Introduction

The University of North Carolina has always been the initiator and leader in the Chapel Hill area for implementing traffic reduction methods and promoting alternative forms of transportation not only on campus but also around the Chapel Hill community. The University currently sponsors and uses several Transportation Demand Management (TDM) techniques for both employees and students and will continue to do so.

This Transportation Management Plan (TMP) fulfills the requirements of the Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) Guidelines for the Development and Redevelopment in the Office/Institutional-4 (OI-4) Zoning district as adopted by the Chapel Hill Town Council on July 2, 2001.

Purpose

The purpose of this plan is to develop and establish policies, procedures, and operating programs designed to minimize the number of single occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips to and from campus, and the traffic generated by these SOV trips, by increasing the alternative forms of transportation available to University employees and students.

Plan Procedure

Each department in the University has a Parking Coordinator who is responsible for parking permit allocation, dissemination of information about parking, and communication of information on commuting alternatives to employees and students. The Coordinator is also responsible for disseminating information regarding changes in transit schedules, service changes, special event traffic conditions, and other notices regarding transportation and parking. Currently there are about 275 departments on the University campus consisting of a varied number of employees ranging from as few as three to as many as several hundred. A list of Parking Coordinators is maintained by UNC Transportation & Parking (T&P) including names, telephone numbers, campus addresses, and email addresses. This list is used regularly to communicate announcements via email.

The University has a full-time Transportation Demand Manager, whose sole responsibility is to develop, design, and promote alternatives to SOV (Single Occupancy Vehicle) commuting to the UNC campus. The Transportation Demand Manager works to actively promote and encourage alternative forms of transportation, and this position works with the Parking Coordinators to ensure that all available forms of alternative transportation are made known to the employees and students. This position coordinates and hosts annual Transportation Fairs with all local and regional transit providers present to solicit input and provide answers to questions and concerns from the UNC community. The Transportation Demand Manager coordinates local and regional commuting opportunities through the UNC Commuter Alternative Program (CAP) and promotes these options by publishing and distributing a monthly electronic newsletter called “Commuter News” to Parking Coordinators as well as all registered CAP members.

The monthly “Commuter News” publication contains information about ridesharing, biking, walking, event parking, local and regional transit opportunities, and other information regarding parking and transportation for employees and students of the University. In addition, other sources of printed publications are available in brochure form or via the T&P website to disseminate transportation information as described in this plan.

This plan is updated every other year based in part on the data generated by the Biennial Commuter Survey. The survey includes the distance from home for each employee and student, their primary method of transportation to campus (drive alone, bus, carpool, etc.) and the time periods of their workday or class schedule. In addition, the survey collects many other types of information that is used to establish specific target populations for various TDM strategies. The survey form was originally developed by the University’s Department of Public Safety and approved by the Town of Chapel Hill, and a random sampling method is used to collect data for the survey.
With each biennial update of the TMP, realistic numerical goals consistent with the Town’s revised Transportation Management Plan Guidelines are established for the future reduction of SOV trips to the University. Goal attainment is summarized in the annual report to the Town of Chapel Hill.
Although the University has implemented many TDM measures over the last decade to help reduce traffic, an important element in maintaining and increasing ridership in the primary transportation alternatives is to ensure that both employees and students are aware of the alternates available to them and the advantages of each.

Within the last ten years, the University has made great strides in promoting local and regional transit, vanpools, ridesharing, carsharing, and cycling. These efforts have been undertaken solely by the University or in concert with other non-university agencies such as GoTriangle (formerly Triangle Transit), Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART), or the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

The primary sources of dissemination of alternative commuting information is through the campus Parking Coordinators, campus newsletters, and local bulletins including “The Daily Tar Heel” (student newspaper), “The University Gazette” (employee newspaper), CAP’s “Commuter News” and various department and hospital newsletters.

Specific methods the Transportation Demand Manager uses to disseminate transportation information include the following:

  • Electronic dissemination by campus e-mail to:
    • Parking Coordinators
    • Student Government and Committee Chairs
    • Housing Resident Advisors
    • CAP participants
    • Merchants and Transportation Agency Partners
    • UNC Sustainability Office, Human Resources, Student Housing
  • Transportation & Parking Facebook and Twitter feeds
  • Transportation & Parking website
  • Press releases to University newspapers, newsletters, and local newspapers
  • Year-round calendar of programs/presentations/tabling events
  • Distribution of specific TDM Program brochures
  • UNC participation in regional awareness campaigns
The methodologies and strategies used to reduce the number of single occupant vehicles going to and from the University’s main campus can be in the forms of incentives or disincentives. That is, strategies and methods are imposed that will make using alternative forms of transportation more attractive or make SOV use less attractive. This includes programs that can provide economic as well as convenience incentives or disincentives. The University’s strategy is to provide both. Following are some of the major methods to be used to encourage employees and students to use alternative forms of transportation.

