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Upass: A Model Transportation Management Program That Works

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1404                              73

U-PASS: A Model Transportation Management Program That Works


On September 30, 1991, the University of Washington, in cooperation
with the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, implemented U-PASS,
one of the most comprehensive transportation demand management
programs in the United States.  The U-PASS program was developed in
response to campus and community concerns for trip reduction and
improved commuter services in view of possible impacts from planned
campus development.  The U-PASS program is a flexible package of
transportation benefits offered through a pass that allows
University of Washington students, faculty, and staff to choose
from a variety of commuting options at a greatly reduced price.  U-
PASS is a $17.4 million 3-year demonstration program that began in
October 1991.  Parking system revenue funds cover 30 percent of the
program.  To achieve this funding level, parking fees were raised
to the market rate of the University District.  At a 75 percent
participation rate, monthly U-PASS user fees of $9.00 for faculty
and staff and $6.67 for students contribute 40 percent of the cost. 
The remaining 30 percent of the program is subsidized by the
university through a variety of funding sources.  After 1 year of
operation, the U-PASS program has been viewed as a success and a
model to other employers.  Vehicle trips to campus are down 16
percent, parking lot use has decreased from 91 percent to 78
percent, transit ridership is up 35 percent, carpools have
increased 21 percent and the number of vanpools grew from 8 to 20
in less than 9 months.

As the need to reduce congestion and air pollution increases,
jurisdictions and developers alike face difficult choices.  The
following question is key: Can significant transportation demand
management (TDM) strategies reduce the need to spend large, often
scarce, sums of money to build more roads and parking structures?
The U-PASS program, with its flexible package of benefits and
unique funding approach, demonstrates that the answer is yes:
significant TDM measures can have a major impact on traffic and

Implemented September 30, 1991, the U-PASS program is possibly one
of the most comprehensive transportation management programs (TMPs)
of its kind in the United States.  The program offers a flexible,
broad package of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) options through a U-
PASS sticker on university identification cards.  Available at a
greatly discounted price, the U-PASS has been a huge success in
decreasing single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips.  Of the 50, 000
people in the university community, more than 36, 000 participate
in the program.  Trips to campus have decreased 16 percent during
the morning peak period, and for the first time in memory, campus
parking lots have not filled up.  Monthly transit trips have
increased by 35 percent, and the number of vanpools has increased
to 20, up 150 percent.
     By offering flexibility, something for everyone, and a unique
funding strategy, U-PASS planners ensured an optimum participation
rate.  With a large base of participants, the cost per user for
access to all of the benefits dropped significantly.  For example,
before the U-PASS program was implemented, a transit pass alone
cost as much as $48.00 per month.  With U-PASS, costs for all HOV
benefits are $9.00 a month for staff and faculty and $6.67 a month
for students. Higher participation rates, increased SOV peaking
rates, and university funding sources enabled the U-PASS program to
improve existing transportation alternatives, including an addition
of 60, 000 hr annually of transit service.
     Employers with 100 or more employees in the eight largest
counties of Washington are preparing to comply with the new Commute
Trip Reduction Law, which requires a significant reduction in the
number of SOV commute trips.  Programs such as the U-PASS will play
a significant role in helping employers meet their goals.
     The purpose of this paper is to describe the U-PASS program,
document its success, and show how TDM strategies can be effective
in changing commuting behavior.  It documents the history of the U-
PASS program, including how the university formed a partnership
with the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro) and Community
Transit (CT) to help solve the transportation impacts associated
with proposed campus development.  In addition, the paper documents
the first-year results of the program and summarizes the lessons
learned and implications for other employers.


Campus Setting

The University of Washington is a comprehensive teaching and
research institution with more than 33, 000 students and 17, 000
faculty and staff.  The 640-acre campus includes a major medical
center and health sciences complex and is located in the Seattle
neighborhood known as the University District.  This district is
the largest employment and activity center in King County outside
the Seattle Central Business District.
     More than 225, 000 vehicles enter the University District each
day-20, 000 during the peak hour alone.  It is estimated that
through traffic accounts for more than 40 percent of total vehicle
trips entering and exiting the area.  Metro and CT both provide
transit service to the University District.  With the exception of
the Seattle Central Business District, the Uni-


M.E. Williams, University of Washington, Transportation Office,
University Facilities Annex, FJ-08, Seattle, Wash. 98195.  K. L.
Petrait, Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, Service Development
Division, 821 Second Avenue, MS-128, Seattle, Wash. 98104.

74                              TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1404

versity District has the highest percentage of transit usage in
King County.

City Requirements and Existing TMP

In 1983, the university and the City of Seattle entered into an
agreement calling for the university to create a physical
development master plan and TMP that would (a) maintain traffic to
and from campus during the peak periods at 1983 levels, (b) not
increase the number of vehicles parking in surrounding
neighborhoods, and (c) limit the university parking supply to 12,
300 spaces.
     In response to these goals, the university developed. a TMP
that was sufficient to maintain traffic at the 1983 level and did
not increase neighborhood parking impacts.  Despite this success,
participation in the program had decreased by 1989.  Use of the
parking system exceeded 94 percent; on many days student daily pay
lots spilled over into surrounding neighborhoods.  Both daily pay
and permit carpools were declining, and ridematch applications had
dropped sharply.  The vanpool program, which peaked at 12 vans in
1985, declined to 8 vans by 1988.  Transit pass sales had been flat
for several years.


Two factors led to strengthening the university's TMP.
     First, in 1989, the university began a new general physical
development plan for 1991 through 2001 (1). The plan called for the
addition of 2.2 million gross ft2 of new development.  The
transportation impacts of the plan included 4, 300 new faculty and
staff, which would result in an increase of 1, 000 peak-hour and
10, 000 daily vehicle trips and the loss of 1, 700 surface parking
spaces, resulting in the need to construct four new parking
     Second, independent of the expected growth in faculty and
staff, patient vehicle trips to the University of Washington
Medical Center were also projected to increase as a result of the
trend toward more out-patient care.
     These concerns, coupled with the university's commitment to
maintain traffic at 1983 levels and lack of growth in existing
transportation programs, pointed to the need to develop a new TMP. 
That new TMP was U-PASS.

U-PASS Program

U-PASS is a comprehensive TDM program consisting of nine features:
increased transit service, shuttle service, carpools, vanpools,
ridematch, bicycles, reimbursed ride home, commuter tickets, and
merchant discounts.  Individuals may use any combination of these
features to satisfy their varying daily transportation needs. 
Because the participation rate is high and parking revenue covers a
portion of the costs, the price of the pass to the user is
extremely low.

History of the Program

A task force of Metro planners and university faculty, students,
and staff was established in May 1989 to develop and implement an
improved TMP at the University of Washington.  The task force
decided early on that there was a need to provide a range of
transportation incentives as well as disincentives (e.g., increased
parking rates) if a successful program was to be established.  One
idea was to treat transportation like a health benefit, where all
would share the costs and the benefits.  Access to this
transportation benefit would be by way of a "universal pass" that
would allow the use of many forms of alternative transportation.  A
review of other universities across the nation revealed that a
transit pass in combination with a student identification card had
been successfully implemented at a number of universities.  The ma-
jority of these programs, however, were located at universities in
low-density areas, and most did not include faculty and staff. 
Furthermore, these programs usually offered only a bus pass.
     In June 1990, the task force presented its recommendations to
both the University's Advisory Committee on Transportation (ACT)
and Metro officials. (ACT is a committee of faculty, staff, and
students appointed by the Executive Vice President of the
university to @& advice on transportation issues.) The
recommendations called for a reduced rate universal pass, or U-
PASS.  This pass would be part of the university identification
card and would entitle the holder to an array of transportation

U-PASS Campaign

Once the preliminary U-PASS program had been defined and endorsed
by ACT and by Metro officials, a campaign was initiated to inform
the campus community of the program's potential benefits and to
gain feedback on its potential acceptance.  The motto of the
campaign was U-PASS: For You and the U. Campaign material stressed
that the U-PASS program would benefit the user through lower
prices, more commute options, and a better environment.  At the
same time, it would benefit the university by meeting commitments
to the City of Seattle and the neighborhoods to mitigate its
traffic and other environmental impacts.
     Steps in the U-PASS campaign included the following:

-    A brochure and other materials highlighting the U-PASS program
     and its benefits were distributed.
-    A transportation fair was held the first week of autumn
     quarter 1990 to promote U-PASS.
-    An advisory ballot/survey and a U-PASS brochure were mailed to
     all 34, 000 students in November 1990 to solicit their input
     on the program.  Students were asked if they favored the
     program and whether it should be mandatory or optional.
-    A questionnaire and a brochure were sent to a sample of campus
     staff to gain their input.
-    A letter was sent to all faculty and staff requesting comments
     on the proposed U-PASS program and parking cost increases.
-    Campus groups such as the Associated Students of the
     University of Washington (ASUW), the Graduate and Professional
     Student Senate (GPSS), the Student Assembly, the Faculty
     Senate, and the Professional Staff Organization debated the
     merits of the program.

