Information collected from a transportation survey revealed that the UA community is turning to more sustainable modes of travel compared to previous years.
Of 1,359 respondents, 35% said driving alone was their primary mode of transportation, according to the 2019 UA Transportation Survey. In a 2015 survey, 56% of off-campus students reported they drive to school alone.
The number of people biking to campus increased from 3% of the 2015 survey to 7% this year. Eric Boles, director of the Office for Sustainability, is encouraged that people are indicating biking as a primary mode of transportation, he said.
“I think that people tend to answer these survey’s aspirationally,” Boles said. “I do think that it’s a lot more people than four years ago.”
Other modes of transportation include carpool or drop-off, motorcycles or gas scooters, an apartment shuttle, the Razorback Transit, electric scooters and walking. The second most used mode of transportation was the UA transit buses at 17%.
Kaylyn Clayton, a junior, is completely dependent on the bus system because she does not have a car to get to campus or work, she said.
“I love it,” Clayton said. “It follows the same time basically and they’re usually on time. Sometimes it can be a little late, which is understandable because there’s also traffic.”
Clayton is satisfied with UA Transit and enjoys speaking to people on the bus, she said. Before transferring to the UofA, she attended a community college that did not have transportation servicesin West Helena, Arkansas, .
“I depended on my family to drop me off at school,” Clayton said. “I lived in a small town, so there was no transit or Uber I could take.”
Officials serve people who drive to campus by spending a lot of money on garages. The Harmon Avenue Garage alone cost $841,418 to build, according to UA Transit and Parking. Boles thinks there are more people who are excited for alternative transportation than previous generations, he said.
“When you look at the pie chart of how people are getting to campus, it seems like we should allocate more resources to some of the alternative transportation options,” Boles said.
Aubrie Rayburn, a junior, gets to campus by using the Hill Place Apartments’ shuttle. Of those surveyed, 8% use apartment shuttles. When she was looking for an apartment to live in, it was important for her future home to have a shuttle, she said.
“I didn’t want to drive to school every day because that’s a lot of gas money and you have to pay for parking,” Rayburn said. “The only thing that I don’t like is that the times are kind of spread out.”
Officials conducted the survey so they could make more informed choices about programs and transportation services, Boles said. He thinks that it is important to calculate the UofA’s carbon footprint in regards to climate change.
Boles, who rides a bike to get to campus, is excited that more people are using sustainable transportation, he said.
“Not everybody can have a parking spot next to the front door,” Boles said. “It’s a positive for me, for somebody who would like to see more people using alternative transportation.”