The Changing Attitudes and Behaviors of University Students Toward Public Transportation: Final Report
A three-wave longitudinal survey of a cohort of North Dakota State University (NDSU) students who matriculated in the fall of 2005 was conducted to investigate changing attitudes and travel behaviors. The longitudinal framework allowed for investigation of individual as opposed to group changes in behavior. The third wave of the survey found that most fourth-year NDSU students live off campus and nearly all of those who do have access to automobiles. One-third of off-campus students use transit to commute to campus occasionally while two-thirds have used the bus to travel between their residence and campus at least once. Students identified cost savings, convenience, reducing traffic congestion and parking demand as the primary benefits of transit. In the future, two-thirds of students stated that they will ride transit occasionally or regularly. Among those surveyed, 64% of students stated that they would at the least consider voting for increased funding for transit. A mixed multinomial logit model was used to investigate the role of individual and alternative attributes on mode choice. The analysis found that students prefer walking or biking to travel by automobile or transit. The study finds that increased fuel prices result in modest increases in transit ridership and pedestrian travel. The analysis indicates that continued redevelopment of near-campus areas, resulting in shifts in the location of residence of off-campus students, will result in higher transit and pedestrian traffic. The analysis also shows that express bus service between campus and off-campus areas with high student populations could attract a significant number of transit riders. However, the cost of providing the necessary service may be outweighed by the benefits or limited resources may be better used to provide other services.