Williams and Petrait                                             75

-    A campuswide U-PASS forum was held in November 1990 to discuss
     the merits of the plan and to encourage students and staff to
     return their ballot surveys.

     While the U-PASS campaign was under way, an ACT subcommittee
was established to develop cost estimates and recommend a price
structure for both the U-PASS and campus parking.  Ibis
subcommittee assumed that the administration would maintain its
current level of transportation subsidy and that parking rates
would increase to cover existing costs, the cost of a new west
campus garage, and a portion of the U-PASS expenses.  The remainder
of the U-PASS funds would come from sales of the pass.

U-PASS Campaign Results

Highlights and the results of the U-PASS campaign follow.

Student Ballot/Survey

Of the 8, 304 students who returned their ballots, 7, 151, or 88
percent, were in favor of the U-PASS program.  Of those in support
of U-PASS, 60 percent favored an optional program whereas 40
percent favored a mandatory program- More than 64 percent of those
who chose an optional U-PASS were willing to pay up to $10.00 per
month for the pass.

Staff Transportation Survey

More than 91 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed
that the university should implement the U-PASS program as it was

Campus Organizations

GPSS adopted a resolution supporting a mandatory U-PASS program for
students, and the ASUW Board of Control voted for an optional U-
PASS program.  After much debate, the Faculty Senate voted 60 to 4
in favor of the U-PASS program and of increased parking rates to
help fund it.

Advisory Committee on Transportation

By January 1991, the ACT subcommittee had developed a Proposed U-
PASS budget and financing package.  The total cost of the program
was estimated to be $17, 471, 000 for October 1991 through June
1994 (see Table 1).
     The largest single cost element of the U-PASS program is
transit service.  The majority of these costs come from the
guarantee that the university would reimburse both Metro and CT the
amount of revenue collected through pass sales and cash fares from
the campus community before the U-PASS Program.  Through this
commitment, both Metro and CT remained revenue neutral.
Both agencies have a budget of additional hours that can
implemented throughout their systems.  These hours usually go to
the areas with the greatest need or the areas that show the
greatest commitment to encouraging transit ridership (e.g., by
providing transit subsidies, limiting parking supply, or increasing
parking fees).  The U-PASS program provided such a commitment, so
additional hours were committed to the university.  It was agreed
that the marginal cost of additional transit service would be
shared equally by the university and the transit agencies.

TABLE 1 Projected U-PASS Operating Expenditures and Funding

U-PASS Element                Total Cost          Percent

     Administration             $644, 000              3.7
     Monitoring & Evaluation     127, 000              0.7
     Information & Marketing     692, 000              4.0
     Health Sciences Express  1, 504, 000              8.6
     Disabled Persons Shuttle    362, 000              2.1
     Night Ride                  769, 000              4.4
     Transit Servicesa      12, 766, 000             73.0
     Vanpools                    376, 000              2.2
     Carpools                    128, 000              0.7
     Commuter Tickets              6, 000              0.0
     Reimbursed Ride Home         34, 000              0.2
     Bicycle Operations           63, 000              0.4

     Total Expenses         $17, 471, 000            100.0

     University Sources      $5, 646, 000             32.3
     Parking System           4, 962, 000             28.4
     User Fees                6, 863, 000             39.3

     Total Funding(Revenue  $17, 471, 000            100.0

     aThis is the amount of money the University pays to Metro and
     Community Transit.  It represents the 25 percent that is
     typically collected at the fare box.  The remaining 75 percent
     ($38, 000, 000) of the costs are paid by the county taxpayers.

