It’s not uncommon for students to find themselves circling Squires parking lot for a space or riding the bus for 30 minutes to get back to their apartment after classes. But one local student organization is trying to find ways to cut back on transportation pollution in the New River Valley, while helping students realize alternative transportation is sometimes quicker than mass transit.
The Design for America chapter at Virginia Tech has started a project called “The BurgFinder,” where it is working to make alternative forms of transportation easier for students to access and understand.
The group is trying to accomplish this by designing signs for Blacksburg presenting information regarding biking and walking in a simple and informative format that hopes to promote alternative transportation.
“Transportation issues kept coming up and we quickly realized that this was a big issue in town,” Michael Kulikowski, the studio founder and current president of Tech's Design for America chapter said.
DFA is a part of a nationwide network of student led studios working with community members and the universities to identify local issues and go through the design process to identify solutions and implements. The group is interdisciplinary, and is a co-created environment where everyone can participate no matter his or her major.
The idea was initiated at a kickoff workshop last spring, where the group determined that alternative transportation around the area was a topic they could tackle and make a difference in.
“The signs were doing a double duty in a way because we could display distance and time. It would have a stronger impact and get people to understand how easy it is to use other ways of getting around, and how convenient it could be,” Kulikowski said.
Signs around campus became their main focus. By establishing a time measure, they hoped to show students that alternative and environmentally friendly transportation to campus is easier and takes a shorter time than driving a car or taking the bus.
“By hanging up the signs in high traffic areas, it would raise awareness of bikers in the area and improve their experience,” Kulikowski said.