HE CITY OF ARLINGTON, TEXAS, was the largest city in the country without public transportation. It is also home to the second largest university in the University of Texas System: the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). That means that on this 420-acre campus in the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex, the nearly 43,000 students at UTA had limited options for moving throughout the university and municipality and limited connections to the greater region. Students at this regional urban institution lacked the robust transportation infrastructure available to most other municipalities and institutions its size. An innovative journey that allowed UTA to revive its transportation system through developing public-private partnerships, using technology, and reallocating financial resources fixed all that.
The university funded two primary transportation services through a $25-per-student annual transportation fee that paid for nearly half of the transportation budget. The campus shuttle circulator carried passengers to various locations throughout campus, and the late-night security service provided an on-demand, door-to-door service that took students where they needed to go after dark aboard
golf carts. Three main problems existed with these university-provided services: ■ There was no comprehensive mass transportation infrastructure in place to move customers throughout the campus, city, and region. The DFW metroplex has a car-centric culture, and public transportation options were not available near campus as an alternative for customers without personal vehicles. The campus circulator had limited off-campus reach, resulting in UTA becoming a desert island in the heart of the metroplex for customers without personal vehicles. ■ Existing transit equipment was mundane, inefficient, and outdated. The university self-operated a shuttle service that lacked reliable equipment, had no technological conveniences, and was plagued by inconsistent service times. The late-night golf cart security service had a reputation for long wait times, inefficient dispatching, and vehicles too small to meet demand.
THE PARKING PROFESSIONAL | MARCH 2019 | PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG "37
From the March 2019 issue of The Parking Professional.