UOW Necessity For Parking Change

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.

 

 

 

References

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,

 

Ethical statement

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.

 

Interview Questions

  1. do you drive or catch public transport
  2. do you normally carpool
  3. how close do you live to UOW
  4. how comfortable would you feel using a car pool app
  5. what could be done to ease your concerns
  6. how would you feel if the UOW stored the data from the app
  7. what do you think of the identification process, how strict should it be
  8. have you heard of carpool facebook pages or forums for UOW? Ie campus east
  9. do you think adding icons that signify certain features, ie wheelchair LGBTQI friendly
  10. would traveling with multiple riders change how you felt about the journey

 

Survey Results

Advertisements

Research project reflection

The research project I conducted did not provided as much data as I had envisioned. To be honest the surveys I received (25 in total) was maybe half of what id hoped for. I was well aware there could be less since surveys are not usually a common past time for students, however I though since students who required similar participation would contribute to my surveys.

I had chosen to conduct a small survey, in regards to the number of questions in order to increase the participation as long surveys dont appeal to me. I realize now that I should have published the survey much more than I did and increased the number of questions predominantly those requiring written answers.

One question that I would have liked more information in was the reason why people would chose to use the car pool app or not. To be fair did assume that most, well actually all, participants would state they would use the app. When I had a few results 4/25 stating they wouldn’t use the app I was curious. I had assumed I wouldn’t require further information to this question since I would be discussing it in further detail in my interviews

The interviews were a good way to get further information from participants however initially I struggled to encourage the participants to elaborate. This was due to the wording of the questions and the manner in which I conducted the interviews. I found as the research project went on I became more confident, this was received by the interviewee and they became more comfortable, I also learnt to keep my questions more open ended and let the participant talk rather than contribute my opinion as well

Over all I still have a lot to learn about researching, to know the data I am looking for and work on the manner in which I obtain it .

The report would have been much easier with more information about the research, had I designed my questions better allowing the participants to elaborate themselves the data would have seemed so bare

Research Project Update

My research project has prominently stayed quite focused in terms of the base line idea, that being the concerns and interests of a potential carpooling app for UOW students specifically.

This project aims to communicate with a variety of students looking for their opinions on how the app can be designed to better suit the diverse mix of students that attend classes on campus.

Initially I intended to conduct a wide spread survey simply asking if an app like this was available would they use it. Secondly I would use focus groups for more discussion and even further still would conduct one on one interviews

I hoped to gain a large portion of information via social media and focus groups. However this could lead to a research project that wasn’t spanning a wide enough variety with less personal experience and opinion in the mix. Students in my social network may not give insight into aspects that most may not consider and I feel as though focus groups can lead to good discussion however may fail to dig deeper for more unexpected concerns.

I have changed my plan to concentrate less on focus groups (only conducting one for question material) to direct the project towards interviews, since I feel the data may be more personal and in depth.

After a brief discussion with a fellow student regarding my concerns with the diversity of my participants, they encouraged me to find participants from clubs and groups that may broaden the dialogue.

One group that I am keen to use in my research is differently abled people as well as people from the queer community.

I find both these groups seem to be often set aside and forgotten, as they are a minority. However their concerns regarding the app will be incredibly important if not more than the general public of UOW students since they already may have concerns uncommon already. I think these discussions will bring to light concerns I had not even considered, which I hope can promote awareness for others.

Differently abled participants might be hard to come by and the discussion itself will need to be taken with caution due to the sensitive nature of their disability.

From my understanding there is a queer space at UOW that is open to all. I hope to find queer participants here and amongst friends.

I understand I will need to approach the discussion with caution as a queer identity can be a sensitive topic and the last thing I want to do is bombard someone with my research project on the spot

For both these groups being approached by a stranger to discuss very personal aspects of themselves might be quite confronting. My intention is to approach with caution and explain the project openly without attacking them with information.

The direction of the project will be difficult to promote via social media, my best option is to head out into the field and approach potential interviewees face to face. So far I have asked friends to ask others if they will be willing to participate, particularly finding those who identify as queer or are differently abled. Although this will be a slow process and may not lead to many participants, I feel this approach will be more effective in conjunction with social media requests for participation

Research Proposal – UOW Transport

A multi faceted issue that most University attendants will have whether they are fresh out of high school, experienced students, or practiced faculty is transport. Namingly the excess, cost and availability of parking, and environmental impact

In most recent years the university grounds have been a warzone of space and opportuneness. Calculating ones trip now requires a degree in city planning and mid-traffic merging (not offered at UOW Autumn 2018) in order to navigate the highly congested streets and highways surrounding the campus.

Local RMS workers have been forced to direct traffic out and then back into the property via uncommon routes in order to subdue the overcrowding, and yet traffic still overflows from motorway off ramps onto already highly populated thoroughfares

 

This issue is dangerous, affecting stressed students and staff attempting to enter the campus as well as higher risk to pedestrians. Solutions seem simple  such as new parking lots however effective are costly and management of traffic as many have noticed can only do so much. Most attendants whether they are driving, carpooling or taking public transport are all effected by these issues as well as the surrounding environment from increase carbon emission in highly concentrated areas.

