00am Wednesday
through Saturday evenings. These routes are intended to connect student residential areas
with evening activity centers, including downtown bars and restaurants. The mission of
the Later Gator program is threefold. First, it extends transit options into the late evening
hours, a time traditionally ignored by transit providers. This further contributes to the
ability of students to go about their daily lives with little or no automobile use. Second,
Later Gator seeks to reduce the frequency of driving under the influence of alcohol by
connecting student residential areas to popular bar and night club districts. Third, Later
Gator seeks to alleviate severe parking shortages along University Avenue and downtown
Gainesville, the two primary districts of late evening activity.
The first Later Gator route was instituted during the summer of 2000, by a special
appropriation from Student Government. This first trial year cost $103,276 to operate for
the fall and spring semesters from 9pm-2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The first route known as Later Gator A -continues to operate in a loop through the
University campus and downtown Gainesville, where many bars and night clubs are
found. The program proved extremely popular, and in 2001 the responsibility of paying
for Later Gator was moved to the Transportation Access Fee. Along with the greater
funding base, three new routes were created. During the period 2001-2004, routes were
added and deleted based on ridership and demand. In 2004-05, the Later Gator program
will offer 4 routes that operate Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30pm to 3:00am.
The service summary and cost of the Later Gator routes is outlined in table 10 below.
Thirty four cents (or 8.2%) of the $4.10 Transportation Access Fee goes to pay for Later
Table 10-2004-2005 Later Gator Route Funding and Service Characteristics
Route Funding Busses Frequency
A $104,598 3 10
B $100,017 3 15
C $117,805 3 20
F $110,409 3 20
Totals $432,830 12 --
Source: UF Finance and Administration
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter contains the results from both surveys administered during the
Summer/Fall of 2003. Beyond the numerical results of the survey, this section contains a
discussion of the findings. The results are presented and discussed in three broad areas:
1) Transportation Habits, 2) Transit Attitudes and Knowledge, and 3) TDM and Public
Questions were asked on each survey to determine the transportation habits of
respondents before, during and after attending the University of Florida. This section
also covers respondent's housing and how transportation access impacts housing choices.
Incoming freshmen were largely suburban dwellers. Sixty eight percent of
incoming freshmen lived in a suburban single family house. Another 17% report being
raised in a single family house in a rural setting. Only 16% of incoming freshmen lived
in urban or multifamily settings. Figure 7 below demonstrates the disparity in housing of
incoming freshmen during their senior year of high school. It stands in strong contrast to
the type of housing freshmen live in during their freshman year of college.
Apartment Condominium Town House SF- Suburbs SF- Urban SF- Rural
Figure 7-Hometown Housing of Incoming Freshmen
Source: 2003 Freshman Survey
Respondents were allowed to give up to three responses to the question "Please
indicate the three most important factors when choosing a place to live." The most
popular response was "distance to campus" with 27%. The second most important factor
was "cost" with 22.8%. "Security", "Luxury", "Amenities" and "Social Life" were all
between 11 and 12%. Living close to a bus line came in last with only 3.3%. Only
eleven of 122 (or 9%) freshmen felt that living near a bus line was among their top three
Transportation Before Attending UF
Incoming freshmen's families show automobile dependence typical of most
American families. Their parents take an average of 25.1 minutes to get to work, slightly
less than the national average. Each household owns an average of 3.2 cars. Thirty four
percent of families own 4 or more cars.
Respondents were allowed to report two modes of parents' travel to work (one for
each parent if applicable). The automobile commanded 91.1% of the modal share- 88.9%
being single occupant vehicles. Only 2.2% carpooled to work, far below the national
figure of 12% (Census, 2000). Alternative modes carry a very small share of
transportation to work. Table 11 below shows the modal split for incoming freshmen
parents' travel to work.
