Everyone needs to travel to campus. Do you do it responsibly? Do you know how if you wanted to? These are the questions the Campus Alternative Transportation Map aims to answer. Launched just last week it has already started to impact how people are getting to and from campus.
Motivation for the project
We were approached by a student from the Student Environmental Action Leaders group on campus about creating an online map showing all the alternative methods of transportation on campus. We thought this was a good idea but knew it had to be more than a PDF on a page. Our current campus map was not at a point where we could add items like this so we decided to create a separate transportation map.
The map is built on Google Maps v2, although new at the start of the project, it is now deprecated. But it gave us a great understanding about the limitations of a Google map and how to solve these issues in our next round of campus map improvements. The campus transportation map highlights the bus routes, campus shuttles, bike racks, parking lots, trains, walking routes and campus retail locations. Although Detroit is not known for its walk-ability and relies heavily on cars the goal of this map is to break that impression. There really are many ways to get to and around campus without a car, you just have to look for them.
Although DDOT and SMART have the bus routes and schedules on their websites they are not very user friendly. It’s hard to tell where the buses run and when. The student running this project took it upon himself to improve this information. He recorded all the stops for each bus in midtown, visited each location and took GPS coordinates to map them. This proved to be very useful when looking for the different options for drop off and pick up points for a route in relation to campus buildings.
This year a large number of bikes have been seen on campus, far more than previous years. Students know we have bike racks outside most buildings but where are they really? The student running this project was motivated to find them all. He and a few friends searched campus with the goal of finding all locations a bike could be securely locked. They recorded the GPS coordinates of all locations and with just one click a visitor to the site can now see the nearest bike rack location to each building.
A big part of coming to campus if you are not using public transportation is where to park. We have roughly 33,000 students in an urban area which makes finding parking spots often a challenge. We have a list of parking structures and lots on our current campus map but flipping between both is a hassle so we imported their locations into the transportation map. Each parking location has additional information associated with it to know who can park there, when, and how much it costs.
Lastly as a bonus to transportation to campus it also is nice to know what to do and where to eat on campus once you get here. The site also compiles a list of the retail locations on and around campus. Right now it is not a comprehensive list but it is getting there. The locations are broken down by category and more information is available for each location. The goal is to combine the need to get to and from campus responsibly and to shop and learn in midtown Detroit.
The beauty of this project was it was completely motivated by and is maintained by students. Our department was just involved with the overall branding and functionality. The Business Operations department helped fund the project and the effort from here on out is to expand the information past campus and into midtown, getting area businesses involved and adding local attractions. We are already seeing a consistent number of visitors to the site and the most popular areas are bike racks and SMART bus campus routes. We are happy to be part of such a green project and encourage everyone to use the map to plan their next campus visit.
View the Campus Alternative Transportation Map at http://catmap.wayne.edu/