The smaller question I wish to answer through my research will be whether a carpooling app will be effective in reducing high congestion and pollution and whether will students use it

 

In order to study how widespread the issue is I will need to conduct surveys as well as researching the impacts of similar matters. I intend to research areas that have been affected by congestion of traffic in a more widespread concern; high traffic areas in main cities that have documented affects

This research paper discusses the issues brought on high traffic areas often with higher severity in ‘major employment nodes’ such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The article highlights the congestion on particular days and times as well as the correlating pollution effects
Problems in the urban environment: traffic congestion and its effects

 

As a supporting source I will gain data from research conducted at the location via the UOW transport surveys.
These surveys document the volume of traffic for a 2-week period at the beginning of semester. The survey took note of cars entering through certain areas as well as the number of passengers. This information could highlight what car parks are most popular and at what times, as well as the choice of carpooling.
The surveys aimed to use the data acquired to assess the increase in traffic around the university compared to previous years, in turn promoting solutions.

In previous years the survey was conducted by students employed by the university, which allowed communication between student and faculty in an area that affected both. As well as promoting sustainable thinking as the survey process was made visible to observers.
I was part of the survey team in 2013 and 2014, I found the regular surveys of the university to be effective in documenting the congestion allowing the information to be used later to better adapt the university to the increasing use of the area.
In 2015 and onwards an external company was used to conduct the survey by using information from previous and comparing the data to more recent years I hope to document the increase of traffic

With conjunction with surveys from students I hope to show both a quantitative and qualitative measure of the issue highlighting how the issue ha become so great that attendants have noticed a huge increase

 

The survey summary attached highlights how the carpool (3 or more) and ride sharing (driver and passenger) have continued to increase with each transport survey, even more so after the introduction of the carpooling car park in 2013
University of Wollongong ; Transport Survey 2015 – Survey and Strategy Summary

And finally I will survey student affected by the matter first hand and how hey feel the issue is being resolved
By procuring first hand accounts of the affects of traffic on student stress I hope to find test if certain solution seem promising to students. The qualitative information should show well-rounded research development and hopefully show a clear line to a resolution.
I hope to come up with a solution in order to narrow down the participant and findings. Once obtain I shall organise the data into a more digestible format

I will gain information from student acquired more easily and effectively using technology See; MILLENNIALS: TECHNOLOGY = SOCIAL CONNECTION

By surveying students via social media platforms I intent to communicate with my potential participants through a medium they prefer.The study discusses how Gen Z are choosing social media platforms of physical communication which is also constantly available to them

The study discusses how even in the most private scenarios like using the toilet, users don’t restrict their access due to bodily functions. They will continue to use their devices regardless of being in a private or public bathroom, an act that would seem so unusual for generation prior. This only proves that the best method of discussing and documenting the thoughts of people affected by the issue of transport of university is to communicate with them through means of their preference

Quite the Conundrum

Student Exchange challenges vs the effects of limited parking (environmental, congestion, accessibility)

I am quite torn between two topics that both affect me greatly.
One being the challenges of exchange student and another as the effects of limited parking on UOW campus

Having recently returned from a year abroad I hold my exchange experience close to my heart. Most likely because of how well connected I felt to the university and local and exchange students, made easier by programs, experiences and support offered by the University. I would like to research if offered would similar programs be accepted by local student of UOW to not simply take exchange students under their wings but become close friends and almost family

I feel a positive draw towards identifying an issue in for exchange students in terms of feeling welcome getting involved and more importantly getting the community involved in outside cultures a, allowing the students to share and feel important

On the other hand I have strong feelings towards the issues of limited parking at UOW however they are not positive.
As most student at UOW will be aware the lack of parking comparative to the number of students is inadequate, leading to many issues of congestion, accessibility, pollution and frustration

This does not encourage productivity in classes when you’ve arrive half a hour late because you’ve been circling every parking lot hoping for a space, especially when this occurs when the first classes of the day have only just begun

As you can see from my mini rant i feel passionately about this issue although that may be the down fall of a research project if I were to progress with it. I feel like I may get carried away with the multitude of issues I may end up researching into tangent that although may be relevant to me might hinder my focus

Narrowing down the research topic from the broader areas will be difficult I real invested in both and fell like they all have a lot of merit

I would like to move towards the a topics somewhere along the lines of cultural accessibility. With a loosely formed resolution in mind it may help to gather information for a survey perhaps to ask students if that particular outcome would interest them and asking for a few other resolutions as qualitative research

If I were to delve into an issue with parking I might lean more towards the environmental impacts and issues with congestion as a relative impact. Providing a solution to use in a survey will help to gain more users and will initiate curiosity ad provoke thought.

More research is definitely in order for both topics and once I narrow down the topics to something more closely researchable the choices may seem easy to chose from. If I allow myself the option to go on tangents in my research early on I may find niche topics I could explore with greater detail and more accuracy.

