Parking survey results to help shape new parking system

January 25, 2017 | UToday
By Christine Wasserman

Thousands of members of the UT community provided their input as the University works to implement a new parking system for the 2017-18 academic year.

An online survey sent to campus at the end of fall semester drew more than 4,800 responses, including from 3,091 students, 1,299 staff and 464 faculty members. The respondents answered questions about parking currently available on campus and what features they would like in a new system.

“Thanks to everyone who took time to provide valuable information as we evaluate UT’s current parking system and seek ways to reduce congestion in certain lots, as well as to offer more equitable selection and pricing,” said Sherri Kaspar, public safety support services manager.

In addition to reviewing parking systems and new technologies being used at other similarly sized universities throughout the U.S., UT is using the survey — with input from students, faculty, employees, alumni and volunteers — to develop a new parking system.

The results of the survey confirmed that the highest demand parking areas on Main Campus are on the north end of campus and in the two parking garages, and that the most popular parking area on Health Science Campus is Lot 43 by the Health Education and Health Science buildings.

It was important to learn that a majority of survey responders (2,665) re-park each day they are on campus, meaning they are seeking a parking spot more than once, Kaspar said.

Nearly half of the drivers surveyed responded that they would be willing to pay more for parking depending, in part, on pricing options.

Additionally, the survey provides an opportunity to see how more people can take advantage of the transit system to travel campus, as 3,914 of respondents indicated they have never used UT shuttle services.

“The University is choosing to implement new technology for more effective and efficient operations,” said Larry Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration, which includes oversight of facilities and construction, information technology and public safety operations. “This will include a free mobile app that potentially will provide real-time data for drivers so they can more readily locate available parking.”

Survey participants said parking app features they would find “very useful” include: providing lot occupancy data in real-time (2,118); appealing and paying for citations (1,812); updating their vehicle information (1,705); and upgrading their permit to a higher-demand lot (1,334).

“Thanks to the large number of survey participants and their feedback, we’re working to develop a parking system that will offer better technology and more choices for University drivers,” Kelley added. “However, we also can’t lose sight of the bigger picture — that of overall transportation versus just parking. UT endorses environmental sustainability by promoting our shared biking program and shuttle services.”

Many more topics and additional information about the new parking system will be released as details are finalized over the coming weeks.

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