UT Safe Cycling Campaign
The UT Safe Cycling Campaign is a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary effort spanning a year and a half’s time (August 2011 - December 2012) to improve the state of bicycling as a viable means of transit on the UT-Austin Campus. This campaign recognizes that there are fundamental improvements that can be made in the campus’s built environment in regards to the way that motor vehicles, public transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians interface. The existing state causes road-rage frustration among users of all types, and many believe discourages bicycle use. Additionally, bicyclists (as well as other road users) lack the necessary education for road riding and frequently break transportation laws, placing their lives, as well as the lives of others in danger. The ultimate goal that this Campaign worked towards was the successful establishment of bicycle transit as a safe, widely used and ‘equally-available-to-all’ means of commuting. Meeting this goal is dependent on enacting a behavior change, which this campaign addresses both on the individual scale in personal education and awareness, as well as that of the greater public good, in generating a lesser dependency on motor-vehicle use and ultimately getting at the core of two key issues of sustainability: reduction of carbon emissions and mimizing consumption of resources. In addition, supporting bicycle transit can lead to the proliferation of healthier and more physically active lifestyles.
A discussion forum, supported by the Center for Sustainable Development was held in the Mebane Gallery on May 2nd to begin conversations surrounding this transportation issue. Six panelists representing the League of Bicycling Voters, the City of Austin’s Bicycle Advisory Council, the UT Police Department, Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, UT Parking & Transportation, and UT’s Orange Bike Project discussed with a crowd of thirty the major challenges to bicycling on the UT campus, along with realistic ‘first steps’ for improvement.
This study also received funding from the UT Austin Student Green Fee, which supported safety education and public awareness events as well as service and bicycle advocacy projects and analysis and improvements to the campus built environment.
Funding provided by the Snell Endowment was imperative to the success of the campaign: the research and report elements. Entailed within this research, two graduate associates conducted a thorough analysis of current methods of successful bicycle transit infrastructure & urban design, education, and way-finding during the fall of 2011, with special attention given to successful campus bicycling transit plans. The research gathered through these case studies will then be drawn from in determining the best approach in improving bicycling transportation infrastructure on the UT campus. Funding requested through the Snell Endowment also allowed for one graduate research assistant to continue with the project through this end date, to supervise the implementation of the action plan.