Pitt commuter survey finds nearly half travel in single-occupancy vehicles


Pitt’s parking administrators used a Staff Council Spotlight Session on March 6 to unveil the results of a commuter survey of 6,200 Pitt community members — 43 percent of them staff members — and to speak about a few hoped-for improvements to everyone’s commute.

Kevin Sheehy, assistant vice chancellor for Auxiliary Operations and Finance, said Pitt has plans to replace the 390 parking spaces now unavailable due to the removal of the O’Hara Parking Garage and the blockage of some spaces on University Drive for construction — but such plans are still being finished.

Jonathan Pearson, director of mobility, assured that the University has no plans to eliminate the free bus and light rail rides now offered through Pittsburgh Regional Transit.

He also said that Pitt hopes to institute transient campus parking and is working on a system whereby Pitt community members can reserve selected spots for a single day and even at mid-day.

“We did think that shared and set-day permits would be more popular when they were rolled out on campus,” he added, since the former allow two to three drivers to split a week’s parking by each selecting specific days, and the latter allow a single driver to pay for only a few days per week. He suggested that departments can get presentations from his office on these options and can work with his office to maximize their use.

The University is planning to move to license plate recognition technology for tracking those entering garages, rather than the current hang-tag, in the future, he also announced.

Sheehy noted that the University still needs to find more and better ways to serve commuters from outside Allegheny County, and that the University plans to “explore a pilot satellite shuttle route direct to campus” from an area “with challenging transit commutes.”

Vanpools are one current option, Pearson said: the service also now offers a smaller van for five to seven passengers (as opposed to the original eight- to 12-passenger van). Eight vanpools are currently looking for members: Belle Vernon/Rostraver; Monroeville; Robinson; Irwin; McMurray; New Kensington; Sewickley; Canonsburg/Washington.

Pearson also reported that 250 drivers were offered parking permits from the still-lengthy parking permit waitlist.

Findings of the commuter survey

Day(s) of the week for your normal commute to campus:

4,914 responses

Monday-Thursday: 69.5-75.4 percent

Friday: 60.7 percent

Saturday-Sunday: 0.7-9.6 percent

Round trips to campus on a normal day:

4,923 responses

1: 87.6 percent

2: 9.6 percent

3+: 2.8 percent

Stops during your commute:

4,800 responses

Errands: 36.9 percent

K-12 school: 9 percent

Childcare: 8 percent

Dropping off someone: 7.8 percent

Picking up someone: 6.7 percent

Other: 3.7 percent

Top destination on campus:

4,950 responses

Cathedral of Learning: 6.8 percent

Salk Hall: 5.5 percent

Scaife Hall: 5.1 percent

Benedum Hall: 5.1 percent

Posvar Hall: 4.6 percent

Public Health buildings: 3.6 percent

Biomedical Science Tower 1: 2.7 percent

Victoria Hall: 2.7 percent

Biomedical Science Tower 3: 2.6 percent

All other buildings: Less than 2 percent each

Method of getting to campus:

3,717 responses

Single-occupancy vehicle: 48.9 percent

Public transit/shuttles: 18.2 percent

Walking, bicycles, scooters: 7.9 percent

Shared-occupancy vehicle: 6.1 percent

No commute – remote work: 19.1 percent

Why choose to drive alone:

3,120 responses

Schedule requires it: 54 percent

Commitments before/after coming to campus: 50.9 percent

Public transit takes too long: 49.8 percent

Live too far away: 33.9 percent

No public transit in my area: 21.3 percent

Where is your vehicle parked:

3,339 responses

Pitt-owned space: 57.2 percent

Street: 22.1 percent

Public garage or lot: 19.3 percent

Varies: 12.6 percent

Other: 7.5 percent

Private parking agreement: 7.2 percent

Park and Ride: 4.3 percent

Pitt parking permit:

Yes: 57.8 percent

No: 42.2 percent

Flex work arrangement:

2,623 responses

Yes: 67.6 percent

Of these (1,766 responses):

Work remotely 2-3 days per week: 46.2 percent

Variable schedule: 19.4 percent

Work remotely always: 13.8 percent

Work remotely 1 day per week: 8.6 percent

Work remotely 4 days per week: 8.4 percent

Other parking statistics:

Spaces on campus pre-pandemic: 4,722

Spaces on campus currently: 4,332 (with O’Hara Garage and some University Drive street parking removed)

Parking permits, currently: Staff and faculty, 2,611; students, 771

Number on waitlist: 3,358

ParkMobile spaces on campus: 376

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


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