Colleges and Universities in Greater Minnesota as Highway Traffic Generators

Principal Investigator:

Barbara VanDrasek, Research Associate, Geography

Project Summary:

Colleges and universities distributed across Greater Minnesota are among the most important highway traffic generators to and from regional centers outside the greater Twin Cities area. The supply of educational services takes place on campuses as well as at remote off-campus sites. The locations of state and private colleges and universities, as well as the highways linking them to service areas, form part of the supply picture. The demand for educational services has become increasingly diverse as the student body changes. Future demand will be generated by potential students for these schools, who live in the cities and towns where the schools are located, as well as throughout the commuting fields adjacent to the schools. Previous work on Minnesota's regional centers illustrated major differences in population change in and around the centers, and related those changes to trunk highway traffic volumes. This study closely examined colleges and universities as traffic generators, using the changing patterns of supply and demand for post-secondary educational services to determine how this element of trunk highway demand has changed since the 1990s and will continue changing in the future. Expanding on findings from two previous studies that investigated land development trends and increasing highway traffic for a sample of Minnesota's 49 regional centers and their adjacent commuting fields, the report examines the volume of personnel moving to and from campuses each day, and estimates traffic generation rates for different types of schools and their varying impact on traffic generation using trip generation factors supplied by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. It provides 27 campus-based cases, and discusses societal trends likely to affect schools as traffic generators, and concludes with speculations on the implications of these trends for transportation planning in Greater Minnesota.

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Project Details: