How to Safely Use Micromobility on Campus

How to Safely Use Micromobility on Campus

As the use of micromobility vehicles such as electric scooters and bicycles increases on campus, so do safety concerns.

Oct 05, 2023

Usage of micromobility vehicles on campus has drastically increased since 2019, according to Capt. Marcus Walton of the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD). In 2023 alone, nearly 100 students have been seen at Stamps Health Services with injuries from scooter-related accidents.  

Rules of the Road

In keeping with its mission to protect the campus community, GTPD is expanding its education efforts to ensure that users understand the rules of the road, primarily that operating a micromobility vehicle — defined as bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters, and electric skateboards — carries many of the same responsibilities as a car.

  • Micromobility vehicles are considered to be vehicles by state law and cannot be used on sidewalks or in pedestrian crosswalks. If you are crossing the street with a micromobility vehicle, you should step off and walk it across the crosswalk.
  • When operating a micromobility vehicle, you must follow the rules of the road, obeying posted signs, traffic lights, and emergency personnel.
  • You must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Georgia’s hands-free law also applies to micromobility vehicles, meaning you cannot use your cellphone while riding.
  • Operating micromobility vehicles under the influence can result in DUI charges.
  • Park your micromobility vehicle near a bike rack and away from the street or walkways.

Posted speed limits apply to micromobility vehicles, and while most do not reach high speeds, Capt. Walton said the department has observed students adding extra voltage to scooters and e-bikes to increase speed.

“We don’t put anything past our engineers,” he said.

The ordinances that govern the use of these vehicles on campus are not developed by Georgia Tech but rather by the City of Atlanta, meaning violations carry the same penalty as most traffic tickets.

“We want students to know that the exact violation you’re committing is the exact violation that a car would commit, and the fine is the same price. If you fail to stop at a stop sign in a vehicle, it would cost you about $250 a ticket. It is the same if you do it on a scooter or a bicycle,” he said.

GTPD hopes to use education to promote safety. In addition to expanding its Communications team, GTPD is coordinating conversations with campus organizations and departments to reach students, faculty, and staff. A comprehensive campus education plan is also in the works that will promote micro-mobility safety year-round online and across campus with digital and physical signage.

Propel ATL’s Georgia Tech Community courses offer cyclists of all skill levels the opportunity to learn the rules of the road in a safe and supportive environment. Learn more.

Safe Practices

Capt. Walton emphasized that all campus community members, including faculty and staff, must abide by the law and are subject to citation. Whether you’re new to micromobility or an experienced rider, keep these safety tips in mind.

  • Wear a helmet. Capt. Walton noted that in most accidents, riders were not wearing protective headgear.
  • Do not ride distracted. Do not use your phone or listen to music and make sure you can hear the environment around you.
  • Watch for Stinger buses pulling away from curbs.
  • Do not ride with two people on one scooter or bike.
  • At night, make sure your micromobility vehicle has a front light and a reflective red light on the back, and wear reflective clothing.
  • Register your scooter with GTPD so that owners can be contacted if a scooter is blocking access or is stolen and recovered.

Drivers have the responsibility of sharing the road with micromobility users. Only pass a micromobility user if there is at least 3 feet of clearance. Drivers should regularly check mirrors and blind spots to avoid potential accidents.

To limit speeding and aggressive driving, GTPD purchased 14 radar speed detection signs earlier this year, and the data collected could eventually lead to reduced speed limits on campus as the Institute’s infrastructure becomes increasingly micromobility-friendly.

Parking and Transportation Services similarly encourages the safe use of micromobility vehicles on campus, offering a free safety class for members of the Tech community. After completing the course, participants receive a free helmet. Helmets can also be purchased from the department for $12.

For additional information regarding micromobility safety on campus, visit GTPD’s website.

Contact

Steven Gagliano – Communications Officer

Institute Communications

Sidebar

Biketober has arrived, and throughout the month, Propel ATL will host a variety of events for new and experienced cyclists with learning opportunities, friendly competition, and chances to win prizes. Learn more.

Take Control & Drive Ahead with the NEW Driver’s Seat!

Parking and Transportation Services has converted to a new parking management system. Learn how to use it!

Take Control & Drive Ahead with the NEW Driver’s Seat!

Parking & Transportation Services Transitions to New Parking Management System

Jun 22, 2023

Take Control & Drive Ahead with the NEW Driver’s Seat! 