The Commuter Alternative Program (CAP) is an incentive program designed to encourage University and Hospitals employees and commuter students to use alternative transportation modes, which include carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking, Park & Ride and public transit. CAP members may only choose one primary mode, however they may obtain both a Park & Ride permit and bus pass. Some options include subsidies, such as $30 per month off vanpool fares or a free bus pass to ride GoTriangle, PART, or Chatham Transit Network.

UNC-CAP eligibility requirements:

  • May not be a current SOV parking permit holder (car/vanpoolers are eligible)
  • Must be a UNC or UNC Hospitals employee, or commuter student
  • Must register for CAP annually
  • Must live off campus

UNC-CAP benefits:

  • Access to free one-day parking permits for S11 lots and Park & Ride lots (1 per month for permanent employees and 1 per semester for students)
  • Access to Emergency Ride Back (to locations within Chapel Hill or Carrboro)
  • Eligibility for all contests and promotional items associated with CAP
  • Merchant Discount Card

The UNC Commuter Alternative Program (CAP) is the hub through which the Transportation Demand Manager coordinates local and regional commuting opportunities. CAP has a thriving Merchant Program. Local merchants donate discounts and giveaways to CAP and in return, receive free advertising and multiple mentions throughout the year via CAP marketing campaigns.

CAP and other TDM tools such as Zipcar carsharing and ShareTheRideNC ridematching receive regular promotion through multiple venues including the publishing and distributing of a monthly “Commuter News.” The “Commuter News” is distributed to Parking Coordinators, all registered CAP members and merchants, transportation partners, cycling stakeholders, student government and sustainability staff and an expanding list of known transportation stakeholders.

The monthly “Commuter News” publication contains information about ridesharing, car/vanpooling, parking, local and regional transit opportunities, and other information regarding transportation for employees and students of the University. In addition, to disseminate transportation information as described in this plan, other sources of printed publications are available in brochure form or via the T&P website.

The Transportation Demand Manager position coordinates and hosts annual University and Hospital Transportation Fairs with all local and regional transit providers present to solicit input from employees and students and to respond to questions and concerns from the UNC community.

Finally, the Transportation Demand Manager continually seeks new working partnerships for TDM within the University. Examples of these mutually beneficial partnerships include those with the Offices of Sustainability and Human Resources.

UNC Transportation & Parking coordinates and promotes ridesharing opportunities for the UNC community. ShareTheRideNC.org is a statewide ridesharing service that is funded in part by NCDOT, GoTriangle, Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, and other agencies. ShareTheRideNC is a free statewide website that was created to help form carpools and vanpools to improve air quality by reducing SOV trips. These ridesharing opportunities provide local and regional ridesharing options that reduce traffic and individual commuting costs in addition to improving local and regional air quality.
Vanpools are defined by vans provided by GoTriangle or Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) that are equipped to carry as many as 15 persons. UNC subsidizes University and UNC Hospitals employees as well as commuting students registered in qualifying vanpools for $30 per month. CAP promotes the ridesharing service ShareTheRideNC to allow potential vanpool participants a mechanism to match up with others wishing to commute from the same areas. Vanpoolers all share the cost of operating and maintaining a single van rather than several private cars. Vanpools can carry as many as 15 persons per work trip thus reducing individual trips by 14 per day. Vanpool vehicles are designated preferential free parking spaces on the UNC campus as an added incentive. The Transportation Demand Manager advertises when there is a vanpool vacancy through the monthly “Commuter News” publication.
The University strongly encourages the use of outlying Park & Ride lots for its students and employees. Currently, the University maintains over 2,200 spaces and Town of Chapel Hill provides approximately 1,400 spaces in nine off-campus Park & Ride locations serving over 1,600 vehicles. The current Park & Ride lots are:

UNC Park & Ride:

  • 725 MLK Blvd.
  • Chatham County
  • Friday Center
  • Hedrick
  • Hwy. 54

Town Park & Ride:

  • Carrboro Plaza
  • Eubanks Road
  • Jones Ferry
  • Southern Village

To encourage the use of Park & Ride lots, express bus service is utilized providing high frequency and more direct non-stop routes to and from campus. UNC employees and commuting students must display a Park & Ride permit in UNC designated Park & Ride lots. UNC funds 100% of express transit from UNC Park & Ride lots to the campus. Additionally, users of these facilities can take advantage of the Emergency Ride Back (ERB) program which provides an immediate ride back to one’s car in the case of a serious family or personal emergency. This service is provided by UNC’s Point-To-Point shuttle service.