Table 11-Parents' Mode of Travel to Work
Mode Number Percent
Drive Alone 119 88.8%
Other 4 3%
Carpool 3 2.2%
Bus 3 2.2%
Bike 3 2.2%
Subway/Elevated 1 0.7%
Walk 1 0.7%
Source: 2003 Freshman Survey
Incoming students were also automobile dependent for travel to high school,
although a substantial number carpooled. Sixty two percent drove to school alone.
Another 27.9% carpooled to school. School busses (5%), public transit (1.7%) and
walking (3.3%) account for less than 10% of the total.
Transportation While Enrolled
Incoming freshmen appear to be pragmatic about their options for commuting to
class. Eighty percent report they will live on campus, and all answers in this section must
consider that fact. Only 56.6% of incoming freshmen will have a car during their
freshman year, regardless of where they plan to live. Over seventy percent expect to get
to class by walking or biking. Twenty two percent expect to get to class by bus- 8% by
city bus and 14% by campus circulator bus. Only 8% expect to drive a car to class.
Alumni were asked to report how often they used transit each of the 4 types of
RTS service during their senior year (academic years 2000/01 or 01/02). Table 12 below
shows the frequency of use on city to campus, city to city, later gator and campus
Table 12-Transit Service Use at UF
City to Campus City to City Later Gator Campus Circulator
Daily 56 (36%) 2 (1%) -1 49 (32%)
Weekly 19 (12%) 6 (4%) 12 (8%) 23 (15%)
Monthly 6 (4%) 2 (1%) 14 (9%) 7 (5%)
Infrequently 27(18%) 31 (20%) 47 (31%) 34 (22%)
Never 46(30%) 113 (73%) 81 (53%) 31 (20%)
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Eighty two percent of alumni report using at least one type of bus during their
senior year. Campus circulator busses have the highest frequency of ridership. Seventy
four percent of the sample reported using campus circulators during their senior year.
The highest daily ridership was on routes that connected student residential areas to
campus. Fifty six of the one hundred and fifty three respondents (36.6%) reported
commuting from off-campus homes to campus by bus during their senior year. City-only
routes experienced the lowest frequency of rides. Only 26% reported having used a city-
only route. Rides on city routes were also infrequent, as 5.2% rode city routes daily or
Transportation After Graduation
Alumni show similar commuting patterns to their parents, although there is a
minor shift toward alternative modes. The average alumni took 22.8 minutes to get to
work. The average time to work is 2.8 minutes shorter than the national average and 2.3
minutes shorter than their parents.
1 Later Gator is only offered three days per week.
Alumni were asked the question "How do you get to work?." Eighty three
percent (83.4%) of alumni travel to work by single occupant automobile. Another 7.4%
of alumni travel in a carpool to work, whereas 3.3% of their parents used carpools.
Subway use and walking had minor increases over the modal share of parents. The
modal split is shown in Table 13 below.
Table 13-Alumni Travel to Work Mode Split
Mode Count Share Percent
Drive Alone 136 83.4%
Carpool 12 7.4%
Bus 2 1.2%
Subway 5 3.1%
Walk 6 3.7%
Bike 1 0.6%
Other 1 0.6%
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
The rates of transit use change somewhat before and after graduation. Each group
was asked how frequently they had ridden transit in their current city. The percentage of
that reported never using transit declined from 81.9% (freshman) to 64.0% (alumni). The
percentage of people who used transit daily, weekly, monthly and infrequently all
increased. The largest change is in the "Infrequent" category, from a 14.8% share to
28.1% share. A Cramer's V test indicates a moderate statistical change between the
Alumni and Freshman groups for all responses,2 indicating that transit use changes
somewhat after graduation. Transit use is more common among alumni, although most
of the shift in responses came from "Never" to "Infrequently". Table 14 below shows
the frequency of responses about transit use among freshmen and alumni.