It’s time to drive ahead! Parking & Transportation Services (PTS) has introduced a brand NEW Customer Portal for all of your parking & transportation needs.

  • Increased functionality
  • Fresh, up-to-date layout
  • Mobile-friendly
  • More control
  • Better experience

Click here to learn more about the new system and how to use it!

If you currently have an active annual permit, your permit is valid through August 15th. Permits for the upcoming 2023-24 year are now available. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact support@pts.gatech.edu.

Visit www.pts.gatech.edu for updates. #DriveAhead

Please note that customers will be able to access the new portal using the current Driver’s Seat URL: www.driversseat.gatech.edu.The Driver’s Seat will be down June 28th – 30th as PTS converts to the new system. Please be sure to manage your parking and transportation account needs, including permit purchasing, prior to the conversion period. For emergencies during this period, please contact the 24-hour dispatch at 404-385-7275. For additional updates and information, please visit www.pts.gatech.edu. PTS apologizes for any inconvenience caused during this time. Stay tuned for upcoming information about the new parking management system. 

Sidebar

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Parking and Transportation Services has converted to a new parking management system.

WHAT SERVICES WILL BE IMPACTED?

All permit sales, SmartPark units sales, MARTA pass sales, citation appeals, citation payment, and account management will be unavailable online in The Driver’s Seat and in the PTS office.

WHO WILL BE IMPACTED?

All Parking Customers

WHAT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR ISSUES?

For emergencies during this period, please contact our 24-hour dispatch at 404-385-7275.

Online MARTA Sales Are Back! 

Beginning this June, MARTA pass sales will be available online for all Georgia Tech students and employees.

Online Marta Sales Are Back!

MARTA pass sales will be available online over the summer.

Jun 9, 2023 – Atlanta, GA

Beginning June 21st, MARTA pass sales will be available online for all Georgia Tech students and employees. Pick-up in-office sales will be available at the Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) customer service center.

To purchase your MARTA Pass online, visit driverseat.pts.gatech.edu and click “Order Permits”. Choose “MARTA pass” among the permit types. Upon purchase completion, please allow one hour before picking up the pass at PTS.

The PTS customer service center is at 770 Spring Street within the Tech Square Hotel parking deck. During the summer, the center will operate under a modified schedule; 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM, Monday – Friday. However, customer service staff members will be present to assist customers with collecting purchased MARTA passes after 3:30 PM.

For further assistance or to schedule pickup after 3:30 PM, contact support@pts.gatech.edu. Georgia Tech encourages students, faculty, and staff to use cleaner commutes by offering discounted monthly transit passes!

For More Information Contact

Introducing New Bus Tracking App, TransLoc

Parking and Transportation Services introduces its new bus tracking app, TransLoc, that can be used for both the Stinger bus and Stingerette van.

Introducing New Bus Tracking App, TransLoc

Parking and Transportation Services would like to introduce its new bus tracking app, TransLoc. This replaces Passio Go and the former Stingerrette nighttime safety shuttle system.  TransLoc will provide fixed route bus tracking as well as on-demand Stingerette safety shuttle now all in one app! TransLoc is used locally by other institutions such as Emory, Kennesaw State, and SCAD.

For more information and to download the app, please visit https://transloc.com/app/

Real-time route information can be found at bus.gatech.edu.

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TransLoc bus tracking app for Stinger and Stingerette

For More Information Contact

Maximize Your Campus Commute

With the summer semester is in full swing and the fall fast approaching, you may see more members of the Georgia Tech community finding alternative ways to get around campus with the warmer weather.

Maximize Your Campus Commute

With the summer semester in full swing and the fall fast approaching, you may see more members of the Georgia Tech community finding alternative ways to get around campus with the warmer weather. That means more electric and non-electric bikes, scooters, and skateboards, especially with the addition of Spin Bikes this past semester.

“Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in ridership of scooters, e-bikes, and skateboards on campus,” said Aaron Fowler, Director of Transportation with Parking and Transportation Services. “This has made alternative transportation more accessible to the Georgia Tech community and getting around campus much easier.”

With the increase in the use of different riding devices, along with walking, traffic in some parts of campus will have a wide variety of commuting.

