Transportation Survey Case Study
Through the Office of Sustainability’s Campus as a Learning Lab (CLL) initiative, Dr. Saeid Saidi, PhD, an assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department, and Hassan Kamkar, a graduate student in the Schulich School of Engineering, partnered with Parking and Transportation Services to investigate the sustainable commuting habits of our UCalgary community by conducting a transportation survey. The survey will also give Saidi and Kamkar a glimpse into current public transportation challenges. One challenge their research aims to address is the first/last mile access from major transit stations to the campus. The first/last mile describes the beginning or end of an individual trip made primarily by public transportation. If the walking route is not pleasant and inviting, or if the walk is long on either end of a public transit trip or destination, it can discourage people from utilizing public transit. This study will help them to generate innovative solutions to the first/last mile access problem at UCalgary. With this survey, Kamkar and Saidi hope to help improve commuters’ lives and make transportation more affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly. Transportation plays a major role in contributing to sustainability in university communities. A carefully planned transportation strategy can encourage commuters to use more sustainable modes.
- Phase 1: In the first phase of the project, Saidi and Kamkar collaborated with the Office of Sustainability to create an online survey to gather information about University of Calgary commuters’ access to various modes of transportation and their commuting habits to and from the University of Calgary campuses. They wanted to achieve a better understanding of the University of Calgary commuters' travel choice preferences and understand the existing challenges with sustainable commuting modes. The raw data and information collected from the survey will be used to report the university commuters’ behaviour, existing barriers to use more sustainable transportation modes, and transportation mode choices for different members of the University of Calgary community (students, staff, and faculty members). With the help of promotional communications efforts from the Office of Sustainability, the survey received 948 responses from campus community members.
- Phase 2: In the second, Saidi and Kamkar plan to work with this raw data set to create a model that shows university commuters’ behaviour and the challenges that we are facing for promoting the use of sustainable transportation modes. The outcome of this research will be available in terms of a report highlighting existing commuting habits and challenges with respect to sustainability performance from a transportation perspective. They will also report more personalized information for each group of commuters (transit users, personal auto users, active mode users) such as average walking distance (or time) for transit users from the transit stop to the campus building, the willingness to pay for parking for users whose primary mode is personal auto, etc.
- Phase 3: Saidi and Kamkar will analyze information compiled from the survey results to recommend policy actions and potential strategies for travel demand management to encourage commuter mode choice toward sustainable transportation on the university campus.
- Reporting and presenting the findings and results of the second phase, initial findings and directions for the third phase
- Potential publication of the data analysis and reports
- Collaborate with Calgary Transit on the implications of survey results for transit operations and planning on the broader community.
Ali Farhangfar, Ph.D. student in UCalgary's Faculty of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering