This isn’t so much technology related, but something I think should be highlighted and copied by every university on the planet. Temple University, which is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has put a new program into action that encourages students to use bicycles to get around campus. However, the important thing is that this isn’t just a matter of setting up bike racks all over and that sort of thing. The university did a great job of really thinking through the necessary infrastructure to ensure the success of this project.
First, the school conducted a survey to find out why students weren’t using bikes already. They discovered several things: first, students were interested in bikes, but didn’t know where to purchase one, or where to get it serviced. They also responded that they were unsure of bicycle skills and etiquette.
To tackle the first problem, the school worked with a local bike shop to setup an on-campus location where students could purchase bikes at a discount, and also get them serviced. While I don’t think it’s a great idea to turn our universities into shopping malls with various retailers on campus, this is one area where it’s definitely OK.
The school is also sponsoring on-campus biking events and classes, so that students are more comfortable using bicycles instead of driving. While Temple is only a single, small university doing this, imagine if every university in the U.S. put together a bicycle plan like this.
Simple initiatives like Bike Temple are a great step towards reducing a number of problems that our country is currently experiencing. For starters, people who ride bikes instead of driving will be healthier, reducing the number of overweight or obese young people. Also, the obvious reduction in emissions will help the environment, even if only a small amount. Now, if only we could add a bit of technology in this mess.