The Division of Student Engagement and Well-Being departments of Stamps Health Services, Parking and Transportation Services, Health Initiatives, and Campus Recreation have collaborated to share tips to make your campus commute safer.

Take a Class

Get comfortable traveling by bike with a free city cycling instructional group ride sponsored by Propel ATL on July 28 at 4 p.m. This in-person class meets behind the CRC on Tech Parkway, near the turnaround parking area, and is expected to occur monthly. This class is designed specifically for members of the Georgia Tech community, including students, staff, and faculty. After a few quick drills, riders will hit the city or campus streets for a 45-minute ride of three to four gentle miles. Class attendance requires a liability waiver and registration.

Ride Smart is a twelve-minute online class that offers an introduction to riding safety in an urban environment whether by bike or scooter. Participate in the comfort of your home and you can even receive a free helmet.

“Riding is great for physical and mental health and can be very safe, but, just like driving, safety increases with knowledge and experience,” said Becky James, chair of Bike Georgia Tech. “The Ride Smart class introduces riders to the basics of riding in an urban environment, and the City Cycling class offers the opportunity to practice handling skills and ride on the road with an experienced rider, which is the best way to learn and build confidence.”

Protect Your Brain & Body

We have some of the best minds at Georgia Tech, so why not do everything you can to protect it! One of the best ways to prevent injuries while riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard is to wear a helmet. Did you know Parking and Transportation Services sells helmets for only $12? Visit their customer service center located on the Ground Level of the E81-Tech Square (the Georgia Tech Hotel) parking deck just inside the Spring Street entrance.

“While wearing a helmet is one way to protect yourself, so is modifying how you use a riding device like reducing your speed, stopping at intersections, and riding in designated lanes,” said Dr. Benjamin Holton, Senior Director of Stamps Health Services. “This past academic year, we saw a significant number of riding injuries coming into Stamps, some of which were very serious. Equipping yourself with resources that teach you how to use your riding device, follow laws, and share the road can have a substantial impact on injury prevention.”

Engage with Student Groups

There are student organizations that you can engage with that provide resources and support riding on campus. Starter Bikes sells used bikes and teaches students how to repair and maintain their bikes. On Fridays, they are open from 4-7 p.m. in the CRC parking deck. On most Thursdays from 5-7 p.m., Starter Bikes offers workshops and group rides. Follow them on Instagram @starterbikesgt or on Facebook to learn more.

Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT) offers mountain biking and bikepacking trips for beginning and intermediate riders. Visit crc.gatech.edu/adventure-trips-0 to learn more. These student organizations provide the opportunity to ride with experienced riders and gain time and experience in the saddle.

Make Sure Your Ride is in Tip-Top Shape

Aztec Cycles brings its mobile repair shop to the Community Market each Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.  Maintenance of your ride is essential because often there may be students riding on bikes that are not fit for the road, which can cause accidents or injury. To learn more, visit www.aztec-cycles.com.

Complete the ABC Quick Check! It only takes 10 seconds to check the air, brakes, chain, and quick releases before each ride. This is especially important with shareable scooters and bikes. Watch this short video to learn the steps to take to keep you safe.

Tips for Riders

While there are plenty of on-campus resources for you to take advantage of, here are the top tips to keep in mind:

  • Per Georgia law, bikes are considered vehicles, and riders must obey traffic laws. Stop at stop signs and red lights, yield to pedestrians, and don’t ride distracted.
  • Riding on sidewalks can be more dangerous than riding on the road. Drivers are not expecting someone going as fast as a cyclist on the sidewalk.
  • When riding on a shared-use path, ride at the same speed as people walking; when passing, ring a bell or say, “on your left,” and give ample space.

For more Smart Cycling tips, visit www.bikeleague.org/content/smart-cycling-tips-0.

Tips for On-Campus Drivers

On-campus drivers play an important role in the safety of all modes of transportation. Here are a few tips to increase safety for everyone:

  • Obey all traffic laws, including Georgia’s Hands-Free Act, and watch for people using all modes of transportation – bikes, scooters, skateboards, and walking.
  • When riding on a road with a bike lane, before turning, glance behind and beside you for a rider in the bike lane and check the crosswalk for pedestrians.
  • When passing a rider, slow down and pass with care. Per Georgia law, drivers must give 3-feet space when passing a person on a bike.
  • Bikes are allowed on all roads except limited-access freeways. Make sure to share the road respectfully with other users.