2 A Cramer's V test renders a value of 0.208 with an approximate significance of 0.018. Cramer's V varies
between 0 and 1 and is used to compare cross-tabulated nominal data when the table is greater than 2 by 2
Table 14-Frec uency of Transit Use
Transit Use Freshmen Fresh % Alumni Alumni %
Daily 2 1.6% 4 2.6%
Weekly 2 1.6% 5 3.3%
Monthly 0 0.0% 3 2.0%
Infrequently 18 14.6% 43 28.1%
Never 100 82.0% 98 64.1%
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
Transit Attitudes and Knowledge
Alumni respondents were asked to give two factors (not ranked) that make the
RTS transit system an attractive option for student commuting. The results are shown in
Table 15 below. The most important factor for riding RTS busses was the lack of fare.
Difficulty in finding parking was second. A distant third was the frequency of busses.
Issues about social acceptability, hours of operation and traffic congestion were not a
consideration of many alumni.
Table 15-Attractive RTS Service Factors for Alumni
Factor Responses Percent
No Fare 107 35.3%
Parking Difficulty 96 31.7%
Frequency of Busses 44 14.5%
Convenience Factors 31 10.2%
Social Acceptability 10 3.3%
Hours of Operation 8 2.6%
Traffic Congestion 7 2.3%
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
To determine if minimizing transfers was a concern of potential transit patrons,
both survey groups were asked the hypothetical question "There is a transit line in your
current city that runs directly from your home to work. Will you ride it?" Respondents
were given answer choices of "Yes", "No" and "Maybe." Table 16 below shows the
results from both surveys. Very few respondents outright rejected the idea of riding
transit. Only 3.3% of freshmen and 12.4% of alumni said they would not to ride a direct
transit line. A Cramer's V test confirms there is a shift in the responses between
freshmen and alumni.3 Alumni responded with more "maybe" and "no" answers. For
freshmen the most common response (the mode) was "yes", while for alumni it was
Table 16-Willingness to Ride Direct Transit Route to Work
Answer Freshmen Fresh % Alumni Alumni %
Yes 71 58.7% 65 42.5%
Maybe 46 38.0% 69 45.1%
No 4 3.3% 19 12.4%
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
Respondents of both surveys were asked a series of questions about their
knowledge of the transit system in their current city. Respondents were asked if they
knew the: a) location of the nearest bus stop; b) the destinations of busses that stopped
there; c) the fare of the bus; and d) the timetable of the bus. An actual answer was not
required, simply a response of yes or no. Respondents were also asked if there was
public transit in their city, and results were only calculated from records where transit
service was present. Seventy five percent of incoming freshmen report living in a city
with public transit. while 93% for alumni report there is transit in their city. Additionally
30.2% of alumni live in a city with some form of rail transit.4
A graph of the results of the transit awareness question series can be found in
figure 8 below. Knowledge about the transit system on the whole is low. A majority
know where the closest bus stop is to their home. Seventy one percent of incoming
freshmen knew where the closest bus stop was in their hometown. Alumni are less aware
3 Cramer's V= 0.201
4 At the time of the survey rail transit operated in 5 Florida counties: Miami-Dade (Metrorail and Tri-Rail),
Duval (SkyTrain), Hillsborough (Light Rail/Streetcar), Broward (Tri-Rail), and Palm Beach (Tri-Rail).
Miami-Dade offers 4 routes, and the other 3 rail transit providers operate one route each. Given the small
scale of rail transit in Florida, questions were asked only about bus transit. Surveys were returned from
across the United States, including many metro areas with heavy, light and commuter rail service.
of the closest bus stop, and only 61% report they know where it is. In-depth knowledge
of the transit system is far less common. Twenty nine percent of freshmen and 21% of
alumni knew where the bus would take them. Even fewer knew how much the bus would
cost. Only a small fraction (4.3%) of each group knew the timetable of the bus nearest
their home. Alumni were consistently less knowledgeable about the transit system
operating in their current city.
o 40.0 -
A 6 Alumni
Bus Stop Destination Cost Schedule
0 Freshmen 70.7 29.3 22.8 4.3
MAlumni 61.3 21.1 14.8 4.2
Figure 8-Knowledge of Transit System Information
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
Respondents were asked to rate their willingness to use public transit on a scale
from "Very Unwilling" to "Very Willing." Their responses were quantified on a scale
from 1 to 5. By converting their responses to scalar data, the means could be analyzed
using descriptive statistics and various statistical tests.5 The results of the 5 question
5 Responses were quantified using the following codes: "Very Unwilling" = 1; "Unwilling" = 2; "Neutral"
= 3; "Willing" = 4; and "Very Willing" = 5.
