The University of 2050/Campus Mobility and Community Connections

The future of mobility on campus will be dictated by the concerns of sustainability, accessibility, and other quality-of-life among the students, faculties, and surrounding communities of the University. Broader changes in means of movement and infrastructure will most likely find their beginnings on college campuses, and the export of students who are bound to be participants in the political process is another long-term effect on the concept of mobility that gets its start at the university.

New Infrastructure of 2050 edit

The University of 2050 will see changes in mobility governed by the changes in college infrastructure that are part of a new movement in infrastructure planning. As Universities offer a young, highly mobile and receptive population, these campuses offer an ideal venue for innovation. Students, faculty and staff, and community members will need to be able to navigate physical campuses as part of any future university, therefore the layout of these campuses, including their buildings, arteries of transportation, and amenity areas will see design changes that offer improved accessibility as part of a grander vision for the future of 2050.

Improved Walkability edit

Walkability improvements are one of the areas seeing the greatest progress with respect to changes in college infrastructure. Students at the University of Washington capture a growing sentiment among college students who find relief in walkable communities, with friends, services and common spaces all within a short distance. [1] Commercial ventures have already begun to capitalize on the demands of students to have places of community within walking distance. Students at the University of Kentucky in Lexington utilize signs posted by the startup Walk [Your City] to locate restaurants, shops, or other entertainment venues. [2] Students don’t simply forsake these changes as they exit colleges, either. Students are more culturally inclined to favor “New Urbanism” design techniques in city planning, as for many, the positive experiences of the safe and robust pedestrian infrastructure that their campus affords them offers them a glimpse into the improvements that walkable community spaces have on their own wellbeing. [3] Factors like these readily point to a University of 2050 with walkability as the cornerstone of new designs for campus mobility.

Campus Design Changes edit

The Universities of 2050 will see more at stake than changes to the path layout and walkability of their spaces, as those who interact with these schools demand that all facets of campus life are brought in line with new expectations of mobility. Virginia Tech has already shifted construction and renovation policies, as part of a new campus master plan, to focus on improving accessible mobility, rather than simple campus expansion, even as the university’s student and staff body continues to expand. [4] Virginia Tech is coupling these new changes with the addition of a new information system, such as a new campus map system that is interactive, enabling greater user interfacing with the real-world complications of campus transportation. [5] This new wave of thought reaching campus administrators and governing bodies has gone further than even the buildings, bringing into question the avenues of improvement for even the layout of college campuses themselves. Michigan State University’s new Campus Ecosystem planning initiative partitions the school’s sprawling campus into different transportation zones, offering people accessible and relevant travel options based on the nature of their present location and destination. [6] Private ventures, such as the design firm HDR, have begun to incorporate this new way of thinking about college mobility demands into their business model, offering new workspace and common area designs based on new mobility and accessibility principles. [7] While campus design changes present a much longer-haul modernization with respect to the University of 2050's mobility status, these changes seem likelier to be effected by 2050 based on the confluence of student, community, administration and economic demand already present.

Legacy of Old Infrastructure edit

As new university community member demands focus on new forms of mobility and accessibility around campus, old modes of transportation and the infrastructure that sustains them are rapidly becoming sources of discontent. Students at the University of California, Los Angeles are voicing their demands for more sustainable transportation, citing the reduction in both chemical and noise pollution, the facilitation of community health, and the benefits of rendering roads obsolete. [8] Older methods of getting around, such as personally owned vehicles, are even being brushed aside on financial and administrative grounds. The PATH to College Act offers subsidies for those schools whose student bodies use public transportation options at higher rates, helping to push schools toward favoring these modes of transportation on financial grounds. [9] While older mobility means will certainly persist, and the commuter campus remains the predominant arrangement, the role of these old methods of getting around will be greatly diminished as communities of the University of 2050 demand a new type of campus simply incapable of sustaining their usefulness.

Campus Mobility Options of 2050 edit

The University of 2050 will have greater access to new mobility technologies and options for transportation. As centers of innovation, universities will be more receptive to new vehicular options, such as autonomous driving cars and E-bikes. With greater care for the environment, university students and staff alike will prefer sustainable methods of transportation provided from responsible sources. More students and university staff will make choices in transportation that decrease their carbon footprint, avoiding traditional gas fueled vehicles. In the University of 2050, transportation will become more efficient, environmentally friendly, and available for faculty and students alike.

Autonomous Vehicles edit

Autonomous driving vehicles, such as the ones being developed by Tesla and Cruise, will have been officially introduced to the campus of 2050 and the surrounding city. Given a series of incidents during the testing of AVs on public roads through the 2020s and into 2030s, many US states will create laws to ban the deceptive advertising of partially autonomous vehicles and place responsibility of accidents on the companies that sell fully automated vehicles. Even before these laws are introduced, students in the university interested in innovative technology are likely to adopt the use of AVs, although in small numbers. By the start of the 2030s, autonomous shared vehicles will be added to support the local transit system fleet surrounding campus. A study from the University of Minnesota showed that the implementation of an SAV network with a smart cloud computing system could decrease the amount of vehicles needed for the transit system by 22%.[10] Although in a smaller proportion compared to manual vehicles, AVs will be a common presence around the campus of 2050.

Sustainable Electronic Vehicles edit

Hybrid and fully electronic vehicles are no doubt a better alternative for the environment than traditional gas powered vehicles. Electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline vehicles, which includes the carbon footprint from electric energy sources.[11] UVA has already started the transition to electric with several electric buses to be put into the transit system and 10% of the current vehicle fleet already being electric.[12] In the university of 2050, electric vehicles will make up a large percentage or majority of its transit and work vehicle fleets, further minimizing their carbon footprint. Universities in 2050 will also be able to ensure the responsible sourcing of materials used in EVs. Lithium-ion battery recycling at this point will be able to fill the gaps in resource needs for EV production. Outside of recycling, humanitarian groups will provide improved methods of tracking the source of resources like lithium and cobalt so that EVs are made responsibly.