Although you might commute to campus using various modes, PTS recommends finding alternative ways to get around campus once you’re here. Whether it is walking, taking the Stinger buses, or renting a bike or scooter, you can make it across campus without having to get back into your car. Move Georgia Tech shows you how long it takes to get from one part of campus to another and talks about the impact of active transportation on the environment and your health.

Secure Your Ride

Protecting your ride from theft is also important in maximizing your campus commute.  You can register your scooter or bike through the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) at police.gatech.edu/registration or by bringing it to the police station in person.

Use a U-lock. U-locks offer the best theft deterrence, as they better resist prying and cutting than a cable. U-locks are available on campus with Aztec Cycling. Lock your bike to a rack as they are designed to deter theft, and secure it through the frame or rear triangle. On-campus bikes may only be locked to bike racks, not to trees, railings, signs, etc.

If you need to store your bike after your commute, overnight, or over a campus break, you can use one of the bike rooms on campus. The Dalney (W22) and Tech Square (E81) parking decks feature secure, covered bike parking for commuters. Students, faculty, and staff can access the bike rooms using their BuzzCard, however, bikes must be registered with GTPD. For information about bike storage over a campus break, email commute@gatech.edu.

To learn more about steps to take to stay safe on every ride, the rules of the road, how to properly adjust and wear a helmet, and what to do if you are involved in a crash, check out this Bicyclists Pocket Guide produced by the Georgia Bikes. You can also visit bike.gatech.edu and pts.gatech.edu/bicycling-georgia-tech to learn about riding at Georgia Tech.

Related Media

With the summer semester in full swing and the fall fast approaching, here are tips to make your campus commute safer.

Tech offers several resources for safe riding on or around campus from engaging with campus organizations like Starter Bikes and Bike Georgia Tech to taking classes in collaboration with Atlanta non-profits.

One of the best ways to prevent injuries while riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard is to wear a helmet.

With the increase in the use of different riding devices, along with walking, traffic in some parts of campus will have a wide variety of commuting.

For More Information Contact

Morgan Miller
Director of Communications
Campus Services

Celebrating National Bike Month

With May designated as National Bike Month, and this week Bike to Work Week, it’s a good time to explore options for cycling on and near Georgia Tech’s campus.

Celebrating National Bike Month

Two students share how they’re working to make cycling safer

May is National Bike Month, and this week is Bike to Work Week, which makes it a good time to explore options for cycling on and near Georgia Tech’s campus. Georgia Tech has been designated a Gold level Bicycle Friendly University and is home to more than 4,000 bike parking spaces, so there’s no shortage of amenities for those who want to enjoy a ride.

In recent updates, Georgia Tech will offer summer bike parking for those who will not be on campus but want to leave a bike behind for fall. Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) will accommodate summer bike parking in the Dalney Deck (W22) and the Tech Square Hotel deck (E81). Users are required to register your bike with the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) and can enter the rooms using their BuzzCard.

For those who will be on campus this summer, Spin e-bikes are now available for use, and discounts are offered for the Tech community. New bike racks have been added to the Klaus Parking Deck, accessible through the pedestrian entrance on Ferst Drive.

PTS continues to offer its own online bike/scooter safety class for the Tech community. Participants learn practical tips for bike care, safety, and rules of the road, and receive a free helmet upon completion of the class. Learn more and sign up.

A new class is also being offered in partnership with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. The 45-minute class on Thursday, May 26, at 4 p.m. will include a ride on campus beginning on Tech Parkway, in the parking turnaround area behind the Campus Recreation Center (near the rear entrance to the CRC parking deck). Students, faculty and staff are welcome. Participants may bring their own bike, or Spin will also be on hand with e-bikes for participants. Helmets are required and participants will sign a waiver.

PTS also sells helmets for $12, and U-locks can be purchased at Earl’s Bike Shop, located just west of campus. Campus cyclists are also encouraged to register their bikes with GTPD. Bike registration can aid in getting bikes back to their owner if they are stolen or need to be removed from a campus rack. Registration is easy and free. Scooter owners can also register their scooters through the same system.

The Atlanta Cycling Festival is currently underway, with events running through May 22 that include group rides, outdoor social events, and bike tours, and informational classes.

