Analysis of a sustainable travel modal share study at the IT Sligo campus
Research was carried out at IT Sligo to determine travel modes, and views and preferences of commuter stakeholders on sustainable transport provision. Findings were planned to provide inputs into development of a workplace travel plan and targeted reduction in car travel to the Institute, due to a planning application and associated transport development control conditions relating to a major Institute building project. It was also considered that existing parking demand was excessive and unsustainable thereby the plan provided an opportunity to influence travel modes positively. Quantitative and qualitative survey methodologies were utilised in the initial stage of the study from November 2012 to February 2013. This included the identification of relevant stakeholder groups, the issuance of on-line questionnaires to determine modal choice and preferences of stakeholders, “live” interviews to gather real time journey characteristics, modal focus groups to determine concerns and attitudes, car parking accumulation surveys and comprehensive technical assessments of the Institute’s transport infrastructure. An analysis of public transport services, usage and facilities was also performed. As part of the Institute’s implementation of a Sustainable Workplace Travel plan under the Smarter Travel Campus programme, monitoring of travel modes and attitudes was instigated during November/December 2014. This included an extended on-line stakeholder survey based on the 2012/13 study with additional questions relating to sustainable travel facilities to increase cycling, walking and public transport uptake, and a technical review of transport facilities and services. It was found from the 2012/13 on-line (494 respondents/343 students) and 2012 live surveys (1346 interviewees) that the dominant travel mode to the Institute was by private car at 80% (60% for live survey), with car-sharing only occurring in 15% of trips (22% for live survey). It was determined that travel distance, convenience, public transport provision, and car sharing issues were the dominant factors affecting transport mode. Walking trips corresponded to a 27% modal share (on-line survey), compared with 36% (‘live’ survey). It was considered that a significant portion of walking commuters did not participate in the on-line survey. Inadequate lighting was also found to be a significant inhibitor to walking with security concerns highlighted. Parking availability influenced commuters’ time of arrival negatively. The use of public transport services (private/public bus) from the 2012/13 surveys was low (2% live survey; 5% on-line survey) with lack of facilities on campus and poorly connected, infrequent services the main hindrances identified. Cycling trip (2% live survey; 7% on-line survey) rates were low with obstacles such as weather, inadequate cycling routes, commuting distance, and poor Institute facilities identified. The 2014 on-line questionnaire (210 respondents) findings strongly correlated with 2012/13 findings. Recent upgrades to Institute bus services had increased public transport bus mode share to 8%.Cycling modal share had also increased to 8% but awareness of new cyclist facilities and services was low amongst respondents. The 2014 survey also indicated that walking had also increased in popularity from 27% to 32% of respondents. It was concluded that insufficient awareness of new sustainable transport facilities had limited its potential.
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