The University of South Florida (USF) Tampa campus looked a little different for students and faculty during the first ever USF Transportation Day. The event, hosted by the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Seven, was a celebration of all modes of transportation, giving campus travelers insight into how to get around on and off campus without driving alone. Participants learned about carpooling, walking, bicycling, shared e-scooters, electric vehicles, and transit options.
One signature feature of USF Transportation Day was the closing a segment of Alumni Drive, a major campus thoroughfare, to vehicular traffic. Secretary David Gwynn of FDOT District Seven, Dr. Robert Bishop, dean of the USF College of Engineering, Beth Alden, executive director of the Hillsborough MPO, Christopher Moorman, president of the USF Student Planning Organization, and MD Hoque, president of the Institute of Transportation Engineers USF Student Chapter, all spoke at the “ribbon closing” ceremony as more than 300 attendees watched Alumni Drive be transformed into a temporary car-free zone. More than 20 exhibitors lined the closed street, including Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, Coast Bike Share, FDOT District Seven, Tampa Bay Clean Cities, gotcha, and Vision Zero Hillsborough, along with several USF departments and programs, all offering resources on how to leave the solo drive behind and the benefits of doing so, both for the commuter and for the Tampa Bay region as a whole.
In addition to closing Alumni Drive, there were fun activities and prize drawings throughout the event. USF Bike Club president Tobias Coon led 30 riders on a five-mile tour around the campus to demonstrate how easy it is to get around by bike. To highlight the importance of safety, volunteers also participated in a “Paint the Bike Lane Green” activity, where a stretch of Alumni Drive was painted green to provide lane positioning cues for bicyclists and make the bike lane itself more visible to those driving on the street. USF Transportation Day was envisioned as an engaging way to introduce the next generation of professionals to different transportation modes. The USF Center for Urban Transportation Research, the USF Institute of Transportation Engineers, the USF Student Planning Organization, and external agencies, such as FDOT District Seven, were partners in planning the event. Plans are already underway for the next event to be held during 2020.