     The level of university funding ($5, 646, 000) was based on
past expenditures for the transit pass subsidy and other TMP
elements.  To generate the almost $5 million needed from the
parking system, the ACT subcommittee recommended that parking rates
be increased significantly (see Table 2).  The parking costs were
set to approach market rates in the University District.  These
market rates were determined through surveys of other parking
providers in the area.  The subcommittee based its rate
recommendations on the results of this survey and specific revenue
     The subcommittee also recommended that the faculty and staff
permit include a free U-PASS.  This would encourage SOV drivers to
make occasional use of alternative modes of

     TABLE 2 Recommended Parking Rates Under U-PASS Program

Parking Type             Term      Oct 1990  Oct 1991  Jul 1992

Faculty/staff permit     M-thly    $24.00    $36.00a  $40.00a
Montlake lot-student     Daily       0.75      1.25      1.50
Daily pay-visitor        Daily       4.00      4.00      4.50

a Includes free U-PASS

76                              TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1404

travel.  Program materials made clear that the parking rate
starting in October 1991 would be $36.00 and that the U-PASS was an
extra benefit and not something that could be declined for a
reduction in rates.
     Once the university and parking system revenues had been
determined, the U-PASS had to be priced to cover the remaining $6.9
million in expenses.  Two different prices were developed: one for
a mandatory student U-PASS and one for an optional U-PASS. Under
both pricing schemes the faculty and staff U-PASS was priced higher
because parking rates for faculty and staff were higher and because
faculty and staff had the additional benefits of the reimbursed
ride home and commuter tickets (see Table 3).
     In February 1991, ACT accepted the subcommittee's rec-
ommendations concerning U-PASS expenses, proposed parking system
rates, and U-PASS fees.  ACT recommended to the administration that
the parking fee increase be accepted and that a mandatory student
U-PASS fee be proposed to the board of regents.

Board of Regents

     In March 1991, the proposal for a mandatory U-PASS program for
students was introduced to the University of Washington Board of
Regents in preparation for its April meeting.  After much
discussion, the regents decided that the final proposal for action
in April should include an optional U-PASS program.  In making this
recommendation, they took into account student opinion and the hope
that the program could generate enough support among the students
that it would not need to be mandatory.
     On April 11, 1991, a public hearing was held on campus to hear
testimony concerning the proposed parking rate increases and the U-
PASS program.  Several hundred people attended.  The majority of
the testimony from faculty and staff centered around the increase
in parking rates.  Most students testified in favor of an optional
U-PASS program.
     Given the results of the public hearing and additional in-
formation from staff concerning the feasibility of operating and
funding an optional U-PASS program, the regents voted eight to one
in favor of a 3-year demonstration U-PASS program.  A goal of 75
percent student participation was assumed under the optional plan.

Metro Council and CT Board

     On April 18, 1991, the Metro Council approved the U-PASS
program with the provision to add 60,000 annual hr of new service
during the 3-year life of the demonstration project.  The CT Board
followed suit a month later.

      TABLE 3 Monthly U-PASS Cost: Mandatory Versus Optional
                    Mandatory                Optional
Population ________________________      _______________________
           1991       1992     1993      1991      1992      1993
Staff     $8.00     $10.00    $11.00    $9.00     $9.00     $11.00
Students   4.00       5.00      5.50     6.67      6.67       8.00

     The University, Metro, and CT spent the next 4 months
negotiating separate contracts and developing an implementation
plan for the U-PASS program.
     On September 30, 1991, the U-PASS program officially began at
the University of Washington.  From the first day, it has proven to
be a popular program and a tremendous success in decreasing vehicle
trips to campus.  Table 4 presents a summary of the program


     One of the most important aspects of developing any program is
evaluation of the components to determine the program's
effectiveness.  The effectiveness of the U-PASS program was
determined using three TDM measures of effectiveness: participation
rate, reduction in vehicle trips, and changes in mode choice.
     Data relating to these TDM measures were collected through the
U-PASS evaluation and monitoring program, a joint effort by the
university, Metro, and CT.  Methods of collecting data included
monthly monitoring of individual program elements, traffic surveys,
a mail survey, and telephone survey conducted during February and
March 1992 by an independent research company (2).

Participation Rates

     The goal of the program was to have a 75 percent participation
rate for faculty, staff, and students.  This goal was based on the
desire to mitigate vehicle trips and on the need to generate
student U-PASS revenue under the optional program.  During the
1991-1992 academic year, U-PASS participation averaged 32, 600,
with a high of 37,000 during fall 1991.  The campuswide average
participation rate. was 72 percent-74 percent for students and 68
percent for faculty and staff (see Figure 1). Among pass holders,
almost 97 percent of the students and 57 percent of the faculty and
staff purchased their U-PASSes directly.  The remainder received
theirs free with their $36 per month parking permit.