For Tech employees, switching to a bike or other alternative mode of transportation can be lucrative — cash incentives are offered through Georgia Commute Options. For resources on getting started as a bike commuter, visit pts.gatech.edu/bicycling-georgia-tech.

Creating a Safer Future for Cyclists

Two Ph.D. students in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering are researching ways to collect better data and create safer bicycle infrastructure so that more people will feel comfortable cycling on city streets.

Rachael Panik and Reid Passmore aren’t just interested in cycling as an academic pursuit — they are also active cyclists who ride their bikes to commute and run errands, giving them a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of cycling in Atlanta.

According to Passmore, many cyclists are hesitant to share the road with cars because they don’t feel safe. He says infrastructure like bike lanes and multi-use paths are needed to make cycling more accessible. Passmore’s research leverages cyclists’ preferences to estimate the perceived safety contributions of new bike infrastructure projects to help city planners and engineers.

Panik says there is still not enough data to fully understand the risks affecting bicycle crash rates, especially in communities where active travel culture is just beginning to grow. In partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), her research will create activity estimates of bicycle travel volumes and risk estimates to prioritize safety projects within Atlanta and Georgia.

Learn more about these students and their research to make cycling safer and more enjoyable:

What led you to this area of study?

Panik: I became interested in multimodal transportation after studying abroad in Japan. I loved that I could travel around Japan without a car but instead by walking, biking, and train. My interests in bicycling grew even more during my master’s degree internship and first job. I worked for an engineering firm that specialized in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure design and planning, and through that work I learned about all of the challenges we need to solve for people bicycling in the U.S.

Passmore: Between undergrad and grad school, I interned at the Atlanta Regional Commission and took inventory of all of metro Atlanta’s bike infrastructure. I saw lots of gaps, and I wanted to find ways to fix those gaps in a systematic way.

What is your experience with cycling?

Passmore: Since I started at Georgia Tech in 2015, I’ve been car-free. I use my bike for getting groceries, getting to class, exploring, and socializing.

Panik: I actually never cycled for transportation until moving to Atlanta in the summer of 2020. I took advantage of there being fewer cars on the road due to Covid-19. Less traffic (for a little while, at least) gave me the opportunity to gain confidence biking in the city. Now, I cycle for many of my trips, including my commute to Georgia Tech.

What’s the major problem you see with cycling safety and infrastructure?

Passmore: The lack of connected and protected cycling infrastructure.

Panik: If I had to boil it down to one major problem with cycling safety, it would be vehicle speed. Since most of the severe and fatal crashes in the United States involve cars, vehicle speed is an incredibly important problem in cycling safety.The way that we design our transportation system in the U.S. gives priority to moving vehicles fast. That decision is inherently at odds with people cycling safely, no matter what kind of infrastructure we design.

How does your research aim to address this problem?

Passmore: I’m trying to measure how new cycling infrastructure would improve the existing cycling network. Then I can rank cycling infrastructure according to this metric and know what needs to get built first.

Have you found a disconnect between what cyclists prefer and what infrastructure exists or has been proposed by policymakers and city planners?

Panik: Yes. I In general, people who cycle for trips prefer traveling on roads where drivers go slowly and where they are physically separated from cars. To create enough of those kinds of roads to make traveling feasible for people who are not already bicycling requires long-term political willpower and commitment to a shared vision of what we want transportation in Atlanta to be. We see really great examples of this kind of infrastructure all over the city, like the Atlanta BeltLine and the new Spring Street bike lanes — we just need much more of these kinds of projects so that there is a real cycling network in the city.

How could volume and risk estimates be used to prioritize safety projects?

Panik: A big problem for engineers who decide how to improve roadway safety is knowing where to prioritize safety projects. There are many roadways and intersections in Atlanta and in Georgia that have bicycle crashes — so how do they decide which ones to tackle first? If we assume that the most important projects are those that would mitigate the most risk, then we have to effectively measure risk. That’s where my research comes in. I hope to help GDOT engineers better measure risk on Atlanta and Georgia roadways so they can more systematically implement safety projects.

What are the benefits of more robust cycling options?

Passmore: Driving isn’t for everyone, yet the current conditions make driving one of the only viable options. I’d be miserable if I was forced to drive everywhere because it stresses me out, so having cycling as an option lets me avoid driving entirely. In addition, cycling is cheap, efficient, healthy, and environmentally friendly.

