Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Traffic Conditions in Emerging University Campuses: King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Traffic Conditions in Emerging University Campuses: King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Article excerpt

Abstract

Universities worldwide face growing problems of traffic congestion and parking shortages due to the increased usage of private automobiles and the decline of public and non-motorized transport systems. This paper addresses transportation system challenges facing university campuses. As a case study, it addresses King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. The fast growth of King Saud University Campus during the last 5 years had profound impacts on its transportation system.

The study adopts two methodological approaches. Theoretically it reviews and analyzes several studies and published reports related to KSU campus and other international campuses. The empirical approach emphasizes the analysis of field data gathered by relevant KSU departments. The paper intends to analyze changes in traffic conditions and transportation systems within the KSUC and draw conclusions on the current and future issues facing the campus and other similar campuses.

For a more sustainable campus, KSU has to adopt a balanced transportation system. The new system should not be based solely on improving vehicular circulation and parking provisions. It should enhance public transportation and pedestrian environment within the campus. The university should embark new sustainable policies to curtail demand on vehicular trips and parking spaces and increasingly rely on environmental-friendly modes of travel.

Keywords: university campuses, traffic conditions, transportation issues, sustainable transportation, traffic demand management, parking policies, traffic surveys, ITS, public transportation, pedestrian movement

1. Introduction

Planning major university campuses has been a real challenge in recent years. Today's campuses have become as complex as urban areas. Because of their unique characteristics and inter-related influences, most main universities' campuses are planned as small cities/communities (Coulson, et al., 2011).

Big universities worldwide face growing problems of traffic congestion and parking shortages. The increased usage of private automobiles and the decline of public and non-motorized transport systems are the main causes of these outcomes (Toor & Halvlick, 2004). Historically, plans for university campuses assume low incoming traffic and high non-auto related trips. The presence of Staff and Student housing is a norm in almost all universities. The exception is for those universities located in city centers due to limited spaces and high land prices. The worldwide trend of increased automobile usage, observed in most developed and developing countries are the main reason for the growing transport problems for most university campuses.

Meanwhile, university campuses within cities are important trip generators for young population and professionals. They ought to be closely linked to their major transport systems. They significantly contribute to the high level of work and school trips during the day, especially during peak hours. Cities like Riyadh which houses three big public universities and 5 private universities ought to consider these campuses as significant trip generators in their structure plans.

1.1 Problem Definition

This paper addresses transportation system challenges facing university campuses. As a case study, it addresses King Saud University, the largest and most prominent university in Saudi Arabia. The fast growth of King Saud University Campus during the last 5 years had profound impacts on its transportation system. The university transportation system is assessed in light of its development to devise the needed policies to mitigate negative growth externalities. In particular, the paper discusses the following issues:

1) The continuous growth of KSUC facilities with no proper transportation policies to tackle the increasing problems of campus traffic congestion.

2) Most Students, staff and faculty members are dependent on private automobiles in their daily commute to and within the university campus. …

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