Reduction in Vehicle Trips

     In October 1991, the university conducted its annual traffic
counts as required by the agreement between the city and the
university (3).  The results were dramatic.  With the U-PASS
program in operation for only 3 weeks, trips to campus in the
morning had decreased 15 percent and trips from campus in the
afternoon had decreased almost 9 percent compared with the previous
year (see Table 5).
     To determine if U-PASS would continue to affect commute trips,
a special April traffic count was taken in 1991 (pre U-PASS) and
again in April 1992 (post-U-PASS) (4).  The results show that the
U-PASS program has continued to decrease trips to campus at an even
greater level than was reported in autumn (see Table 5).

Changes In Mode Choice

The most dramatic shifts in commute modes occurred for SOV
commuters and bus riders.  Before the U-PASS, the dominant

Williams and Petrait                                             77

                  TABLE 4 U-PASS Program Elements

Program Element     Description

U-PASS Costs        The optional U-PASS fee was established in
                    October 1991.

                         Faculty/Staff: $9.00 per month
                         Students:      $6.67 per month

Parking Costs       The following parking costs were adopted
                    to help the U-PASS program:

                        Parking Type        Oct 91    Jul 92
                        Permit* (month)     $36.00    $40.00    
                        Montlake Lot (day)    1.25      1.50
                        Daily Pay (day)       4.00      4.50

                    *Includes free U-PASS

Transit Service          Metro and CT will add over 60, 000 annual
                         hours of new service, a 20 percent
                         increase, between September 1991 and Feb@

Circulation              Two-way transit service added to campus;
                         Metro and CT routes serve as a campus

Shuttle Service          In addition to the Health, Sciences
                         Express and Disabled Persons Shuttle, a
                         new Night Ride shuttle operating Sunday
                         through Thursday from 6:00 P.bc to 12:30
                         A.K has been added.  It provides service
                         from campus to areas north, west and east
                         of campus.

Carpool                  Free carpool parking if the driver and
                         passengers all have a U-PASS.  Permit
                         carpools still available for faculty and

Vanpool                  Free vanpool fares for U-PASS holders on
                         Metro and CT vanpools.

Ridematch                Ridematch system improved and the pool for
                         matches expanded.

Bicycles                 Install additional bike racks and bike
                         lockers and improve bicycle routes.

Reimbursed Ride Home     Faculty and staff are reimbursed for 90
                         percent of the taxi fare up to 50 miles
                         per quarter if their usual transportation
                         is unavailable when they must leave the

Commuter Tickets         Faculty and staff U-PASS holders can
                         purchase up to 25 commuter tickets per
                         quarter for $1.25 each. (This is nearly
                         half the cost of the non-U-PASS rate.)

Merchant Discounts       U-PASS holders receive merchant discounts
                         at participating businesses and

Marketing/               Activities include:
Information              - Added full-time information specialist
                         - Joint marketing with Metro and CT
                         - Complete new line of U-PASS brochures
                         - New campus commuter centers/kiosks
                         - U-PASS newsletter
                         - Annual transportation fair/fall campaign

Monitoring/              Activities include:
Evaluation               - Annual traffic and parking survey
                         - Annual mode choice survey
                         - Biennial telephone survey conducted
                            jointly with Metro
                         - Monthly monitoring of each U-PASS

commute mode was driving alone (33 percent), followed by transit
(21 percent).  Since U-PASS began, the numbers have been reversed:
33 percent of the campus commuters travel by bus, and only 23
percent drive alone (see Figure 2).
     Commute modes vary among campus population segments, as shown
in Table 6. The number of students driving alone has dropped by
almost half, from 25 percent to 14 percent of the student
population.  At the same time, the percentage of students commuting
by transit has risen from 21 to 35.  Although not as dramatic,
faculty and staff drive-alone mode choice has decreased
significantly and transit usage has increased 7 percent.


In addition to measuring the effectiveness of the overall U-PASS
program, the individual program elements were evaluated.

Use of U-PASS Features

Research has shown that commuters often do not use the same commute
mode Consistently.  The U-PASS was designed to address these
varying needs by offering flexibility. This approach has worked well. 
Nearly half (45 percent) of U-PASS

78                              TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1404

Click HERE for graphic.

holders regularly use their passes for two or more services, and 14
percent use it for at least three.  The other half (48 percent) use
it only for riding buses.
     The bus feature of the U-PASS is by far the most used: 85
percent of all U-PASS holders have used their U-PASS to ride on
Metro or CT buses (see Figure 3).  The survey also confirmed that,
although not as widely used, the other U-PASS features were
important benefits in meeting the needs of specific markets.

