Often times connecting with other students when you’re new to a large campus such as UNL can seem like quite the daunting task. Due to the fact that we have two campuses more than a mile apart from one another, students on each campus are separated and often don’t branch out from their dorms or familiar areas. Adding an additional way to get back and forth from the two campuses, or just getting around such a large campus in general, will connect students. We discovered the idea of a campus bike sharing network that is like no other. It is a GPS enabled bike sharing network that does not require the implementation of a bike station/kiosk. However, these bikes can be placed at the nearest bike rack, and with an app we are capable of locking these bikes to any rack, and still being able to locate the nearest bike by GPS. It can eliminate the existing exigence which is meeting people in a new and unfamiliar place. It can also eliminate the exigence of having to put in bike stations, which can make the bike sharing network start up even more expensive than expected. The bikes could provide a good way for students to interact as well as get exercise. It would be a inexpensive way of connecting with other students from each campus, and being able to transport whenever and wherever needed. We would also implement a way for students to ride bikes together as an extracurricular activity after classes are over, that way students could communicate with one another while getting exercise, this would allow students to get to know each other and stay connected. We would like to solve this issue with the creation of a bike-sharing network for students on campus who are looking for a quick set of wheels to get them to and from their classes. Our idea could provide service mainly for students living on and off campus, as well as faculty on campus. Some of the constraints to our idea consist of:
- The biking network could have high initial start-up costs.
- Students might not want to pay these initial start-up costs.
- So many students can cause high demand for bikes, creating lower availability of bikes at certain times of the day.
- This idea could contrarily create low demand, which consists of coming across full racks and nowhere to park your bike.
- Unexpected weather conditions such as rain or snow could prevent bike travel.
- The students and faculty of the University might not be well informed on the new product, which means they may not know how the system works.
- All possible maintenance factors must be taken into consideration.
Some affordances our product may face are:
- Due to the amount of students on campus, if everyone pitched into the idea, the startup cost would be significantly lower than expected.
- UNL is known for having a physically active student body, so it could attract a lot of students who like to participate in physical activity.
- Due to high amount of students, it will be easier to reach a larger audience, get the word out, and get many people behind the idea.
- There is an existing bike trail going between the city campus and east campus for easy travel.
- We already have a zip car program with most of the dorms on campus because many students still need to drive but can’t bring their car from one state to another, so based on the success of that program, we can expect similar or greater results for a program that offers bike travel to those who do not have a bike on campus and could save them money on buying and risking theft of their own bike.
We believe that our proposal provides several fitting responses to the issue of meeting new students around campus. It creates another way for students on the go to get back and forth between classes and campuses while meeting fellow classmates. Rather than riding the bus, it is a more environmentally friendly way of travel. The bikes will always be available at any time for use, whereas the buses only run at certain times of the day on a confined schedule. Also, it creates a good way to exercise for users who like to do physical activity and be outdoors. What we hope to achieve is to question why there is no existing bike-share program currently, and how we can solve this issue by creating a bike-sharing network that is different from others at other campuses.
The timeline would vary based on various situational and random occurrences, but the most accurate one that we can produce now would be as follows:
- This would be the stage in which we begin to determine what audience we are trying to reach, and how to reach them. We could potentially be reaching out to students living on campus at this point, along with presenting our campaign to the ASUN student government committee.
- This would take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks.
- Spreading the word
- This stage would consist of us now having the word out about our idea, and engaging with our audience to get people talking about the bike network. We will have a table in the student union on city and east campus with information for students passing by, as well as creating a website for anyone searching for more information. We would also plan on beginning to reach other audiences beyond students on campus. We would reach out to off campus living students, as well as professors.
- We would create flyers, send out emails, and create a social media page on Facebook and Twitter.
- This would take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.
