By DONOVAN HARRELL
Pitt is trying to get more participation in a survey designed to help researchers understand the commuting habits of Pittsburgh-area residents.
The Make My Trip Count Survey measures which commuting habits are being used, including traditional transportation such as personal vehicles, light rails and buses, along with ridesharing, electric vehicles and bike share users, according to a city of Pittsburgh news release.
The survey’s inaugural 2015 release saw responses from more than 20,600 people.
“Planning is at the core of what we do to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our residents — both current ones and future ones. Through the Make My Trip Count survey, we learn about the wants and desires of commuters when it comes to transportation,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in the release. “Our region has always worked proactively to improve our system and operations by developing a plan. The results of the survey will help lay the foundation for future steps.”
More than 2,600 responses to the original survey came from Pitt faculty, staff and students, according to Aurora Sharrard, Pitt’s director of sustainability.
“And those responses to it were integral to making more informed transportation and mobility decisions in the region, including informing projects such as bus/rapid transit projects that are there today going forth for larger federal funding,” Sharrard said.
She’s aiming for higher participation this year with a goal of 10 percent of the Pitt community or 3,400 to 4,000 respondents.
The survey relates to one of the 50 goals highlighted in Pitt’s Sustainability Plan, Sharrard said — a 50 percent reduction in transportation emissions by 2030. This is based on a 2013 baseline from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
Responses to the survey, which runs through Oct. 26, will inform transportation decisions in the Pittsburgh area for the next three years until the next survey is conducted, she said, so she’s hoping for a strong representation of the different ways people get to Pitt.
“A response is important not just for tracking it against transportation emissions ... but also making sure that commuters' trips to and from Pitt on a daily basis are part of general mobility decision making,” Sharrard said. “So all of the responses to the Make My Trip Count survey get rolled up together for the region and inform decision that are made for mobility and transportation projects for the next three years.”
Each respondent will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 20 $50 Visa gift cards. By the end of September, Sharrard had collected responses from more than 1,000 people at Pitt. A direct link for Pitt personnel to access the survey can be found here.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-383-9905.