Statement of Purpose – A summary of why why chose to research commuting and sustainability, how we went about conducting research, and what our original proposed plan of action was.
Recommended Actions – What can you do to make UMD more sustainable? Simply put—Walk, bike, or take the bus. You can also contact administrators and tell them what you want to see differently on campus, or contact city representatives. This section provides more information.
Why take these actions? - Conclusions we have drawn from our research that lead us to decide that the above actions are the most effective for students, faculty, and staff.
Resources We Provide – Maps, estimated walk and bike times to and from campus through various routes, survey results and questions, interview questions transcripts, and more. These are resources that we provide here that are products of our research or that are not accessible anywhere on the web.
External Resources – Resources provided by other sustainability groups that are related to transportation.
Contacts – A list of contacts for members of our research team, the Cat Empire, and for administrators and others who can be contacted with questions, comments, or requests.
We are a group of Anthropology students from the University of Minnesota Duluth who sought to conduct surveys, interviews, and gather existing information on alternative transportation. By “alternative transportation,” we mean specifically commuting by means other than driving a multi-passenger vehicle without passengers. Yes, that means driving to campus in your car. Alternative transportation includes public transportation, biking, walking, and ride sharing.
We are trying to promote alternative transportation in order to reduce greenhouse gases, cut down on pollution, rely less on foreign oil, increase the size of the campus itself (by reducing the number of parking space) and thus expand the scope of UMD's teaching capacities, and, of course, to save students, faculty, and staff money.
Below are the results of our anthropological research, which arose from themes we found in our work with University administrators and students, Duluth Transit Authority administrators, and members of cycling clubs.
We hope that your questions about sustainably commuting to school are well addressed by the following information. If not, please contact us (see contact information below).
Things Students, Faculty, and Staff Can Do:
Ride the Bus! If you provide a valid and active UMD U-Card, riding a DTA bus is free. If you have trouble finding out which bus to take, when it leaves, and when it arrives at its destination, use the Duluth Transit Authority's trip planner provided by Google Maps; it's the table at the top of the page. Just type in the time and date at which you want to arrive, your location, and your destination, and it will tell you which route(s) to take. They also have a calculator that estimates the amount of money you would save by taking the bus rather than driving.
If you live within a reasonable distance, bike or walk when you have time. Try to make time to walk or bike. For more information, see our biking and walking map with estimated arrival times. If you have had trouble finding bike racks, use the bike rack map provided here.
Carpool! If you have roommates or friends, pick them up or drive with them. If you park in Pay Lot G, you can park at a reduced rate if you have at least one additional passenger in your car. This will also increase the number of parking spaces available on campus, thus relieving what is (mistakenly) perceived as a deficiency in parking spaces. A survey from 2008 reports that many UMD students already carpool to save money.
Things We Would Recommend for UMD Administration
Get the University more involved in community planning to create more bike routes and make safer, more walkable paths to UMD (such as from Kenwood and 4th St.)
Increase frequency of very early and late evening buses. Some students still commute after 7:55pm, and this would make it easier for students who leave class at exactly 8pm or need to catch a bus between 8pm, 9pm, or later.
Find out frequency with which current buses are being used to find out which routes to increase.
Increase visibility of bike racks on campus. When racks are not visible, students might assume that there are no facilities for them to park their bikes, or they might resort to using non-bike rack objects to secure their vehicles.
Provide more secure bike storage facilities for people who own expensive or specialty bikes. There is currently only one area of UMD with enclosed bike storage spaces (near Kirby Plaza), and there are a limited number of spaces for bikes to be locked there. This might include, however, putting racks in open spaces, regularly patrolled places, or installing security cameras near bike racks.
Things We Would Recommend to the City of Duluth
Make clearly indicated bike routes (painted yellow lines on road). According to a report published by the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council, the cost of just painting lines that are indicative of a bike route is about $528 per mile.
Make flat, non-hilly roads more bike friendly (clearly marked bike route, fill potholes, "Watch for Bikes" signs like in Minneapolis)
Our Final Report. - This report outlines our methods, theoretical framework, findings, analyses, and the conclusions we drew from our research. If you want all the answers to “Why should we take these actions?” then read this report! This file has been saved as a Microsoft Office 2003 Word file (*.doc).
Research Proposal - Here, we addressed a problem: “Single-passenger vehicle transportation is widely used by UMD students, staff, and faculty to commute to UMD. In order to create a more sustainable university, alternative transportation must be promoted.” In this proposal, we put forward several research methods to find out how widely used cars are used for commuting to UMD, and what commuters want and need in order to use alternative transportation. This file has been saved as a Microsoft Office 2003 Word file (*.doc).
Annotated Bibliography - In gathering information to begin our research, we chose to look at previous information that had been gathered on sustainability. This annotated bibliography shows the very beginnings of our research via literature review. This file has been saved as a Microsoft Office 2003 Word file (*.doc).
Members of our team walked to and from campus using various routes in Duluth, timing our trips and tracking time from different distances along the way. Use this helpful resource if you're deciding to plan on biking or walking instead of driving to campus. The file is available here as an Adobe Acrobat file (*.pdf).
We distributed this survey to students asking them about how they commute to school, their preferred form of transportation, and more. The file is available here as a Microsoft Office 2003 Word file (*.doc).
The quantitative data acquired from the aforementioned survey. This file has been saved as a Microsoft Office 2003 Excel file (*.xls).
A map showing all available bike racks as of May of 2009, provided by Mindy Granley. This file has been saved as an Adobe Acrobat file (*.pdf).
Note that the year 2008 was a record breaking year overall—perhaps due to high gas prices and the beginning of the economic recession. This file has been saved as a Microsoft Office 2003 Excel file (*.xls).
Interview Transcriptions. All transcriptions are saved as Microsoft Office 2003 Word files (*.doc).
Walkinginfo.org - “The PBIC serves anyone interested in pedestrian and bicycle issues, including planners, engineers, private citizens, advocates, educators, police enforcement, and the health community.” They have solutions and other resources that we recommend, such as taking it upon yourself to use alternative transportation, and talking to community.
DSMIC's 1999 Metropolitan Area Bikeways Status Report and Implementation Plan - Page 32 lists the costs of converting roads to become more bike friendly.
UMD Sustainability - “Adding up to Zero.” This website has plenty of additional resources not directly linked here, like current efforts, more “true cost of transportation” links, and more.
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission - an organization that has been planning additional bike routes and has overseen the release of bike route maps in the northland.
UMD Cycling Club - If you can believe it, they encourage bicycling as a form of transportation, as well as exercise and recreation. Check out their riding routes and meeting times.
Duluth Transit Authority - Their website has a trip planner, schedules, a real-time bus tracker, and more.
Cat Empire Members
Jenna Carlson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesse Ewert - email@example.com
Kelsey Gronberg - firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Hughley - email@example.com
Achilles Sangster II - firstname.lastname@example.org
David Syring, PhD (Professor of Anthropology; led the senior seminar for which this research was conducted) – email@example.com
John Brostrom (UMD Auxiliary Services) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindy Granley (UMD Campus Sustainability Coordinator) - email@example.com
Cheryl Love (UMD Parking Services) - firstname.lastname@example.org
This website was last updated on May 13, 2009
Design and layout by Achilles Sangster II