From the day you make your application to attend University to the day you leave, you will need to consider transport, All students who attend classes on campus are required to plan ahead. Whether that be public transport, carpooling or as a single driver.
From an anxious students point of view transport takes up a fair amount of thought when mentally planning out my day. From the worry of traffic along the journey, ease of parking, punctuality, and of course financial implications, with the additional issues of congestion on campus, my morning check list is not a relaxing affair.
This topic affects a large number of students regardless of their degree, distance from uni and hours spent at uni. I wanted to test this statement out, or rather prove it, to highlight the necessity for continual upgrades in transport related areas on campus.
After many surveys, focus groups, and interviews I found interesting results tat did indeed support the idea that UOW is in need of upgrades, based on student opinion.
The research project I piloted resulted in one focus group, 25 surveys and 7 interviews. Conducted over a number of months the information gathered provided a small insight into the concerns of students regarding lack of transport or convenient and affordable parking. Although the study wasn’t able to obtain a large number of opinions the peak into student life to and from Uni has still been documented.
The report by E. A. Narragon analyzing campus parking policies stated “Many urban colleges and universities in the United States are currently being plagued with transportation problems, predominant among them being an inability to provide adequate parking facilities for faculty, staff, students, and visitors” (1973) the report gathered information of parking congestion based of days of the week, periods of the semester (ie first week/exam week) and distance from campus. The model highlights the ineffective natures of under-allocating parking spaces, leading to an overflow of parking and congestion in neighboring areas
This discussion is interesting since UOW’s lack of parking is common issue that can be rectified by a number of solutions.
My research project aimed to showcase and evaluate a potential solution; a carpool app.
The premise of the app was to relive congestion by reducing the number of cars requiring access to campus parking lots as well as reducing the need for spots.
The app would allow students to communicate with each other, providing pick up locations and timelines to better organize the current self-directed carpool system.
By providing a solution to students parking problems the research project aimed to gain insight into how this potential change might affect how stressed students become when UOW parking is brought to mind.
Interesting results showed that carpooling is a desirable options for students however many students felt that “many of my friends wont have the same classes as I do, so its hard to try plan carpooling when we’ll all be in at different times” Interviewee 2
Some students indicated the issue was simply the distance from their homes to campus “I prefer to drive because I live far from uni, having my car here all day means I don’t have t worry about a way home” – Interviewee 3
Most interviewees who had cars indicated they would preferred to be a driver if the app became available, most indicated the reason being peace of mind and comfort. Some indicated control as a reason “I’d prefer to be the driver. If I don’t know the people I will be sharing a journey with id rather be in control”- Interviewee 2 (interviewee 3 had similar opinions)
Out of all the interviews I conducted every participant indicated they would use the carpool app in some way or another. Most indicated a preference to be a driver if they were a woman and if their journey would be longer (ie Sydney suburbs/ Shire)
It seemed as though participants closer to campus had less preference of driver or passenger, these participants also used public transport regularly however indicated the app would be more convenient.
The surveys highlighted the difference in students who drove or didn’t, and whether they currently carpooled or would with the help of a carpool app. Many admitted they didn’t use carpooling systems already in place at UOW as matching schedules with friends was difficult. However one interesting participant advised that “I’m a disabled wheelchair user, so it makes getting lifts with strangers more complicated.”
This variant had come to mind before research had begun, when interviews were conducted the question “ do you think signifiers such as wheelchair friendly/ LGBTQI friendly, are relevant for UOW students?”
As I was unable to interview a mobility impaired person I was unable to gain personal insight to this option. However many participants agreed that using signifiers would help to make passengers and drivers alike aware of particular options and feel comfortable with the people they were traveling with.
One participated stated “having something that shows if a ride is LGBTQI friendly will really help me as I identify as queer, although that may not be obvious to many, this option would definitely make me feel more comfortable”
The response from students to use an app that would suit their technology driven lives was positive even when discussing the cons ie handling of personal information, delay in identification of drivers and passengers and liability.
The project did highlight the student’s need for some options to relive tension regarding parking on campus or surrounding areas. The solution may not be a carpooling app however it seems it would be well received. UOW could look into the construction of additional parking complexes or increasing public transport. In saying that the carpooling app would use existing infrastructure without increasing vehicles (buses/trains) and congestion.
AECOM Australia Pty Ltd 2015 “Transport Survey 2015 – Survey and Strategy Summary“ University of Wollongong https://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@bg/documents/doc/uow208147.pdf
Lee, Brian H.Y., et al. “Rideshare Mode Potential in Non-Metropolitan Areas of the Northeastern United States.” Journal of Transport and Land Use, vol. 9, no. 3, 2016, pp. 111–126. JSTOR,
Jick, Todd D. “Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: Triangulation in Action.” Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 4, 1979, pp. 602–611. JSTOR,
McClintock, Hugh, and Vincent Shacklock. “Alternative Transport Plans: Encouraging the Role of Employers in Changing Staff Commuter Travel Modes.” The Town Planning Review, vol. 67, no. 4, 1996, pp. 485–503. JSTOR,
Narragon, E. A., et al. “A Probabilistic Model for Analyzing Campus Parking Policies.” Operations Research, vol. 22, no. 5, 1974, pp. 1025–1039. JSTOR,
Nielsen, 2014 “Millennials: Technology = Social Connection” Newswire http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/millennials-technology-social-connection.html
Weinberger, Roslyn, and Tony Tripodi. “Trends in Types of Research Reported in Selected Social Work Journals, 1956-65.” Social Service Review, vol. 43, no. 4, 1969, pp. 439–447. JSTOR,
Please be advised this research project is in no way compulsory. You may opt out of the project at your discretion at any time. If you feel uncomfortable during the survey/ interview we may postpone or stop all together.
The information and results will be analyzed documented anonymously.
- do you drive or catch public transport
- do you normally carpool
- how close do you live to UOW
- how comfortable would you feel using a car pool app
- what could be done to ease your concerns
- how would you feel if the UOW stored the data from the app
- what do you think of the identification process, how strict should it be
- have you heard of carpool facebook pages or forums for UOW? Ie campus east
- do you think adding icons that signify certain features, ie wheelchair LGBTQI friendly
- would traveling with multiple riders change how you felt about the journey