In a nutshell: Commuting to the U of M
The majority of students, staff and faculty at the University of Manitoba commute sustainably to campus. The Commuter Challenge, then, is an easy way for the U of M community to record and tally what’s already happening while also encouraging and promoting sustainable commuting options such as walking, cycling, carpooling, taking transit or even telecommuting.
With the friendly competition top of mind, UM Today took a look at the commuting habits of the University of Manitoba community and this is what was found.
The Office of Sustainability says that approximately 2,000 students, staff and faculty arrive by bike every day. This is the average over a full year. Currently there are 162 bicycle racks on campus for a total of 1,256 parking spaces. These bike racks are loaded during the warmer months – when noticeably more U of M community members cycle to campus. The Office of Sustainability is currently undertaking a comprehensive bicycle parking strategy, with improvements at the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses, including new racks planned for the fall of 2016.
Busing is the most popular way to commute to the U of M. According to Winnipeg Transit, an average of 9,600 people take the bus to the Fort Garry Campus each day during the school year using 13 routes that service the campus and adjacent neighbourhoods. A total of 442 buses come to the Fort Garry campus every weekday, with 261 buses arriving between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. That works out to one bus every 2 minutes!
Taking transit to the Bannatyne Campus is also a popular commuting option. The campus is serviced by 10 routes with a number of stops within a few minutes walk.
Transit service to the U of M is expected to increase with the implementation of U-Pass. The universal transit pass provides unlimited access to public transit services from September to April will come into effect in September 2016. The service is funded through student fees and is expected to positively impact sustainable university and community transportation habits.
The U of M also encourages its community members to form carpools by providing free access to the online ride matching service carpool.ca. University Parking Services offers carpool parking passes where students and staff can have multiple vehicles registered on one pass. As well, carpoolers can park in any of the 24 prioritized carpool parking spaces in U and Q lots.
Meanwhile, the university is further encouraging sustainable commuting through other initiatives.
The recently approved Visionary (re)Generation Master Plan supports the creation of a connected campus community with sustainable transportation options including the completion of the bus rapid transit corridor, as well as improving cycling and walking paths. Plus, the ongoing Sustainability Strategy identifies numerous opportunities aimed at improving transportation systems on campus including improving campus walkability.
The U of M is also currently examining the results of its first Campus Commute Survey, which will provide the university with a strong baseline of transportation data that will better inform future transportation planning. A full report of results is expected to be completed this fall.