The University has long supported and encouraged biking and walking to the campus. Standardized bicycle racks have been installed throughout campus locations. Sidewalks, including curb cuts and ramps, have been designed to increase bicycle circulation throughout the campus. Chapel Hill Transit and GoTriangle both provide bicycle racks on their buses to encourage bicycle riding in the region as well as in the Town and on campus. The aesthetic quality of the UNC campus offers bricked pathways and sidewalks leading to and throughout campus to promote walking. The University created a Bicycle Master Plan in 2014, in conjunction with the Town of Chapel Hill, which identifies areas that need further improvement, such as roadways, crosswalks, bicycle parking, policies and programs.

A mandatory free online bicycle registration program is in place and coordinated by UNC Police and Transportation & Parking to help identify lost and stolen bicycles. Abandoned bicycles are collected on campus every summer for a fall bicycle auction to provide inexpensive bicycles to those who wish to start riding. The University has a representative who sits on both the Town of Chapel Hill and Carrboro Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committees and participates in identifying priorities to enhance bicycle travel throughout the towns and UNC campus. The University also has its own Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Committee that is chaired by the Deputy Director of Public Safety that makes recommendations to the University administration concerning bicycling facilities and issues on campus.

UNC Transportation & Parking encourages cyclists and pedestrians who commute to campus to join CAP and participate in available benefits offered by the program. T&P provides publications that are geared specifically towards cyclists and pedestrians such as Bike Registration Forms and “Don’t Lose Your Ride” flyers for cyclists who register their bikes. The UNC Police Larceny Reduction Unit offers educational programs on campus including a Bike Theft Prevention Flyer aimed at improving bicycle security for the University Community. Additionally, to enhance bicycle safety and reduce the risk of bike larcenies, a discount of 50% off U-locks (in collaboration with UNC Student Stores) is offered to those who register their bikes.

UNC departments have the option to consider variable work hours for their employees. Where applicable, work schedules are coordinated based on work functions of the individual unit and University policy and are considered an appropriate technique for reducing traffic, especially in the AM and PM peak travel times. These methods may not be applicable or practical for every department as certain work functions may require some or all employees to be present at the same time. In other departments, however, varying work hours for some or all employees may be applicable depending on the approval of the department head and by University policy. The following three methods of varying work hours are used:

Flex Time

This method varies the standard eight-hour day for employees. Thus, some employees report to work up to an hour before others and then leave an hour earlier. This spreads out the traffic during the traditional peak hours. It also allows employees more flexibility in matching their work schedules to transit or car/vanpool schedules.

Staggered Work Shifts

This method works best when groups of employees have the same schedule and work responsibilities. It is similar to flex time but applies to groups of employees as opposed to individual employees. That is, a group of employees report to and leave work at different times or shifts. This spreads out the commuting traffic during the day rather than just at the traditional peak hours. This is best for hospital employees where work shifts are commonly scheduled.

Compressed Work Week

This method permits a four-day work week by allowing some employees to work a standard 40-hour week in four days. Thus, some employees will have one day of the week off, eliminating traffic on that day when the employee would normally drive.

Not only is automobile traffic reduced by incentive methods, it is also reduced through disincentives. That is, reasonable conditions can be imposed to discourage the use of single occupancy vehicles. Two of these means are through parking permits and parking enforcement.

All University parking lots require a parking permit and each parking lot is regulated and enforced by UNC Transportation & Parking. Parking permit fees are charged for each space and no one is allowed to park on campus without a valid parking permit except in attended visitor lots or at parking meters. Those who park without valid permits are in violation of University parking regulations and will be issued a ticket and have a fine imposed. Availability of campus parking spaces has decreased based on the Development Plan while the cost of parking permits has increased, and likely will continue to do so. This may influence some employees and students to forego driving and parking on campus in favor of using an alternative form of transportation.

Telecommuting is another form of TDM that can be made available to employees. Availability and appropriateness is at the discretion of each individual department head. This method allows employees to work from either their home or another location by means of an online computer and does not require their physical presence at the building. Thus, driving and parking on campus would not be necessary on certain days or hours of an employee’s work week if telecommuting is allowed.
Public transit is the largest and most common method of alternative transportation for University employees and students, and it is strongly promoted and encouraged for use by the University.

The University actively encourages employees and students to use the local and regional transit systems by maintaining a parking system that does not provide parking spaces for all employees and students. New students and employees are provided information about the available transit services at orientation/registration, through CAP brochures, monthly “Commuter News” publications, and via the T&P website that links directly with local and regional transit providers’ websites.

Chapel Hill Transit provides a fare-free service at boarding. The University, along with the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro also work together in developing routes, schedules, and the provision of financing.

GoTriangle is a regional transit service that serves the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. The University provides a free GoPass to CAP members who are either a UNC employee or commuting student living outside Chapel Hill Transit’s service area and within GoTriangle’s service area. Regional bus passes are also provided free of charge to employees and students who commute on PART’s Alamance Burlington Express (Route 4) and on Chatham Transit’s CT Express.

