It’s time to fill the gaps for college campus communities commuting late-night to and from their campuses. Most of the universities around the world are providing late-night travel options to the campus communities – students, staff, and faculties that enable them to reach their home safely. So, today’s topic of our discussion will revolve around ways to make late-night travel better for communities.
In our previous blog, we discussed how mobility solutions could help educational institutions to use the campus land efficiently, manage campus congestion, and develop a centralized university transportation policy for convenient transit access to the communities. Continuing this topic ahead, today, we are going to discuss how institutions can provide late-night travel alternatives to the communities. As far as the day time transit is concerned to get around the campus, the institutions can provide multiple travel choices to commute apart from shuttle services like ride-hailing service, bike taxi service, bus booking, and other micro-mobility solutions. But when it comes to providing late-night travel options, institutions have to think cautiously, keeping safety factors in mind. So let’s discuss it in detail.
Reasons Why Campus Communities Travel Late At Night From Their Colleges
We all know that traveling at night is a bit daunting for anyone. Though communities commute late at night for various reasons as listed hereunder:
Late-Night or Group Study
Because of the exam preparation, college projects, or any educational research purposes, students stay late at the colleges. Students having more energy studying at night, stay up late, as they consider it to be a productive time to study.
Evening and Nightime Classes
Institutions are offering evening or night classes suitable for those doing a full-time day job. Responsibility of balancing the career, family life, and evening classes is one of the reasons why students and faculties stay late at the campus.
Usually, colleges organize educational seminars, workshops, exhibitions, or any functions on the campus, or any other off-campus activities, which requires the presence of all the staff, volunteers, students, and faculty.
Other Reasonsmay vary depending upon the situation such as someone might have missed the last bus, or someone might be waiting for a delayed bus, or traveling alone because of any personal or professional reasons.
Providing night-time transportation for communities helps them travel without hesitation in and around the campus at night because one can not avoid being out late, especially in the case of night classes. Learners have to attend evening or night classes; on the other side, it also creates a difficulty for them and staff, as they have to travel alone from campus to their place at night, in case the college is not providing the transportation facility. Furthermore, universities receive complaints concerning the safety during nighttime around the areas. It is the responsibility of the institutions to safeguard the students. Hence, a well-planned and modernized transportation solution helps communities to travel at night without fear.
Three-pointers to be considered by institutions to ensure the safety of commuters traveling late-night:
- Decide the policy governing the late-night transportation addressing the problems faced by the commuters for safety and convenience.
- Implement the digital mechanism like CCTV, identification, biometric system to monitor the behavioral patterns of the people on and around the campus.
- Provide reliable transportation solutions from and to campus with meticulously planned travel schedules, routes, bus, and driver details.
What Institutions Can Do?
They can provide reliable overnight commuting opportunities, which may be campus-operated or transport agency-operated – known as the night ride program. It is designed to run on a scheduled route in and around the campus. If we define the term “night ride service” or “night ride program,” it is nothing but a late-night travel service that runs for the commuters traveling overnight or early morning – till 3.00 am or 4.00 am depending upon the service requirements. In fact, student enrollment for night or evening classes is soaring high due to convenient and suitable new study opportunities. Institutions are providing the flexibility to customize their evening or night class schedules. They are offering other resources and services apart from academic support from entry through completion and beyond. That is late-night travel options. Additionally, institutions are also investing and expanding on-demand transportation alternatives to provide safe transport experience.
“The primary objective of the service is to provide safe, secure, and convenient late-night transportation to the commuters.”
Night ride programs can have a definite number of vehicles operated in scheduled routes with limited service availability. Passengers can access the service by showing a valid identification card or scanning security code via a transit app provided by the institution or any third-party operators. They can also track the real-time location of the vehicles and get to know the expected time of arrival at predetermined listed stops. Scheduling and routing is a core element of this service, which is pre-planned by the authorities. Passengers can diversify travel options from, to, and through the campus area efficiently.