Changes in SOV Permit Sales

Parking records indicate that SOV permit sales dropped 17 percent
when the parking fee was increased from $24 to $36 per month in
October 1991.  When parking fees were increased to $40 in June
1992, SOV permit sales dropped another 7.5 percent.  These
significant changes are due to both the increase in SOV parking
rates and the availability of improved services under the U-PASS.

          TABLE 5 Campus Cordon Traffic Counts

Direction/Time                     1990      1991      Change

A.M. Trips to Campus (7-9 A.M.)    7, 800    6, 628    (15.0)

P.M. Trips from Campus (3-6 P.M.)  9, 919    8, 205    (8.6)

Direction/Time                     1991      1992      Change

A.M. Trips to Campus (7-9 A.M.)     7, 592    6, 365    (16.2)

P.M. Trips from Campus (3-6 P.M.)  9, 053    8, 176    (9.7)

Click HERE for graphic.

     When asked an open-ended question on the telephone survey
about the reason they had changed their usual commute mode, most
students and staff cited costs.  It was unclear, however, if this
referred to the increased price of parking or the low cost of the

Metro Transit Ridership

     Overall, transit trips taken by the university community have
increased by 35 percent since the inception of U-PASS.  In October
1990, monthly transit trips taken by students, faculty, and staff
were estimated at 492,000.  One year later, in October 1991,
transit trips were estimated at 663,000.  The 36,000 pass holders
average 4.3 trips each per week.  Among those pass holders who
commuted to the university during the 19901991 school year but were
nonriders, 56 percent are now riding.  Likewise, 46 percent of the
pass holders who were infrequent users in 1991 (one to five rides a
month) took at least two one-way trips during the week preceding
the telephone survey (see Table 7).
     During the week preceding the survey, 56 percent of U-PASS
holders took at least one one-way ride on a Metro bus.  More than
one-third (36 percent) of the respondents took at least six rides.
     Although the majority of trips were for commuting to or from
the university, 15 percent of the trips were for noncommute
purposes.  Among those pass holders who lived close to campus, 39
percent of the trips were for noncommute purposes.  This is
significant: U-PASS holders are seeing the benefits of traveling by

              TABLE 6 Comparison of Campus Mode Split

                    Student                  Faculty/Staff
                  ____________________     ____________________
                   Pre       Post           Pre       Post
Mode               U-PASS    U-PASS         U-PASS    U-PASS

Drive alone         25%       14%            49%       40%
Carpool/Vanpool      9         8             14        15
Transit             21        35             21        28
Bicycle             10        11              6         6
Walk                31        28              6         7
Other                4         4              4         4

Total             100%       100%           100%      100%

Williams and Petrait                                             79

Click HERE for graphic.

Carpool and Vanpool Usage

During the 5 years preceding the U-PASS program, carpooling and
vanpooling experienced little growth.  During the first 9 months of
the U-PASS program, the number of carpool permits rose by 21.2
percent, with a 17 percent increase in the number of participants
(see Table 8).  The vanpool program increased by 150 percent, from
8 to 20 vanpools with almost 200 participants.  Sixty-three of the
new vanpool riders (50 percent of all new riders) formerly drove
alone.  Before the U-PASS program began, the average vanpool fare
in a university van was $45 per month.  With the U-PASS, the fare
has been reduced to U-PASS fees alone: $9.00 per month for faculty
and staff and $6.67 for students.  The growth in vanpools can be
attributed directly to the greatly reduced cost of commuting by
vanpool under the U-PASS program.