- This is the final stage for us where we will need to do more research based off of data collected from spreading the word about the biking system. We would do a test run of the GPS based bicycles, and use the consumer and GPS data to create new ways to get people interested in our idea, as well as finding out everything we can about our plan in order to answer any questions or concerns potentially interested students/professors may have.
What We Did
By forming the idea of a campus bicycle network, we provided an alternative form of transportation between our City and East campuses, while also aiming to improve bicycle access and safety for students, faculty, and even visitors. This bike network could also potentially increase the number of commuters who bike between the two campuses and around campus. Along with our campaign bringing about great change to our way of traveling by bicycle, we created a unique value exchange between our team and those who are interested in bicycling, as well as creating value for the higher-ups who are capable of helping us bring our proposal to life. Our proposal will call for the expansion of the current network that is devoted specifically to cycling. An expansion of this network will provide a safer route, as well as being attractive enough to provide for current cyclists and even attract new cyclists. The main rhetorical canon we addressed in our campaign is style. We feel as if we should create an idea to improve the style of how people commute by bicycle around the different campuses. If we create an idea that provides a better style, it will attract those who already love to cycle with a new appeal, as well as attracting those who might want to get involved. The style and attractiveness is what drives an audience.
As a team, we wrote a letter with the attached proposal to the University Chancellor stating what our idea is and what we hope to accomplish. We created a plan that is geared towards recruiting an abundance of members to join our team, scope out our work and what we plan to do, and identifying troubleshooting and important protocols. We plan to achieve several things such as improving city and east campus bicycle pathways, which allows for non-recreational pathways, to eliminate the need for bicyclists on the roadways near and around city and east campus. Also to increase the number of commuters who travel by bike. Traffic around campus can be an issue, therefore presenting the need to separate vehicles and cyclists, and increase of commuters traveling by bike could create a bigger issue of traveling around campus if these ideas are not put into place. In order to make our plan happen, we suggested the idea of teaming up with UNL Parking & Transit to play a role in developing and maintaining campus bicycle framework, programs, and knowledge.
A major component of what we hope to accomplish with the start of our bike sharing network is recruiting a large amount of people. There are different categories of people we could recruit to better our idea, such as an environmentally conscious group, people who value a safer way of transportation, and those who value the activity of biking in general. We could even recruit an older group. This older group could be faculty/staff that has urban planning expertise to assist in making our goal of improving bicycle pathways possible. We continue to search for those who can contribute their ideas, values, and beliefs to make our idea a reality and contribute to the betterment of our network.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LETTER TO CHANCELLOR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Office of the Chancellor
Ronnie D. Green
1400 R Street
201 ADM, UNL
Lincoln, NE 68508
Dear Mr. Green,
We are pleased to submit this proposal for our Bike Share Network and Implementation Plan for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We have assembled a team to provide a crafted and practical approach to conducting an assessment of the practicality of developing a bike share program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
We commend the University for leading our efforts independent of any contract negotiations with a potential bike share vendor, as our team is convinced that providing an impartial and unbiased appraisal of the idea of a bike share program is in the best interest of the University and the general student/faculty population.
To provide insight on our proposal, our team has conducted several interviews with current UNL students who care about our Bike Share Network to gather ideas about what current bicycle commuters would like to see come from our proposal.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We hope you are pleased with our proposal and hope to set up a meeting to discuss it further.
Humans of Lincoln
My name is Kellen, I’m a freshman, and I came here from California. Biking is my prefered method of transportation, mostly because of the gas prices back home, and I’m glad that I can easily store and retrieve my bike right outside my building. But a few things have caught my attention in regards to the way that bikes are used on campus. The biggest one is that I’ve run into quite a few people who aren’t paying attention during the trek towards my morning classes. This is dangerous to both me and those who walk and don’t watch their surroundings. The solution that we have in southern California is that we have put in quite a few bike paths right next to the sidewalk so each mode of transportation gets its own space. Another thing that I have noticed is that as I look around campus, especially by the dorms, I see bikes with missing tires, which is sometimes the owners doing, but other times bikes will be missing both tires or just a lock where a bike used to be, clearly not taken by the owner. Bikes aren’t cheap, if you’re getting a good one, and I don’t want my expensive bike to be stolen or stripped so it would be nice to see some other way to lock up our bikes on campus. Other than these complaints, I’m glad I’m attending a school where biking on campus is so accepted as a method of transportation and hope that other students will continue to respect other people’s possessions that are locked up outside.
