Sheridan Joins Canada's Largest-Ever Student Transportation Study
Sheridan College is joining a collective of 10 colleges and universities from across Ontario to embark on Canada’s largest and first-of-its-kind study on student transportation.
StudentMoveTO, a three-year research and partnership program, will generate insights, debates and actions to improve transportation experiences for postsecondary students in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The research project is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant and will also include Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and several other community organizations.
“Sheridan is a diverse institution with campuses in three vibrant cities, so we understand the importance of reliable and sustainable transportation options to help students get around,” says Andrea England, Sheridan’s Vice Provost of Research. “Collaborative research has the power to fuel innovation and growth while enriching our communities. This project aligns with Sheridan’s ongoing commitment to engage in scholarship, research and creative activities (SRCA), as well as to make meaningful social and economic contributions. We are excited to participate in the StudentMoveTO research partnership because it will have a meaningful impact on the students we serve and the communities we call home.”
A key component of the study is a confidential online survey, which will be distributed to Sheridan students via email starting in late October. The collected data will generate conversations between students, researchers, transportation planners and concerned citizens to inform public policy and ignite change.
College and university students in the GTHA account for more than 600,000 daily commuters. The study aims to help identify the changes that need to be put forward in order to increase the quality of life for students, as well as the overall vitality of the GTHA and its transportation infrastructure.
“About 33% of students spend two hours or more travelling to and from their campuses, and our preliminary research indicates that commute affects a student’s participation in academic and social activities,” says Raktim Mitra, Principal Investigator from Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. “Open data and student dialogues will facilitate research and debate on the topics of infrastructure need and student wellbeing, and ultimately lead to better policy.”
Sheridan strives to understand commuter behaviours while educating the community about sustainable transportation options. As a proud leader of sustainability initiatives and top ‘green college’ according to the Princeton Review, Sheridan is fully committed to integrating sustainability into all aspects of teaching, learning, energy, waste and operations.
“Transportation is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in our communities,” says Herbert Sinnock, Director of Sustainability at Sheridan. “At Sheridan, we continue to implement programs and initiatives to provide reliable low-carbon and transportation options.”
In collaboration with SustainMobility and Smart Commute Halton, Sheridan recently introduced the Smart Commute Program to all three of its campuses to support sustainable commuting options. Sheridan’s Trafalgar and Davis campuses have been awarded Gold status by Smart Commute for providing outstanding alternative transportation options to students and employees. Sheridan opened its Bike Hub at the Hazel McCallion Campus in November 2018 and is currently operating a free bike rental program that is supported by the Region of Peel and aims to increase cycling as a means of transportation among community members.
Sustainability at Sheridan
Established in 2010, Sheridan’s Office for Sustainability seeks to engage staff and students in sustainability initiatives as part of the institution’s core values, identity and future goals. The Office’s primary activities are guided by Sheridan’s Mission Zero commitment, which is comprised of two major initiatives: (1) The Integrated Energy and Climate Master Plan (IECMP), which aims to decrease the College’s overall energy and carbon emissions by 50% as of 2030; and (2) Zero Waste Sheridan, the enthusiastic undertaking to become a Zero Waste campus by 2020.
The 2019 StudentMoveTO study is an extension of a 2015 study in which over 15,000 university students participated to help form insights into postsecondary students’ daily transportation needs and expectations. Survey results will be collected in batches until mid-November, 2019.