          TABLE 7 Metro Bus Rides Taken by U-PASS Holders

                                   1991           1991
Rides Taken the Week     1991      Infrequent     Frequent
Prior to 1992 Survey     Non-User  Usera         Userb

None                     44%       47%            18%
One                       4         8              3
Two                      10         9              9
Three to Five            12         9             12
Five to Ten              27        18             45
More than Ten             3        10             13

Mean                    3.3       3.5            8.4

a1 to 5 rides per month
bMore than 5 rides per month or commuted by transit

                   TABLE 8 Carpools and Vanpools

                                _______________     Percent
Type                            1991      1992      Change

     Carpool permits             708       858       21.2
     Carpool participants     1, 653    1, 932       16.9

     Number of vanpools            8        20      150.0
     Vanpool ridership            71       197      177.5

Night Ride Program

For those who live close to campus, U-PASS provides the Night Ride
shuttle to take them home after dark. (It does not operate during
summer quarter.) During its first 9 months of operation, the Night
Ride averaged 2, 625 riders per month - an average of 145 riders
per night, or 24 riders per hour.
     The Night Ride service was an important component in the
decision to buy a U-PASS for 31 percent of both the respondents who
live within 1 mile of campus and the respondents who usually walk to
campus.  Although only 6 percent of the university population has
used the Night Ride service, 35 percent of all respondents feel
safer because of it.  Of those who use it, 54 percent feel safer.
     The university has a 3-year contract with an outside vendor to
provide the Night Ride service at a rate of $39.00 per hour.  In
addition, university staff monitor both the contract and the
service.  The cost per rider was almost $11.00 for the first 9
Months of operation.  In the future, this high cost per rider will
need to be weighed against the increased participation of the
campus population who walk to campus.

Reimbursed Ride Home Program

Missing a bus or carpool or having an emergency at home are
some of the major concerns of the HOV commuter.  The reimbursed
ride home program was designed to overcome that concern, by
offering a limited number of taxi rides home.  University commuters
perceive this to be a valuable benefit, yet usage and program costs
are minimal.
     Reimbursed ride home benefits are for faculty and staff only
and have been used less than 15 times per month.  The average taxi
ride home is 8 miles and costs about $12.  Less than 1 percent of the
faculty and staff with a U-PASS have ever used the reimbursed ride
home, but 34 percent of the staff and 19 percent of the faculty
consider it an important feature of the program.

Commuter Tickets

The commuter ticket feature for faculty and staff provides both
flexibility and convenience to the non-SOV user.  Information on
precise usage is not available, but the sale of these tickets has
doubled, from an average of 5, 640 per month

80                              TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1404

before the U-Pass program began to 10,730 after the program began.


To introduce the new program to the campus and to encourage high
participation rates, an information and marketing program was
established, a family of brochures developed, and nine campus
commuter centers created.  New students and employees receive
program materials at orientation sessions or by mail.  Program
brochures, newsletters, and seasonal fliers are mailed and are also
displayed at the commuter centers.  Advertisements and articles in
campus papers keep the program in the public eye on campus.

Effectiveness of U-PASS Marketing

The U-PASS telephone survey indicates that 74 percent of the campus
population has seen or read the U-PASS User's Guide.  Other U-PASS
information that has reached at least half the population includes
student newspaper advertisements (66 percent) and articles (63
percent) and the merchant discount brochure (53 percent).

Click HERE for graphic.

Awareness of U-PASS Benefits

When telephone survey respondents were asked which U-PASS benefits
they were aware of, by far the most common response was the bus
pass, followed by merchant discounts, Night Ride, and carpooling
(see Figure 4).
Students are more aware of many of the other services offered by
the U-PASS than are faculty and staff . This is especially true of
merchant discounts, Night Ride, and carpooling.  The faculty and
staff are, of course, more aware of the reimbursed ride home and
commuter tickets, services that apply only to them.
     Respondents who do not have a U-PASS are less aware of
services than are U-PASS holders, but 50 percent were able to
mention two or more services.


To track the effectiveness of the U-PASS program, a monitoring and
evaluation system was established.  It includes an annual traffic
count, an annual transportation survey by mail, a biennial
telephone survey conducted jointly with Metro, and the monthly
monitoring of each U-PASS element.

Annual Traffic Count

The university's annual October traffic count provides the best
indication of the effectiveness of U-PASS to reduce vehicle trips
to campus.  The 5-day count is taken at the campus boundaries by
means of electronic traffic counters.  The count does not, however,
include drivers destined for the university who park in the
commercial and retail areas and neighborhoods surrounding the
campus.The number of vehicles that are parked off-campus is tracked
through a count of vehicles parked in the neighborhoods and through
questions on the annual transportation survey.
     Since the start of the U-PASS program, there has been no
evidence that the number of vehicles parking in the surrounding
neighborhoods has increased.