Micro Mobility edit

Smaller vehicles such as bikes will become even more popular on campuses in 2050. A larger portion of the student and faculty population will use bikes over cars for both convenience due to low parking availability and shrinking their carbon footprint. To close the gap between cars and bikes, improved E-bikes and electric bikes will be able to support transportation at more reasonable prices. Current long range E-bikes are able to reach 138 miles on one charge, not considering pedaling.[13] This will obviously improve by 2050. Campuses in 2050 will also have more infrastructure for shared bikes or scooters, allowing for more efficient travel for students and staff who avoid using cars.

New Cultural Norms of 2050 edit

Mobility and culture are deeply interwoven and have influenced each other throughout history. Major changes mobility often have massive effects on cultures, from domesticated animals, wheels, roads, sailing, trains, planes, automobiles, and others. Transportation methods can also be deeply ingrained in a culture’s identity, from Roman roads[11], Mongolian horses[12], Polynesian boats[13], and countless other examples. The world is once again on the horizon of change, in order to combat the looming threat of climate change we must rapidly change mobility methods and cultural attitudes. Universities are an excellent melting pot of innovation, cultures, and technology where the melding of methods can be studied and extended to the larger world. This will likely result in the Campus of 2050 being the forefront of new mobility methods due to the open minded nature of college students, professors, and university administration. This passage aims to examine how the interaction between college cultures and mobility will unfold by 2050.

Interest Groups

Determining who is involved in the development of cultures and technologies and why is critical to predicting how the future may unfold. Students are the most effected by changes in mobility, and seek convenient, low cost, and time saving transportation methods. Often openminded and flexible, students are the primary consumer and value their time and money. Professors often live further away from campus, and are willing to have longer commutes to live somewhere that is more convenient, which are not well accommodated on campuses. University management aims to cater to the needs of all parties involved, while reducing the costs needed to run operations and increase income. Many businesses depend on student patronage, so connecting to campuses will be their primary goal. There are also political connections to many universities, such as governor appointed positions that can sway university policy, who are often disconnected from the needs of students and professors. There will also be many outside interest groups, including companies trying to sell their various products to "solve" issues and advocacies pushing for various agendas.

Culture, Mobility, and Infrastructure

American mobility and Infrastructure are dominated by cars. While universities have reduced car usage due to walkability and public transport, they have to accommodate cars. Often underclassmen are banned from having vehicles on campus, and parking and ownership are expensive, discouraging the use of motor vehicles. As universities build more housing, more people will live on campus. This will improve walkability and commute, further reducing vehicle usage. A potential concern is the practice of forcing students to live on grounds as it could lead to price gouging, especially as universities are often not held to the same laws as a typical landlord[14]. As more students live in university housing for longer, there will be new groups that form, including housing relations, dorm specific cultures, and others. Universities will also either need to provide more amenities, or connect to long distance transportation that students can bring large amounts of luggage on, which could also connect students to opportunities. Employees will also need transportation options as car usage declines. This can be achieved either by extending public transportation options further, or to have professors live on or closer to campuses. There will likely be resistance to this unless the accommodations provided are superior in both cost and quality, as the needs of professors are different from those of students. Professors living on campus could harbor a closer connection to the university and its students, leading to groups composed of both students and university employees. University administration will have no incentive to reduce cost without legal action. The trend of skyrocketing college costs is unlikely to stop without legal or cultural change, and most universities are effectively businesses. Ideally legal change will occur by 2050 to lower costs, or a cultural shift will reduce demand and price.

References edit

  1. Daily, Nicole McMillan The (2023-09-24). "Escaping the suburban sprawl: what college campuses teach us about walkable communities". The Daily of the University of Washington. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  2. "How Universities Are Stepping Up Campus Walkability" (in en). Bloomberg.com. 2015-12-07. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-07/the-walk-your-city-campaign-encourages-students-to-stroll-to-places-near-campus. 
  3. Mayer, Lauren (2021-02-01). "The college campus to New Urbanist pipeline". CNU. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  4. "Capital construction efforts to improve Blacksburg campus accessibility to begin in February". news.vt.edu. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  5. "New interactive campus map features accessible navigation, improved user experience". news.vt.edu. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  6. "Campus Ecosystem | MSU Mobility | Michigan State University". mobility.msu.edu. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  7. "Five Ways to Implement Universal Design on Campus | HDR". www.hdrinc.com. 2023-05-24. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  8. "5 Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Transportation". Transportation. 2021-10-07. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  9. Gravely, Alexis. "A PATH to Greater Public Transit Access". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2023-12-05.
  10. Zhang, Zhi-Li; Benjaafar, Saif; Fan, Yingling; Fisher, Thomas; Khani, Alireza (2022). Turning Point: Shared Automated Vehicles Could Make Cities More Livable, Equitable. University of Minnesota.
  11. "Electric Vehicle Myths". United States Environmental Protection Agency. 28 August 2023. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  12. Golson, Cydnie (7 December 2023). "Transitioning to Electric Transportation". UVA Sustainability.
  13. "E-bike vs. Car: Which One Should You Choose?". Velotric. 2023-01-25. Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  14. Douglas-Gabriel, Danielle (9/29/2015). "Freshman residency rules sometimes force students to pay prohibitive costs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12/8/2023. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)