The University of Virginia (UVa) at Charlottesville has initiated a transportation demand management (TDM) program in an effort to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on campus.
Reducing the number of vehicles on campus would not only be a positive step for the environment, but would free up land for more classroom space, university officials say. The TDM program focuses on alternative transportation options for university employees and students. "Transportation alternatives is not a one-size-fits-all, and it's not necessarily going to be an every-day-of-the-week sort of thing. What we realized is that people need flexibility," says Rebecca White, UVa's director of parking and transportation.
Under the TDM program, students and employees can show their university IDs in lieu of fare when riding the local municipal transit buses. UVa also offers occasional parker permits, allowing those who regularly bike or carpool to campus to park in university lots when they need to drive. "They're in books of 10 and you date them as you need them," White explains. Students and employees can also take advantage of a car-sharing program on campus through Zipcar.
UVa also recently installed bike racks on all 34 of its buses and has focused on improving bike parking and storage on campus.
An additional staff person was hired in the parking and transportation department for the TDM program and the department issued an RFP for customized ride-matching software for carpoolers. Carpooling will be incentivized through the TDM program, with new parking discounts going into effect July 1.
"Right now we offer a 10-percent discount and a 25-percent discount for a two- and three- person carpools, respectively," White says. "On July 1, that's going to a 2-person carpool discount of 25 percent, a three-person discount of 40 percent and as always, a four-person carpool or more is free."
In addition to the pricing discounts, carpoolers receive parking permits that are highly flexible, allowing them to park at many different locations, not just one. They also receive a free supply of the occasional parker permits, White says.
"Surveys indicate that as many as 8 to 10 percent of our employee population carpools," White says. "We're hoping that these incentives encourage even more people to sign up."