All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Virginia P Sisiopiku

Advisory Committee Members

Muhammad Sherif

Andrew Sullivan

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2023

Degree Name by School

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE) School of Engineering

Abstract

Conducting a comprehensive commuter survey is a prevalent task that can help to guide traffic operations, planning, designing, and infrastructure development decision. It is one of the best approaches to comprehending commuters’ attitudes and preferences and the present commuting practices. The commuting behavior of the commuters at and around a university campus varies from that of residential or commercial areas as the university often serves a diverse community of transportation users such as students, faculty, and staff who serve the university or receive services from the university in a variety of ways. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is an emerging university that attracts thousands of students, faculty, staff, and visitors every day. As part of its commitment to serve the transportation needs of its constituents, UAB conducted its first commuter survey back in 2016 to understand the travel behavior and mode preference of the UAB community. That survey was regarded as the benchmark survey for the UAB, and the findings were used to set goals for the future improvement of traffic demand management at the UAB campus. In the following years, UAB Sustainability and UAB Transportation undertook some initiatives to reduce employeealone and student-alone commuting, improve parking management, provide more accessible and sustainable transportation options including e-scooters and e-bikes, iv upgrade the infrastructure to include marked bike lanes, improved bus stops, and promote ride-sharing and telecommuting initiatives. Following the COVID pandemic, the university felt an urgency to conduct a similar survey to observe whether the past set goals were achieved and to understand the current commuting practices, preferences, and future travel demands of the commuters. The 2023 UAB commuter survey was conducted online using the Qualtrics Research Core platform and was open to all UAB employees and students. Proper announcements were made through GreenMail, UAB e-Reporter, and other social media to encourage participation. A total of 5052 participants willingly responded to the survey and provided valuable information about their commuting preferences and choices, factors that affect such choices, and their demographics. They also provided comments and suggestions for improving transportation services on and around the UAB campus and the commuting experience of UAB employees and students in the future. This thesis was intended to accomplish this survey and analyze survey responses using Microsoft Excel and statistical software SPSS. The purpose of the analysis was to document survey responses and identify the statistically significant demographic and travel pattern attributes that influence UAB commuters to choose their mode of transportation. This report depicts the research objectives, discusses the appropriate research methodology, presents and interprets the results of the data analysis, and offers a summary of the study conclusions and future recommendations. It is expected that UAB Transportation, UAB Sustainability, the City of Birmingham, and other local transportation agencies can utilize the study as a valuable resource while creating plans for the improvement of the existing transportation system at and around v the UAB campus. The methods used in this study are anticipated to be of value to transportation researchers interested in studying the commuting patterns of university students and employees in other university settings. Moreover, the findings and results of this work can assist decision-makers, urban planners and engineers, and transportation service providers to understand the needs and priorities of commuters at urban university settings and help them to plan for transportation services that address such needs.

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