series are shown in table 17 below. The data is analyzed using three distinct groups: a)
all 274 records; b) all 122 freshmen records; and c) all 154 alumni records. The alumni
group had lower means for every question. Standard deviation for all questions and all
groups was between 1.2 and 1.3, indicating consistent moderate variance.
Table 17-Willingness to Use Transit
Question Freshmen Mean Alumni Mean
Willing to Ride Bus 3.80 3.01
Willing to Ride Rail 3.58 3.41
Willing to Carpool 3.73 3.49
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
The mean for freshmen was 3.80, for Alumni 3.01. An independent sample t-test
confirms that means before and after attending UF are significantly different.6 Alumni
are less willing to use a bus than freshmen.
Willingness to use rail transit was not statistically significant between alumni and
freshmen. The results are similar regarding carpools. The mean responses for alumni
and freshmen were not statistically significant.8 There is no statistical difference between
the willingness of alumni and freshmen to use carpool or rail transit modes.
The entire population was analyzed for preferences between rail and bus modes.
The mean response for willingness to use busses was 3.36, and 3.48 for rail. There was
6 The Independent Sample t-test has a null hypothesis that the means are not significantly different. The
test renders a result oft= 5.401 at confidence level 0.05, and we can reject the null hypothesis. A t statistic
that is greater than 1.96 signals with 95% certainty that the means are significantly different.
7 Independent Sample t-test has a null hypothesis that the means are not different. The test renders a result
of t = 1.19. Since the t statistic is lower than 1.96, we fail to reject the null hypothesis and assume that the
means are not significantly different.
8 Independent sample t-test has a null hypothesis that the means are not different. The test renders a result
oft = 1.57. We fail to reject the null hypothesis and assume that the means are not significantly different.
no preference for rail transit over bus transit, or vice versa.9 Alumni preferred to use rail
To determine if fare-free transit would increase the likelihood of public transit
use, respondents were asked to rate their willingness to use "public transit in general" and
free public transit. Results for the free fare vs. regular transit questions are shown in
table 18 below.
When the whole sample was split into groups according to classification, the
results change somewhat. Freshmen more strongly prefer free transit, and a paired t-test
confirms the observation.10 However alumni show almost no change between fare and
free-fare transit. A paired t-test confirms that the means are not significantly different.11
Table 18-Regular vs. Fare Free Transit
Question Freshmen Mean Alumni Mean
Willing to Ride Transit 3.73 3.18
Willing to Ride Free Transit 4.13 3.19
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
Transportation Demand Management and Public Policy
A hypothetical question was posed to both survey groups to determine their
behavioral response to stringent parking restrictions found in many TDM policies,
including on the University of Florida campus. The question was asked: "You know
there is no parking at your shopping destination 3 miles away. What will you do?"
Responses to the hypothetical question are shown in Table 19 below. The top three
responses are bolded. For freshmen, the most common response was to take public
9 One Sample t-test for bus willingness on the mean for rail results in t = 1.59, failing to reject the null. A
test on rail transit willingness on the mean for bus results in t= 1.67, failing to reject the null.
10 A paired t-test is used to compare the means of a population before and after an event. In this case the
event is the application of the condition of fare-free transit. t = -3.49
11 t = -0.06
transit. Public transit fell to the 3rd most common response for alumni. The option to
drive to a more distant destination went from 4th for freshmen to 1st for alumni. Parking
far away and walking to the destination was the 2nd most popular response for both
freshmen and alumni. Fifteen percent of alumni responded that they would "not go" if
there was no parking at their shopping destination, up from 6.6% for freshmen.
