Published on 8 May 2013
An annual traffic count at the University of the Sunshine Coast has found that USC has provided more than enough carparks to cater for peak parking demand this semester.
The traffic count, conducted by national traffic and transport data analysis firm Austraffic in a high-volume teaching week from March 18-24, showed that USC’s allocation of 2,403 parking bays was sufficient for the number of vehicles on campus.
The most congested hour of each day was between 11am and noon with a weekday average of 1,930 vehicles on campus at that time. Even on the busiest day, when vehicle numbers reached 2,049 at this time, there were 354 parking bays available (or 15 per cent of the total).
As the carparks closest to the centre of campus fill up first, USC has regularly emailed staff and students to advise where parking is available during peak demand.
Available spots for epermit holders are most commonly found in the Innovation Centre carpark and the Sports Stadium carparks (which are a 5-8 minute walk from the centre of campus), while the free carpark on the eastern boundary of the campus (a 10-15 minute walk) has more than 200 unused spaces each day.
USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the regulated parking system was introduced in February to both manage demand for parking on campus and fund future parking infrastructure.
“It was a critical step to take now, as the University’s current student population of 9,000 grows to a planned 12,000 by 2015,” he said.
Professor Hill said recent work at USC had included upgrading a number of carparks and landscaping some road verges to ensure safe parking on campus.
“Cars parked on verges or in unmarked bays can block access by other vehicles and pose a risk to pedestrians and other drivers. It is our responsibility to minimise this risk.
“The frequent wet weather this year to date has delayed the installation of some promised parking infrastructure. However temporary measures have been in place since February to provide lighting and security for those parking on campus.”
Professor Hill said parking fees would offset the continuing costs of parking infrastructure, such as repairing surfaces in existing carparks, providing lighting and security in upgraded carparks, and the construction of new carparks (including a future multi-storey carpark).
“Parking is a big issue on almost every university campus in the country, and USC has been no exception,” he said. “But the numbers add up – the parking audits show that demand is being catered for, and we are now in a position to plan effectively for the future.”
The annual traffic count also found:
- An 86 percent increase in the number of students catching USC’s express shuttle buses to and from Gympie (via Cooroy), Noosa, and North Lakes (via Caboolture) – up from a daily average of 53.8 passengers in 2012 to 100.2 passengers in 2013.
- A 20 percent increase in the average number of people catching TransLink bus services each weekday (up from 718 to 861 passengers).
- A 29 percent increase in cyclists across campus (up from 420 to 541 during the survey week).
- While the University’s population of staff and students rose 6.4 per cent this year, the overall increase in the number of cars entering campus each weekday rose just 3.4 per cent.
- Although the average number of vehicles entering USC on weekdays is 5,740, almost half of these vehicles stay on campus for less than two hours, meaning that many parking bays are used by several vehicles each day.
- While USC provided 40 disabled parking bays across campus, the maximum used at any one time was 23.
Sunshine Coast Council is responsible for enforcing regulated parking on campus from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.