I am Sebastian. Two years ago I decided to transfer to UNL. I am originally from Spain but have really enjoyed my time here in Lincoln, with only minor complaints. Lincoln can be quite boring, and there isn’t much to do late at night. In Spain, students don’t even leave their flat until after midnight and typically stay out until dawn. During this time out, I mostly rent a bike with a bike share program, or take the metro. I like that Lincoln seems to be bicycle friendly, but, only if you own your own bike. In spain I can rent one for a short ride across town and lock it back up there. With a small deposit I have transportation. There are other things that bother me, but mostly I have enjoyed my time here at UNL, and that is why I chose to stay for a second year abroad. I don’t own a bike currently, because my first bike was stolen off campus. I’m glad I only spent 100 dollars on it on craigslist. I can’t imagine getting another bike and it ending up stolen again. If this bike share program gets started, I’ll be one of the first users and I would gladly pay more in student fees to have access to a bike whenever I need it. Right now I have a class on East Campus, but I don’t really like taking the bus there when it’s so nice outside. This summer a bike would be much a much better option for me, as I want to stay fit.
My name is Lucas. I am a third year student here at UNL and I moved here to come to school three years ago from a small town in Pennsylvania. I come from a place with vast mountain ranges, and not a single street with sidewalks. All of our roads are back roads, thin and narrow, with nothing more than a guardrail between cars and an array of some of the tallest trees. With the steep terrain and very minimal forms of transportation, other than by car, it was shocking to me to move to a place that was so flat and had sidewalks (literally everywhere). I’ve always loved to ride bicycles. It’s probably my favorite form of exercise, along with being a hobby of mine. To me, riding my bike is a form of escaping (whether it was to go into the woody trails away from town and society, or even just from traveling inside of a car). I’ve always rode my bicycle around in the woods or on neighborhood streets. Moving to college, I had to find new ways to enjoy my favorite exercise and hobby. Lincoln is a great example of what other cities and college campuses should provide! I have the option of riding down off-road pathways to any location I need to go. Travel is easy due to how close everything is to each other. One thing I will say about bicycle travel on campus is that there are lots of people who do it. However, as someone coming from a place where bicycle travel is at its minimum, it makes me a bit nervous to be a bicycle rider on the city streets. Bicycle travel is allowed and accepted on local streets, however as a rider I find it to be unsafe and I think that it would be smarter to have more bicycle pathways and trails put in place to keep vehicle and bicycle travelers separate. As a resident of this city, I think that when given more travel options, we are more resilient! Even though I’m coming from a city far away from Lincoln, I’ve still found my method to escape.
ReflectionWe learned a lot while doing this project. We found a need and have a solution to fill that need, but as we worked on this project, we found that the solution is rather hard to implement in the short amount of time that we have. We found out that implementing a bike share program require quite a bit of money and assistance from the university and the students. But the response to the program that we want to offer was very positive and if we had more time, we would pursue this further. Some things we would have done differently would be starting by contacting more locals of Lincoln to see if there was any interest on their end to invest in our project. For example, to see if we could gather donations of old bicycles that could be used in order to start up our business. Once more investment and profit comes in, there will be room for replacement of old bikes with newer models. We also would have liked to do an online poll but we weren’t sure on the best way to get the most honest input and we ultimately went with a more personal method of grabbing input from students. In the end, we are happy with the progress that we have made thus far but like all unfinished stories, one still longs to see the ending, so even though this is the end of the class, this may not be the end of our bike share project.