For students, getting to school is very important, and the ways to get to school need to be effective, affordable, safe and sustainable. The University of Calgary has established a new committee that will assess the many different ways students, faculty and staff get to the U of C campus and work to improve these methods.
The Transportation Working Group brings the heads of the many transit and transportation offices at the U of C together. They will meet regularly throughout the year to work out the issues we all find getting around the city.
According to Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Scott Weir, who sits on the committee as a student advocate, a main priority is bringing all these bodies together so that all of the resources are in one room.
“What’s basically happening right now is we are assessing all of the different transportation methods on campus with the goal of deciding what needs to be improved on campus and what strategies we should be using and working towards improving these methods,” said Weir. “I think it’s important to make sure that all forms of transportation are being catered to so that students, staff and everyone who comes to this campus have the ability to use a variety of different forms of transportation effectively.”
Data and statistics were collected over the past year to see where and how people get to the U of C. Weir said this was an essential beginning point to evaluate transportation methods.
“We wanted to see where the mass majority of students are coming from, what type of transportation are they using, and then that information is broken down to specifics like single occupancy vehicles, driving to a train station, biking, carpooling or taking a bus,” said Weir. “There’s something like 20 different categories and then from there this information is planned on a graphical map of the city.”
Weir said transportation needs are always changing, and with many new students coming to campus each year, these changes need to be considered when creating a transportation strategy.
“It’s always a long process when looking into initiatives like this, but it’s still important to work on improving transit and transportation needs. It’s also important because we have a growing number of people coming to campus, whether they’re students or not,” said Weir. “For example, parking will always be something that we struggle with, and as you have more people, you need more parking, and when you need more parking, you need more space and we don’t necessarily have that space. Even if we do, it may not be the best use of that space. This is just one of the many aspects that need to be considered.”
Calgary Transit plays perhaps the largest role in getting students to school and will also be communicating with the committee, according to Weir.
“To some degree, it’s reflective of Calgary Transit and the transit system, and Calgary Transit will, of course, be in this process so that as we find weaknesses in the transit area and transit coverage for students, we can improve service,” said Weir.