Table 19-Behavioral Response to Parking Restriction
Behavioral Response Freshmen Freshmen Alumni Count Alumni
Count Percent Percent
Public Transit 42 34.7% 24 15.7%
Park Far Away 26 21.5% 39 25.5%
Get Dropped Off 18 14.9% 10 6.5%
Drive to a More 17 14.0% 50 32.7%
Not Go 8 6.6% 23 15.0%
Bike 7 5.8% 2 1.3%
Taxi 2 1.7% 1 0.7%
Walk 1 0.8% 4 2.6%
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with public policy
statements. The 5 possible answers varied from "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly
Agree", and the answers were coded from 1 to 5 to allow numerical analysis. First,
respondents were asked if they feel it is important for government to provide public
transit. Overall the group agreed with that statement. The mean response was 4.20, with
a low standard deviation of 0.82. The most frequent response was "Agree," and only 12
people (or 4.4%) answered "Strongly Disagree" or "Disagree." There is no statistical
difference between alumni and freshmen when the sample is broken down into separate
Respondents were also asked to rate their agreement with the statement "It is
important for government to provide more road improvements to deal with traffic." The
level of agreement with this statement was very high. The mean response was 4.45
(maximum 5), with a very low standard deviation of 0.66. The most frequent response
was "Strongly Agree." Four respondents (or 1.1%) disagreed with the statement. There
is no statistical difference between groups.
Respondents feel that government expenditure on road infrastructure is more
important than expenditure on transit. The mean responses for agreement with road
expenditure (4.45) and transit (4.20) were compared using a one-sample t-test. The t
statistic value was 6.21, confirming that respondents support road expenditures over
Alumni felt that "traffic congestion was a serious problem." An independent
sample t-test shows that the mean for alumni (4.27) is statistically different than the mean
for freshmen (4.02).12 The most common response was "Strongly Agree," and only 23
people (8.2%) disagreed that traffic congestion was a serious problem. Respondents also
believe that transit reduces traffic congestion, and they generally believe that transit is
effective at reducing traffic. The mean was 3.99, with a mode of 4 or "Agree." There
was no difference between freshmen and alumni groups. Table 20 below shows the
frequency of responses of agreement with the statements about traffic congestion.
Table 20-Transit Reduces Traffic Congestion
Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
Traffic is a Serious Problem 1 22 26 108 113
Mean = 4.16
Percent 0.4% 7.6% 9.6% 40.0% 41.9%
Transit Reduces Congestion 4 19 42 120 89
Mean = 3.99
Percent 1.4% 6.9% 15.2% 43.5% 32.2%
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
12 t = -2.23
When asked if it was "critical to own a car," alumni agreed with the statement
more strongly than freshmen. Freshmen responded with a mean of 3.84, while the
alumni mean was 4.25. An independent samples t-test shows that alumni feel more
strongly that owning a car is important.13
Respondents were also asked if they would be willing to vote for a political
candidate who promises to spend more money on public transit. The mean response was
3.06, and the frequency of responses is show in table 21 below. The responses are nearly
normally distributed, with most respondents "neutral" on the issue. Statistically there is
no change in the responses between alumni and freshmen.
Table 21-Willingness to Vote for a Pro-Transit Political Candidate
Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
Vote for Pro-Transit Candidate 15 39 149 57 14
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Freshmen report that TDM measures such as bike lanes, auto-free zones, and
calmed traffic makes them more inclined to ride bicycles or walk. However alumni do
not value these TDM measures as much as freshmen when choosing whether to walk to
bike. Table 22 below shows the mean responses for alumni and freshmen, as well as the t
statistic of the independent t-test on the means. All three TDM policies were less popular
with alumni, as all three statements presented score statistically significantly lower
Table 22-TDM Policies and Their Impact on Willingness to Bike and Walk
Alumni Freshmen t statistic
Auto-Free Zones Increases Willingness to Walk 3.15 3.48 2.62
Sidewalks Increases Willingness to Walk/Bike 3.61 3.88 2.34
Slow Traffic Increases Willingness to Walk/Bike 2.64 3.21 4.58
Source: 2003 Freshman and Alumni Surveys
13 t = -3.32
Finally, alumni and freshmen were asked rate their agreement with the statement
"I wish transit was a better option in my city." Table 23 below shows the frequency of
responses. Forty Seven percent of respondents agree that they wish transit was a better
option in their city. Only 16.% disagree, with 36% being neutral on the subject.