How to Access?
Passengers can check the details of the routes through an institution-operated or agency-operated transit system, accessible via smartphones or a website. Most of the institutions are providing the contact information to provide route information and then book the service from a stop.
Who Is Eligible For This Service:
It is eligible for students, staff, faculty, and associated other stakeholders of the institutions. Ideally, late-night travel alternatives are suitable for those who do not have vehicles or access to public transportation. Few campuses are rural and have parking restrictions also, because of limited parking space. Hence, students can not bring their vehicles in case institutions have prohibited the usage of the same. So, in a nutshell, providing late-night travel options help the community members to commute safely at night.
Explore Various Late-night Travel Alternatives Institutions Can Offer:
1 Shuttle Bus Service
This service shuttles passengers from one fixed point to another. The most space-efficient way of commuting options enables them to ride along with others while riding in the same direction. The institution can create its own fixed routes and provide shuttle services to the college communities. Riders can easily book the service when needed during mid-night hours.
2 Student-operated Shuttle Van Service/Vanpool
This service enables the riders to reach their destination. When a small group of people is traveling towards the same destination, shuttle van service run by the students can prove to be stress-free and safe group transportation. This service usually operates on fixed routes, time, and has specific pick-up as well as drop off locations.
3 Ride-Share Service for College Communities
Institutions can launch their own ride-share program for safe late-night transportation. The college carpool service or college ride-share service enables the riders to ride with other college community members. Rides can be operated by individual drivers or university personnel. While traveling together, one can definitely eliminate the fear of traveling alone.
When midnight transportation options are taken care of by the institution, then the students and faculty do not need to worry about the missed bus, delayed bus, or renting a cab. They can save their time and travel with ease. They need to select their pick up and drop off location, schedule their journey, and book a trip at their convenience through a smartphone-based digital solution. They do not need to worry about hidden transit charges and reckless driver behavior, too. In fact, passengers with permanent or temporary disabilities can also travel easily.
Digital Innovations Improving the Late-Night Transit Operations
To accommodate increasing ridership of the late-night transit service, integrating the technology can improve the effectiveness of the service. Institutions can maintain as well as expand the transit service with the help of transportation technology, as mentioned in our previous blog – Use University Shuttle Service to Develop Sustainable Transportation Ecosystem. In today’s digital era, one-click transportation is paving the way for improved user transit experience. Smart devices, GPS, data analytics tools, IoT, electric vehicles, and other transportation technologies are redefining the travel options for better user experience.
Geofencing technology is one of them that plays a vital role when it comes to providing reliable late-night transport options.
Basically, geofencing is a virtual geographic boundary around any specific area defined by GPS technology to monitor on-going transportation and vehicle movement. If a vehicle breaches the barrier set by the operators, then the institution or affiliated stakeholder can automatically get the notification; and can take immediate action. Institutions can also analyze the total time spent waiting at a stop as well as average travel time from point A to B. They can monitor the same in a centralized online platform from anywhere and anytime. Hence, implementing geofencing technology for late-night travel options helps the institutions to offer a safe ride to the passengers.
Image of an institution is significantly impacted by the services they provide to the students, staff, and other community members apart from quality education. Thus, adequate midnight travel alternatives play an important role in the same. That’s why institutions are increasingly replicating such night ride programs that are more regulated and institution-controlled.
Late-night travel options help the communities to get home safely. Such a fixed-route service at mid-night hours can be made more efficient with on-demand transportation technology solutions while remaining attuned to the riders’ demand. Likewise, geofencing technology alerts the operator when a shuttle or van deviates from the set routes. Do you want to integrate the late-night travel options at your campus? Then get in touch with our domain experts, who will help you to implement the ideal digital transport solution suitable for your demand.
Shailendra Sinhasane (Shail) is the co-founder and CEO of Mobisoft Infotech. He has been focused on cloud solutions, mobile strategy, cross-platform development, IoT innovations and advising healthcare startups in building scalable products.