Transportation Survey

Transportation surveys track changes in campus mode split, times of
arrival and departures, and on- and off-campus parking locations. 
The surveys are on a simple scan-type form and are distributed to
random samples of faculty, staff, and students.
The methodology was consistent for the November surveys taken in
1988, 1989, and 1991.  To determine the pre-U-PASS mode split, the
1989 survey was used, and the post-U-PASS condition was based on
the 1991 survey.

Telephone Survey

To determine the U-PASS program's effect on commute modes,
frequency of U-PASS use, level of awareness of program elements,
and program satisfaction, the university and Metro contracted with
a private research company to conduct a telephone survey of
faculty, staff, and students.  Between February 13 and March 18,
1991, the research company interviewed 604 students, 572 faculty,
and 605 staff members.


Many lessons have been learned through the development and
implementation of the U-PASS program.

Williams and Petrait                                             81

     First, a balanced TDM program should include both benefits and
disincentives.  University parking rates would never have been
increased to their current level had attractive, low cost,
alternative commute options not been provided.
     Second, commuting options should be flexible.  People cannot
always commute by the same mode every day.  To accommodate
commuters' varying needs, the U-PASS provides access to options on
a continual basis.  In addition, faculty and staff who commute at
least 3 days a week by non-SOV modes may drive alone the other days
with commuter tickets.  In addition, all SOV permit holders are
issued a complimentary U-PASS to encourage them to use it whenever
     Third, parking fees may be used as a disincentive as well as a
significant funding source for a TDM program.  Free or low-cost
parking is the biggest obstacle to a successful TDM program.  Not
only does free or low-cost parking encourage SOV use, it precludes
the use of parking revenue to fund TDM options.  In the case of U-
PASS, parking revenue funds almost 30 percent of the total program
     Fourth, a comprehensive education campaign during the program
development stage helps the program gain acceptance.  The year-long
effort to inform the campus community about the need for the U-PASS
program played a major role in its acceptance and ultimate high
participation rate.  In the university environment, it was critical
that the key campus committees and decision makers recognized the
need for the program.  Once the program received their support, it
was much easier to bring along the general campus population.
     Fifth, be prepared to meet the demand for services if it is
greater than anticipated.  From the first day of the U-PASS
program, bus ridership was much higher than anticipated.  Because
the university, Metro, and CT had plans in place, they were able to
add service in a matter of days.  This quick response meant that
new transit riders did not become discouraged and return to their


     With just 1 year of U-PASS operation complete, many questions
remain about the ability of the program to continue to mitigate the
number of vehicle trips over time and the effectiveness of specific
program elements.  In addition, how important was the increase in
parking rates vis-a-vis the reduced cost of non-SOV commuting?

     Recommendations for further research include the following:

1.   Analyze the effect of providing a comprehensive package of
     commute alternatives accessed by a single card versus the
     traditional method of offering a collection of separate TDM
     program elements.
2.   Determine which U-PASS program element is most effective for
     each segment of the faculty, staff, and student markets.
3.   Determine the cost-effectiveness of each program element    
     and the U-PASS program as a whole.
4.   Assess which evaluation technique-traffic counts, mail survey,
     telephone survey-is best for measuring the program's

     As the program matures and additional information is col-
lected, many of these research topics will be addressed.


The U-PASS program has proven to be a model TDM program that works. 
Its comprehensive package of low-cost commuter options, coupled
with the disincentive of an increased parking rate, has resulted in
a balanced TDM program with high participation.  Not only did the
increased parking rates serve as disincentive to driving alone,
they also provided funding for 30 percent of the program.  Other
major employers and institutions should be able to use the
structure of the U-PASS program, and the lessons learned about.
parking rates, to develop and implement their own TDM programs.


The authors wish to thank the many people who helped make the U-
PASS program a reality.  They would also like to acknowledge the
contributions of Michelle Majors and Sean O'Hogen of Metro and
Janette Ollivier and Meighan Pritchard of the University of
Washington in the development and production of this paper.


1.   University of Washington General Physical Development Plan. 
     Campus Planning Office, University of Washington, Seattle,
     June 1991.
2.   The U-PASS Telephone Survey. Gilmore Research Group, Seattle,
     Washington, June 1992.
3.   1991 Annual Traffic and Parking Study.  Transportation Office,
     University of Washington, Seattle, Jan. 1992.
4.   1992 Spring Traffic and Parking Study.  Transportation Office,
     University of Washington, Seattle, July 1992.

Publication of this paper sponsored by Task Force on Transportation
Demand Management.

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