Table 23-Wish Transit Was a Better Option
Mean = 3.42 Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
Wish Transit was a Better Option 3 41 99 100 31
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Self-Selection for Transit Use
Certain groups may be more likely to ride public transit than others. The
literature suggests that inner city residents, those living in multifamily settings, and those
living in major metropolitan areas are more likely to use transit. Alumni make conscious
decisions about where and how they live after graduation. Some will choose to leave
Florida, others will stay. Many of those who leave Florida will move to large
metropolitan areas where transit is a better option. Some alumni will live in multifamily
settings, others will live in single family homes. Whether or not transit access is an
active concern for alumni moving to major metropolitan areas or to multifamily housing
is not known. However, these two lifestyle choices may create more opportunities to
travel by transit.
One hundred, or 65 percent, of alumni live in Florida. Eighteen percent of
Florida-based alumni live in a city with some form of rail transit, all but 3 report living in
Miami-Dade County. The remaining 54 alumni respondents (35%) live outside of
Florida. Many out-of-state alumni are moving to major metropolitan areas, as indicated
by rail transit being present in 48 percent of their new cities. Fifty-five percent of out-of-
state alumni lived in the ten largest metropolitan areas of the United States. The most
popular metropolitan areas outside of Florida are: Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New
The transit ridership frequency for alumni inside and out of Florida is quite
different. The breakdown is shown in Table 24 below. Zero alumni in Florida use transit
on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Seventy-eight percent have not used transit at all
since graduation. Those living out-of-state used transit more frequently, a fact confirmed
by a Cramer's V value of 0.469. This indicates a moderate-to-strong correlation between
transit ridership and being a resident in a state other than Florida. Out-of-state residents
are more likely to use transit frequently, as 16 percent ride transit daily or weekly. A
larger proportion of out-of-state alumni use transit infrequently. The percentage of
alumni who have never used transit dropped from 78% for Florida residents to 39% for
Table 24-Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents to Transit Frequency
Frequency Florida Florida % Out of State Out of State %
Daily 0 0% 4 7%
Weekly 0 0% 5 9%
Monthly 0 0% 3 6%
Infrequently 22 22% 21 39%
Never 77 78% 21 39%
Total 99 54
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Alumni who live out-of-state are significantly more likely to use transit to
commute to work. The percentage of alumni who drive alone dropped from 90% for
Florida residents to 72% for out-of-state. Twenty three percent of out-of-state residents
used modes other than a car to get to work, while only 2% of Florida-based alumni use
non-automobile modes. Walking to work also increased substantially among those living
out-of-state, from 1 percent to 9 percent. Table 25 below shows the modal split for travel
to work for alumni.
Table 25-Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents' Mode of Travel to Work
Mode Florida Florida % Out-of-State Out-of-State %
Drive Alone 94 90% 42 72%
Carpool 9 9% 3 5%
Walk 1 1% 5 9%
Bike 1 1% 0 0%
Bus 0 0% 2 3%
Subway 0 0% 5 9%
Other 0 0% 1 2%
Total 105 58
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Table 26 below summarizes the willingness of in-state and out-of-state residents
to use transit. Out-of-state respondents were more willing to use transit if it was free.
Out-of-state respondents were more willing to use rail transit than bus transit.14
Table 26-Florida and Out-of-State Alumni Respondents' Willingness to Use Transit
Willingness to use Florida Out-of-State Significant15
Transit 3.12 3.31 No
Free Transit 2.97 3.58 Yes
Bus 3.02 2.98 No
Rail 3.29 3.61 No
Carpool 3.55 3.39 No
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Multifamily and Single Family residents
To analyze if people living in multifamily housing are more likely to use public
transit, the alumni survey was split into two groups who reported living in single family
and multifamily housing. Possible multifamily responses included: apartments,
condominiums, townhomes and university housing. Single family homes included all
15 Using an Independent Sample t-test, the means of Transit, Bus, Rail, and Carpool for Florida and Out-of-
State were not significant. Free Transit was statistically preferred by alumni living out of state than those
living in-state. t = 2.74
other survey responses. Two respondents did not report the nature of their current home.
