The Socio-Economic Factors of Transportation at Dalhousie University
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The goal of our research was to increase knowledge and understanding of how Dalhousie University students commute to and from Studley Campus, with a focus on the socio-economic factors that influence their choices. This particular focus was chosen because few pieces of literature and research focus on the socio-economic factors influencing transportation habits. Our project aims to fill a gap in both literature and public knowledge. Transportation is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions on university campuses (Klein-Banai & Theis, 2011). Therefore by reducing unsustainable transportation, methods which produce high levels of greenhouse gases, universities campuses can become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint. Understanding these factors is an important step in moving towards a more environmentally focused campus. Knowing why students use the methods of transportation that they do as well as the reasons behind it can allow for the University to implement positive changes and promote increased sustainable transportation. Through our research we recommend that Dalhousie University takes initiative into encouraging students to use more sustainable methods of transportation. This could be through improvement of existing infrastructure that encourages sustainable transit methods, such improving and expanding upon bike lanes. Our research indicated that environmental factors do not act as a main influence to students transportation habits. Consequently, in order to promote more sustainable choice of transportation habits, factors that were shown to influence students’ actions including time and distance of commute, cost, and reliability must be focused on. Furthermore, the conducted research could inform improvements of transportation options across the city of Halifax. Our research shows that a high percentage of students rely on public transportation in their commutes despite many appearing dissatisfied with the service. By utilizing this knowledge of use, combined with the factors that individuals prioritize and value when selecting their transit method the Municipality can increase choice-ridership and better serve public transit users. Overall, this study aims to provide information on the factors that influence students in their choice of transportation in commuting to and from Dalhousie. Through our focus on the socio-economic factors that influence these decisions, we aim to fill a gap in the available literature and intend to provide information that can improve the available methods of transportation on Dalhousie’s campuses.