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Providers on managing student transportation challenges

University Business, September 2018

What are the biggest challenges colleges and universities face when it comes to moving students around campus and to destinations in the surrounding community?

“Ride-sharing is already a popular means of transport and … some campuses are already struggling to keep up. Without careful management, ride-sharing can cause a spike in campus traffic that increases congestion and liability. To curb this, facility managers should have their parking operators audit ride-sharing usage on campus and make changes to respond to any pressure points. These adjustments can be as simple as strategically placed drop-off points or as complex as a complete redesign of campus traffic flow.”

—Leonard Carder, chief commercial officer, Impark

“Current challenges we see are the adoption rate of emerging technologies and the pace of regulation and legislation being slower than the development and adoption of these technologies. Companies need to provide information around these new technologies and help educate, as well as make these technologies available for people to become more comfortable. Show people how these technologies will provide a better quality of life and a better environment now, as well as for our future.”

—Brittany Stotler, vice president of marketing, Local Motors


LINK TO MAIN ARTICLE: People movers go to college


“Balancing limited parking spaces with high demand has become a growing challenge for colleges and universities across the country. The solution for many schools has been innovative mobility options that make it easier to get around without a personal car, [such as] bike sharing and public transit. The more ways students have to get around on and off campus, the less likely they are to need a personal car.”

—Katelyn Chesley, public relations manager, Zipcar

“Colleges and universities need to maximize the potential associated with these increasing mobility options, while ensuring that they are well-maintained and well-integrated. Shared mobility services, such as driverless shuttles, electric bikes and scooters, are still physical objects that need to be maintained, so appropriate resources need to be committed. People want and expect customized, accurate and timely information if they are going to forego a personal vehicle. This requires a commitment to synthesizing disparate information sources into a single user-friendly smartphone application.”

—Lauren Isaac, director of business initiatives, Easy Mile

“One of the ongoing issues colleges face with student transportation is the fluctuating demand and the high capital and carrying costs of vehicles. Needs change by season (traditional school year versus summer) and by enrollment year over year. So, many of the universities we work with are using short-term leases as a flexible, cost-effective strategy to increase student transportation capacity when they know it will be needed.”

—John Cail, director mobility leasing, Merchants Fleet Management

“The real obstacle facing universities is understanding the mobility options they have available to them. They each have their own set of unique challenges, such as geography and infrastructure, but what are the best mobility options to address these specific challenges? What we’re starting to see is universities embrace things like electric vehicles, scooters and bikes as manageable modes of transportation that connect campuses with the larger community in a safe, efficient and sustainable way.”

—Sean Flood, CEO, Gotcha


Jodi Helmer, a frequent contributor to UB, is a North Carolina-based writer.