Panik: If Atlanta had a more robust cycling network, I think the city would be a fundamentally different (and, in my opinion, better) place. Of course, more people would cycle if there were better options to do it, and that would go hand in hand with a different kind of physical space. Think about the development that surrounds the BeltLine: it’s just different from the rest of the car-oriented development in the city. Now, imagine that kind of people-oriented development throughout the city connected by a network of great roads for biking. It would be a safer, more sustainable, and (importantly) more fun way to live.

How do you think civil engineers will help improve the future of cycling in cities?

Passmore: Civil engineers of the past have largely ignored designing for cyclists, and this has led to inadequate and dangerous conditions. I think civil engineers of the present and future have a duty to improve these conditions through physical infrastructure (like bike lanes, multi-use paths, and traffic calming) until cycling is safe enough for a parent to feel comfortable letting their child bike on their own.

Panik: Civil engineers are important members of the group of people (such as urban planners and politicians) who decide what it feels like to live in a city. That is a huge responsibility and privilege. Engineers can improve the future of cycling by prioritizing the safety of all road users over speed and moving cars. That kind of thinking is a big shift from what transportation engineers do now, but it is a necessary one if we want to make cycling safer and more enjoyable.

Related Media

Earth Week Bike Ride

Rachael Panik

Reid Passmore

For More Information Contact

Kristen Bailey
Institute Communications

Melissa Fralick
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Related Links

Rerouting of Communication Lines Affects W02 Parking

Rerouting of Communication Lines Affects W02 Parking

Beginning Wednesday, May 11, contractors will be onsite outside the Smithgall Student Services Building and W02 Student Center Parking Deck to reroute communication lines. Work will begin at 6 a.m. on Wednesday and is expected to be completed at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 12.

During this time, the entrance and exit gates, as well as visitor pay stations, at the W02 Student Center Parking Deck will not be operational. Annual W02 permit holders, including those with SmartPark and Flex permits, will continue to park as normal. Visitors will need to pay for parking upon arrival to the garage using ParkMobile Zone 8631. During this time, the Charge Point electric vehicle chargers in the W02 lot will also not be operational.

Currently, contractors are not anticipating disruption to cell phone coverage. More information will be provided if the situation changes.

For More Information Contact

Nic Palfrey
Senior Project Manager
Infrastructure and Sustainability

Farewell, Tech Trolley. Hello, New Transit.

Farewell, Tech Trolley. Hello, New Transit.

Goodbye to an Icon

One of Georgia Tech’s most beloved symbols has been missing this year – the Tech Trolley. Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) made the tough decision to remove the Tech Trolley from campus bus routes to help with social distancing on campus transit. Due to Covid-19, campus buses are providing 50 percent of their normal occupancy to maintain distance between passengers. Stinger buses seat 45 passengers while the Trolley seats only 35. PTS decided to replace the Trolleys with Stinger vehicles to provide the most seating possible. The current Trolley fleet has been in service 10 years and was costly to repair and maintain.

“Prior to the pandemic, we had planned to phase out the Trolleys over the course of this academic year and replace them with additional Stinger buses,” said Aaron Fowler, Director of Transportation. “The Trolleys were purchased by our transit vendor in 2010 and have fully met their useful life. As campus began planning for re-opening with in-person instruction last fall, we knew that the bench-style seating in the Trolleys would not be optimal for encouraging social distancing. The pandemic forced us to move up our Trolley retirement timetable without a lot of fanfare, but we knew it was the right decision for everyone’s safety.”

The Tech Trolley was introduced to campus in August 2003. Its route was created to connect main campus to MARTA and the newly opened Technology Square. A new fleet of Trolleys graced the campus in 2010, carrying more than 10 million passengers in 10 years. It was the first university transit system in the state to utilize real-time GPS bus tracking through the Nextbus system in 2005

The Trolley was known for its bright yellow color, tinkling bell, and wooden bench seating, which made it a popular choice for special events. With an average of 50 bookings per year, the Trolley has been a part of the Atlanta Pride Parade, Invest Atlanta House tours, Alumni Association Homecoming campus tours, new employee orientation and Georgia Tech Advisory board meetings. Trolleys have also been a favorite for wedding ceremonies, transporting brides, grooms, and their wedding parties, and serving as backdrops during photoshoots.