 

How I ended up in the realm of Mukbang

For some time now I have been yearning to travel but I struggle to organise myself when I have a lot on my plate. Even narrowing down where I wanted to go and how long I’d take, when I could go and who I’d go with, were heavy tasks I couldn’t even start, until recently

Finally I decided on a short trip somewhere around Asia would be the best bet to satisfy my travel lust momentarily.
I started to research by grabbing a few travel books from a local travel agency where I flicked through tour after tour realising how much was on offer and only making my decisions harder. It had been so long since I’d looked at a book or a magazine considering everything I needed could be contained in a device the size of my hand seeing everything in that book became quite daunting and I new I would never make my mind up that way.
I thought narrowing down where I wanted to go should have been my first move rather than diving into tour books where too much information was thrown at me

I moved onto a medium that has become a phantom limb to narrow down the place i wanted to visit, TripAdvisor was my first step for highlights of each country, and then Instagram for a more ‘personal’ feel of each location

TripAdvisor was great at helping me build information to a few key places I wanted to see, Instagram was good at showing me more of the experience once I had reduced my options

It started with a few travel photos of water front views, vibrant shots of nature, pangs of jealous, and then into food.
It got to the point where I started to base where i wanted to go by what food looked the best. I had decided distinguishing the best place for me to travel based on what there was to see was going to be too much of a feat and there was far to much to sift through when every country drew me in as much as the last. I knew I wouldn’t have the time or the funds to see all of them so instead I made the attempt to research the trip with my stomach in mind

This was a mistake I paid dearly with many, many hours attached to my phone screen. I got stuck in a black hole of related material to the point where it wasn’t even relevant anymore and I still kept going, I was hooked.

It was interesting to see how easily and willingly I would spend hours and hours following a trail that started from a hashtag of #travelasia, to a few individual travel bloggers, to travel/food related hashtags, to food trends on the internet I had never even heard of.

Whilst clicking through a few basic hashtags I came across Korean foods and ended up following that to unfamiliar videos of Koreans eating large portions of food and filming it. I was pulled into an endless cycle of eating videos that captivated my attention because it was so so unusual to me.
Ive seen cooking and how to videos increasingly in the past few years but this was something else, these videos showed people cooking and eating the huge meal right in front of you, with quite prominent chewing sounds.

Of course I did a little bit of research, the trend is called Mukbang and its fascinating. The idea is to hear every mouthful as the host describes the foods texture and taste. The host also interacts with their audience’s message-board type responses verbally. Many hosts have even found the trend to be lucrative through donations or advertising networks.
Although the Instagram side to these trends are short snippets of their full eating experience some Mukbang producers found on Youtube such as Dorothy,(who ive used as my feature image)

The community behind these Mukbangers is strong with many regular subscribers as the hosts seems to fill desires of food and company simultaneously. I have already established favourites and I cant even understand the conversation.

Now these videos aren’t for everyone as the point is to hear the chewing, slurping and devouring distinctly.

Note – I still haven’t decided on where I’ll travel but I have and will continue to use Mukbang to help me chose what I’ll eat if I’m feeling indecisive (its usually noodles)

Consciousness of our surroundings

What is ethical? Are humans becoming more ethical?

Ethics is quite a heavy handed topic, but it short term ethics is a way in which humans can look at the world and see what is fair and just, and tries to pin down what is required to do right for not only humans but for all beings living and non hat occupy the same world

Discussing the ethical behavior humans have towards animals and our environments is becoming a more prevalentHumans are slowly becoming more aware of their impacts with the growing trend of dietary trends such as vegetarianism and veganism. It seems to be that as people there are a few here and there who are changing their lifestyles to better help the world that keeps us living even whilst we poison it.

By changing your diet from meat staples to vegetarian and vegan meals can slowly start to change both the minds of those around you as well as affect the impact on the environment.Not only are herbivores addressing the way in which animals are treated but are also changing the way in which humans impact the world in the long run, by reducing carbon emissions

“Average US consumer switching from a typical American diet to a vegan diet with the same number of calories saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon per year” Eshel G, and P A martin 2006 “Diet, Energy, and Global Warming, Earth Interactions in press”

When tackling the issues of global warming; changing diets seems to be the hardest thing to let go of, a common excuse seems to be that they simply couldn’t live without the comforts that their diet provides, or where will I get my protein from, or I just don’t like vegetables. It is the mindset of the majority that needs to be changed, to assure meat eaters that a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t as boring or unappetising as is assumed

Even still being vegetarian or vegan sadly isn’t enough. Our lifestyles need to change and although change is hard, we need to make an impact before its too late. We are making our way with electric cars and renewable energy and on going environmental projects, yet it is still difficult to make a large enough impact to not just fix what humans have done but what we continue to do.

 

References

Eshel G, and P A martin 2006 “diet energy and global warming, earth interactions in press”

Singer, P. 2009″The Ethics of What We Eat” WilliamsCollege,14 Dec