Eighty-four, or 55%, of alumni reporting living in multifamily homes, while 68 (or 45%)
lived in single family homes.
The frequency of transit use was higher among people living in multifamily
homes. A Cramer's V test renders a value of 0.251, indicating a moderate correlation
between living in multifamily housing and using transit frequently. Refer to table 27
below. Respondents living in single family housing did not report using transit daily,
weekly or monthly. Only 31% reported using transit infrequently, while 69% reported
never using transit.
Table 27-Multifamily and Single Family Residents' Transit Frequency
Frequency Multifamily Multi % Single Family Single %
Daily 4 5% 0 0%
Weekly 4 5% 0 0%
Monthly 3 4% 0 0%
Infrequently 23 27% 21 31%
Never 50 60% 47 69%
Total 84 68
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Living in a multifamily setting makes one more likely to commute by alternative
modes. Refer to table 28 below. Driving alone retains the largest modal share, with 81
percent of multifamily respondents, and 89% of single family respondents. The only
alternative mode utilized by single family respondents was walking, with 3%.
Carpooling was the second-highest utilized among both groups. Only multifamily
dwellers used bus and rail transit.
Table 28-Multifamily and Single Family Mode of Travel to Work
Mode Multifamily Multi % Single Family Single %
Drive Alone 73 81% 62 89%
Carpool 6 7% 6 9%
Walk 3 3% 2 3%
Bike 0 0% 0 0%
Bus 2 2% 0 0%
Subway 5 6% 0 0%
Other 1 1% 0 0%
Total 90 70
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
Single family respondents and multifamily respondents do not differ significantly
from each other on willingness to use various types of transit. See table 29 below for
mean responses to willingness to use transit. Multifamily dwellers were not more willing
to ride free transit than fare-paying transit.16 Multifamily dwellers were not statistically
more willing to ride rail than bus.17
Table 29-Multifamily and Single Family Willingness to Use Transit
Willingness to use Multifamily Single Family Significant?
Transit 3.06 3.32 No
Free Transit 3.05 3.31 No
Bus 2.87 3.14 No
Rail 3.41 3.36 No
Carpool 3.40 3.58 No
Source: 2003 Alumni Survey
The data supports the hypothesis that incoming students to the University were
brought up in automobile dependent homes. The suburban/rural setting of their homes,
high vehicle ownership rates, and low rates of alternative mode use suggest that incoming
16 t= 0.62
17 t = 1.74
students are highly conditioned to automobile travel. Low density suburban areas are
generally not supportive of public transit. Students will have to adapt their transportation
habits to conform with the TDM policies of the dense University of Florida Campus.
Some of the University's TDM policies are positive ones that will improve their
transportation options, such as bicycle/pedestrian improvements and transit investments.
Other TDM policies will force a modal shift away from cars. These "negative" TDM
policies include parking pricing, parking availability and auto-free zones.
Incoming students seem well educated about the TDM policies at the University,
and are pragmatic about their options for commuting to campus. Very few freshmen plan
to drive to class. Most expect to walk or bike to class, which is not surprising since so
many freshmen will live on campus. When choosing where to live during college years,
freshmen appear to be taking transportation into account. However they do not consider
access to transit to be very important when they arrive as freshmen.