Serina and Simon Awadalla used the Tech Trolley in their November 2019 wedding.  “Most of our bridal party are GT alums,” said Simon (ME 2009). “We all have Yellow Jacket pride, so we sang the fight song the entire time we were onboard.”

Tech alumnus Steve Martin (BS, Chemistry, 1969) chartered the Trolley to transport guests for his 50th wedding anniversary with wife Loni. Steve, whose family boasts four consecutive generations of Tech alums, chose the Trolley because it brought a special touch to their celebration. “When planning, we instantly thought of the Trolley,” said his daughter-in-law Susan Martin (BTE 1994). “It was a lot of fun and memorable for the whole family.”

What began as an innovative way to connect campus to metro Atlanta quickly became an iconic symbol of Georgia Tech. “The Tech Trolley was originally chosen as a way to bring attention and excitement to a new bus route traveling to a completely new part of campus,” Fowler said. “The Trolley route was very effective in building ridership. Nearly half of all our campus ridership is now on the Gold Route, which is the former Tech Trolley route.”

The Tech Trolley holds many special memories for students, employees, visitors and alumni. If you have special memories of the Tech Trolley, share them at support@pts.gatech.edu.

Preparing for a New Fleet and Self-Operation

Once the current transit contract expires, Georgia Tech will be moving to a self-operated transit service for July 2022. The self-operated program will allow Tech to purchase a more sustainable bus fleet, including hybrid electric buses and adding more buses to the highly used Gold Route during peak hours. The move also will allow drivers to be Institute employed and open the door for funding outside of student fees.

Senior director Sherry Davidson said moving to self-operation improves sustainability while maintaining fiscal responsibility. “Transportation took a hard look at how we could build the future that we all wanted to see. The result was changing the way in which we operate.

“Over the past two years we have had a series of conversations with the Student Government Association, sustainability groups, and the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee on what the future of campus transit could look like,” Fowler said.

New buses will be ordered this spring, with new technologies and services being procured over the next 18 months. Onboarding for approximately 50 employees will take place before the new fleet begins operation in July 2022.

As the current transit contract with Groome Transportation approached expiration in 2021, PTS released an RFP in 2019 for new campus transit services. “The results were not as sustainable as everyone had hoped,” Fowler said.  “As we took a step back to reevaluate our priorities, our leadership team made the case that campus could move to a more sustainable bus fleet and receive a higher level of service for an overall lower cost if we transitioned to self-operation.”

Since 2018, PTS has worked with students and employees to garner feedback about future transit services and self-operation. The campus community noted five focus areas: sustainable fleet, more reliable service, less overcrowding, increased accessibility, and improved technologies.

PTS is hopeful that it can meet these focus areas with self-operation, including implementing at least 30 percent of the new fleet as hybrid-electric buses. Hybrid buses generate power as they are on route, which reduces overall oil consumption and carbon footprint. “Over time we anticipate the entire fleet being transitioned to hybrid-electric,” said Fowler.

Davidson noted the move to self-operation is expected to result in significant cost savings and reduce the impact to student fees. “We expect to have more funding sources, which has the potential to further increase the level of service at a lower cost per service hour.”

Next steps include completing funding and incorporating stakeholder input. “During stakeholder meetings, the community spoke clearly about the need to move toward a more sustainable model for our transportation system, as well as the need for improved service reliability, capacity, technology and cost containment,” Davidson said. “We have relied upon that feedback as we’ve finalized the details of our future program.”

To track the status of the new fleet’s implementation, bookmark Tech Transit: 50 Years and the Future. 

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ALL SMILES: Tech Transit drivers love being a part of the Yellow Jacket community.

WEDDING BELLS: Simon and Serina Awadalla used the Tech Trolley in their November 2019 wedding. “Most of our bridal party are GT alums,” said Simon (ME 2009). “We all have Yellow Jacket pride, so we sang the fight song the entire time we were onboard.”

CRITICS CHOICE: In its early days, Tech Transit was not without criticism. The Technique published this statement in 1973 highlighting mixed reviews of the Stinger bus and the newly implemented Stinger Jr.

PAY YOUR WAY: Student paid quarterly fees in 1976, with only $2.50 for transportation.

FULL OF FLARE: Like the fashion of 1975, Tech Transit took on its own flair with Tech gold and white design.

PICTURE PERFECT: The Stinger bus sails past McCamish Pavilion on its way to the main campus.

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