Transportation Studies

Transit and Parking Study


Features: The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was facing critical decisions regarding the level of service its parking and transportation facilities could provide. Upon the completion another large parking deck, the University realized that continued parking development on the Central Campus was neither feasible nor desirable, either from a traffic circulation stand point or an esthetic one. As such, a Task Force of faculty, staff, student and hospital representatives was created to assess the current situation, study alternative recommendations (costs & benefits), and recommended to the University Chancellor a plan of action.

Description: Working in conjunction with Parsons Brinckerhoff, DESMAN completed a systems audit of the University's parking program. The supply and demand for spaces, the current parking permit allocation formula and distribution procedures, and the enforcement and fine program was studied and evaluated. Furthermore, the financial responsibilities of the parking system were reviewed, including the determination of annual per space operating expenses, the costs of parking development (decks), and the offsetting permit and fine revenues. In effect, DESMAN educated the Task Force on the costs of providing Central and off-campus parking spaces and the revenue which the University collects to meet those expenses. The Task Force discovered that the permit and fine revenues do not come close to meeting parking's financial requirements. Further impacting the financial proforma of the parking system is the fact that operating costs for the transit system must be partially subsidized by parking.

Given the desire to end the expansion of parking on the Main Campus, the Task Force wished to explore the costs and benefits of improving the on- and off-campus shuttle system. It was determined that improved shuttle service can improve the utilization of off-campus satellite parking facilities and thereby reduce the demand for Central Campus parking. However, the recommended transit improvements would increase the costs of operations and increase the stress on the parking system's financial requirements. Therefore, it was recommended that the price of a parking permit (currently $100-300 depending on the location) must dramatically increase in stages in the next 5 years. The purpose was two fold. By increasing the Central Campus permit price the University hoped to improve the attractiveness of the free satellite lots and provide the additional revenue necessary to improve the transit service. The Task Force’s next responsibility was to present these findings to the University Chancellor and explore the various options (media) to educate the University community to the current problems, goals, recommendations to improve parking and transporation and, therefore, the reason why parking permit rate increases are necessary.

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