While at the University of Florida it is clear that students are using busses. Eighty
two percent of alumni rode a bus at least one bus during their senior year. Walking and
Biking also drew a substantial modal share. According to Tolley (1996) and Balsas
(2002), alternative mode use while in school could have permanent impacts on
transportation habits. There is some evidence that transportation habits have changed
after graduation. Alternative modes have a small- but statistically significant- increase in
modal share. A full 36% of alumni used transit after graduation, but most of those were
Transit Attitudes and Knowledge
On the whole alumni were far less willing to use busses than freshmen. Despite
the slight increase in ridership between freshmen and alumni, busses lose their appeal to
the broad population of alumni. This may signal a shift in the importance that alumni
place on service characteristics after graduation. It may also signify that transit satisfies
the transportation needs of only a small segment of the population.
Previous experiments have shown that consumers have no preference for rail
transit over bus transit. However in this study, alumni show a preference for rail transit
over bus transit. This seems to confirm the stereotype that rail transit is the choice of
white collar workers. Further, it may signal that some characteristics of rail transit are
Free-fare transit was popular among freshmen, greatly increasing their willingness
to ride transit. However this was not a significant factor for alumni. This is further
evidence that the life circumstances of alumni are markedly different from freshmen.
Free fare transit may be successful at building ridership among lower income people, but
its benefits erode for those in higher income brackets.
Alumni reported that the most important factors about riding public transit to,
from, and around campus was the lack of a fare and difficulty parking on campus. Bus
frequency was the third most important factor. Alumni preference for fare-free transit
while in college did not translate into a preference for it after graduation. This likely
signals the higher income status of recent graduates.
A statistically higher number of alumni have used public transit, but most of them
only use it infrequently. This may signify that alumni have tried to use public transit, but
it is not meeting their daily transportation needs. It also suggests that the cost savings of
public transit mean less to alumni. Alumni show no preference for free-fare transit, while
freshmen strongly prefer it. The literature shows that people value their time at a rate
equal to half of their hourly salary (Hess et al. 2003). College graduates have a far
greater salary than college students, thus they place a higher dollar value on their
It is possible that cost is a concern for cash-strapped college students. Brown et
al. (2002) argues that unlimited access transit substantially reduces the cost of attending
college, particularly if students do not own a car. Unlimited access also increases the
viability of living on campus. These factors help explain why cost is the number one
factor for UF students choosing to ride the bus. Parking difficulties on campus are almost
as important as cost to UF students. This supports existing the existing literature on the
impact of parking restriction on transit use.
Convenience is also a factor for transit users. Convenience was the 4th most
important factor for UF students choosing to ride the bus. An important component of
convenience is the number of connections required. The literature shows that minimizing
connections will attract more riders. The survey data backed up other researchers' work,
showing that both alumni and freshmen strongly prefer direct bus routes. However,
alumni were more likely to reply "maybe" to the question about direct busses. This may
indicate that other service characteristics are more important.
Respondent's knowledge about the transit system in their town was poor. The
majority of people knew the location of the nearest bus stop, however in-depth
knowledge of the transit system dropped off significantly. Apparently very few
respondents had explored their options for public transit. Only 29% of freshmen and
21% of alumni knew where the bus would take them. Alumni were less aware of their
city's transit system than freshmen. Apparently exposure to public transit while in
college did not prompt graduates to investigate the transit options available to them after
TDM and Public Policy
Transportation is a major concern for respondents of the survey. Both alumni and
freshmen feel strongly that traffic congestion is a serious problem. Respondents believe
that government can tackle the problem of traffic congestion both by building roads and
providing public transit. When it comes to funding priorities, respondents think that
government should focus available funds money on road improvements. While they also
value expenditure on transit, roads are their priority.
TDM policies may be able to shift people from automobiles to transit, but alumni
are less willing to use other alternative modes such as walking or biking than are
freshmen. Common bike/ped supportive TDM policies such as auto-free zones and
traffic calming did not make those modes more attractive to alumni than freshmen. This
may signal that alumni have concerns over time and convenience.
Self-Selection for Transit Use
The phenomena of "self-selection" involves people putting themselves in
situations where transit use is more likely. People may or may not consciously make
these life choices with transit in mind. This survey shows that some people choose their
housing based on transportation factors. Other people will make housing choices with