The University’s Point-To-Point (P2P) Shuttle is also available and operates to meet the intra-campus transportation needs of the University. This service is funded solely by the University and the students and provides the following services throughout the academic year:

P2P Express & P2P Shuttle

P2P provides fixed-route shuttles for students and employees that loop around campus nightly. P2P Express serves the east side of campus from 7:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. seven days a week during the academic year and the summer semester. P2P Shuttle serves the west side of campus, including Baity Hill family housing, from 7:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and on-demand on Sunday nights. These routes provide free transportation to all campus residence halls, activity centers, libraries, and downtown Chapel Hill.

P2P After-Dark Service

Demand response transportation is offered for those who cannot directly access the fixed P2P Express shuttle route. It is for those who need transportation to and from “open” campus buildings, or for commuters needing transportation back to a Park & Ride lot from campus after Chapel Hill Transit services have stopped.

P2P Campus Health Service

P2P provides demand response transportation for any student going to or from the Student Health Services Center (during all hours of operation) or UNC Hospitals’ Emergency Room.

Note: P2P cannot transport an emergency condition that requires treatment en route or one that deals with bleeding. Contact 911 for Orange County Emergency EMS services in these cases.

P2P Accessibility Service

P2P provides demand response transportation to and from campus locations to qualified UNC employees and students. The service is available 24-hours a day, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A P2P Disability Pass is required when requesting this service. A P2P Disability Pass may be obtained through T&P, Campus Health Services, or the Office of Accessibility Resources & Service based on qualifying mobility impairment.

P2P Emergency Ride Back Service

P2P provides local Emergency Ride Back services to registered participants of the UNC Commuter Alternative Program (CAP). The service provides transportation to UNC & Town Park & Ride lots and other locations within the Chapel Hill and Carrboro city limits in the event of qualifying emergencies that include the sudden onset of illness to a family member or one’s self, or due to a death in the family.

P2P Airport Shuttle

P2P provides a fare free shuttle bus service to and from the RDU Airport for Fall Break, Thanksgiving, and Spring Break.

P2P Law School Shuttle

P2P provides a fixed route shuttle van that runs continuously between the Law School and the Tennis Court (T Lot) from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the Fall and Spring Semesters.

P2P Library Shuttle

P2P provides a shuttle van service linking the Student Union with campus housing locations (including fraternities and sororities close to main campus) and operates continuously from midnight to 3:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday during the Fall and Spring Semesters. The shuttle van does not run on a fixed route, but provides transport on a first-come, first-serve basis from the bus pull-out on South Road directly in front of the Student Union to requested campus housing locations.

P2P Resident Remote Storage Lot (RR Shuttle)

P2P operates a shuttle van between the Resident Storage Lot (RR) located on Estes Drive and main campus Monday through Friday from 10:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. and Sundays from 11:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. The shuttle runs continuously on a 30-minute loop from the storage lot to main campus P2P Express stops. The shuttle is also available on-demand on Saturdays after 10:45 p.m.

The University encourages carsharing, which reduces the need for individual vehicles to access campus. This service is for students, employees, and department use in conjunction with Zipcar, which is a rental carsharing service that offers cars by the hour or the day. Zipcars are located at convenient locations across the UNC campus. Zipcar vehicles are also located across the country and around the world, and a membership from UNC is honored throughout the network of vehicles. A reasonable annual membership fee and an hourly rate are assessed for the use of the vehicles. CAP members receive a free annual membership.
The University offers Tar Heel Bikes bike sharing and provides 100 bikes located at bike share hubs around campus for hourly use. This service is available to the public as well as employees and students. Anyone may use Tar Heel Bikes free for one hour with the Daily Plan, without needing to pay for a yearly membership. UNC students and employees may use their unc.edu email address to sign up for the Lifestyle Plan to ride free for two hours daily.

Users can access a bike by reserving it ahead of time online or with the Social Bicycles app, or they can enter a unique access code into a bicycle’s keypad to start riding. This ease of access allows people to cross campus quickly without using a car or ride hailing service. Bike sharing also prevents bicycle larcenies and abandonment by reducing personal risks and barriers associated with bike ownership.

Plan Revision and Evaluation

The progress of the University’s Transportation Management Plan is evaluated every two years with the biennial Commuter Survey. The mode splits of the new survey are compared to those of the previous one to evaluate the effectiveness of the TMP and the TDM measures used by the University to reduce traffic and increase the use of alternative means of transportation. Efforts made to encourage alternative forms of transportation and reduce the number of SOV trips are summarized in the Annual Development Plan Transportation Report to the Town of Chapel Hill no later than December 31 of each required year.