For this research project, the idea was to look at students who are involved with the paid parking service on university campuses. The report was to understand how people felt about paying for these fees, did they mind paying? Or did they think it was scam?
My ideology was set on that student’s did not need to pay for parking because of how often students can be on campus, this is for classes, study groups, or using the library on campus. This is in the mindset of a pre-covid university. Now that everything is online, being on campus has been quite obsolete as all the academic learning can be accessed from the computers at the comfort of your own home. Parking on campus was free for a short period, this was compensation from the university to relieve pressure on students to come back on campus to study. But, as of April, University of Wollongong has changed their policy back to paid parking.
Now, I was personally upset with this change as I was coming back to campus for classes and was enjoying the free parking. This is when I wanted to find out if other students felt the same way, so I set out a survey via Twitter and contacted students of UOW to submit their opinions on the matter.
The question I asked can be found here:
When asking these questions, I made sure that the interviewee understood that the survey will be anonymous as this was just used to collect data, there name or account would not be attached to the answers as this would make it more comfortable for them to answer honestly.
The questions were simple yet effective, as I could get a good understanding of the student’s ideology on the situation. The answers were interesting as more people disagreed with my questions then I thought, which made it interesting to investigate.
The idea of this question was to investigate the change of mindset when it comes to university, now that we are being forced into an online realm of study, has University lost its ‘vibe’ it had when we first enrolled? The answers show that 8/11 agree that it is change their perspective because of how much easier online university is because of how much more time people have in there day now.
So, when it came to asking the thoughts on paid parking and if it should be free, the answers were surprising as a lot of the answers agreed with the question that it should be free, “We pay enough for university as it is, parking could be free at least”. This was one of the answers to my poll, the idea for how much university fee’s cost for classes, books, and other needs, where we could be helped with parking as we need to get onto campus. Another answer “Selfishly I do, but I know why university does it. So at least make it cheaper would be nice.”
The overall response from this survey allowed me to get a better understanding on the thoughts of parking and now people feel about it. This topic has been done a lot in the past as other universities and other university students have had similar responses. A study by Jeffery Brown shows that there was a survey that interviewed 35 Universities which explored the factor of unlimited access, and how much funding it costed to allow this (Brown, 2001). Unlimited access is the factor of paying a transport company like buses to transport students to campus. The survey showed that the transport companies charged around $23 per student, meaning over a year and the number of students using this facility meant that universities are willing to cover this fee. Depending on the size of the university meant how much the price would fluctuate (Brown, 2001)
This can be the main factor on why universities do paid parking because they are already funding for transport to campus and helping the eco-system with having less transport on roads. Another factor is that the university want control over the parking, this is because if it were free, people who usually park on streets would park on campus, and people who catch the bus would now drive as there is no fee, meaning that parking on campus would be fully capacitated and the university would have no control (Harding, 2013)
A report by Amitrajeet Batabyal focuses on the factors with a parking pass with students, and the effects short- and long-term parking may have. Batabyal explain how it can be difficult to determine the time of parking on campus, and how it needs to be monitored by the duration of students arriving and leaving the campus, this means that the value of paid parking can change depending on how much people are using the campus for parking (Batabyal, 2008). The overall outlook of this is that if students pay for an unlimited parking access, it will cost the same as just arriving and paying the parking fee each day as universities still need to make their money back.
Batabyal, A. A., 2008. A probabilistic analysis of two university parking issues. Springer-Veralag, p. 112.
Brown, J., Daniel, B.H. & Shoup, D. 2001, “Unlimited Access”, Transportation, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 233.
Harding, K., 2013. Should the university provide students with more free parking lots and a shorter walk?. [Online]
Available at: https://theeasterner.org/23701/opinion/should-the-university-provide-students-with-more-free-parking-lots-and-a-shorter-walk/
[Accessed 3 June 2021].
From doing this report, and focusing on car parking, I feel like I learnt a lot that I did not before. I went into this report naive to the idea of parking as I personally thought it was just another way to for the University to get money from students. But looking into the idea of an access pass, and how the university is offering free transport throughout Wollongong to campus, it does show the paid parking is necessary. Because the university can have control over the parking, means people will be more inclined to use the transport system that the university has supplied.
When conducting this survey, I feel that my questions were very open minded, which allowed the people answers to answer in a simple manner, whereas if I made more questions, or even made sure that people would do more short answer responses, I think I would have got a more personal response instead of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type situation. I would also change how I interacted with the interviewees, just using twitter as a primary source of getting traffic was not as successful as I thought it was going to be.
A big part of this report was how difficult it was to get students engaged with the survey, as I navigated through twitter, I could notice how everyone using the #BCM hashtag to interact with UOW students, but I feel like the traffic for everyone’s post would be ignored. Because there were so many students doing surveys for this assignment, it stopped everyone to interact with posts because it was everything we could see, it is hard to get people engaged when I feel like no one really cares. I wish I did not rely on twitter for this assessment as I did not get the response I was hoping too with my survey, as the data collected was linear compared to articles and other surveys I was looking at for my report.
For future study and assessments that relate to doing surveys, I am going to be more open minded when it comes to questions, and make sure I directly ask questions that will get a proper response. I will also find other avenues of interacting with people for surveys, because I would like to collect more data for future assessments and take more time understanding human ideology of similar interests.