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Mobility / Transportation

Issues of mobility are paramount to FutureVU efforts given efforts to beautify the entire campus, enhance the park-like character people enjoy and better connect areas of campus that feel disconnected. In close alignment with the FutureVU Guiding Principles, FutureVU calls for diversification of transportation options, prioritization of pedestrian and bicycle mobility, and improvement of accessibility. Principles include regular evaluation of how cars and traffic interact with the campus boundaries, and reducing, rather than adding to, the number of roadways.  In addition, Vanderbilt aims to enhance connectivity by integrating pedestrian and bicycle circulation, providing wayfinding that integrates with campus landscape and architecture, reducing vehicular through-traffic, relocating existing and locating new parking structures to the perimeter of campus, and promoting safety on campus.

The university is at an important inflection point and students, faculty and staff have come together as a community to discuss the future of the campus footprint and engage in dialogue to develop solutions in order to improve sustainability and offer healthier, more flexible ways of traveling. The FutureVU team has been meeting with constituents on campus and across Nashville and studying best practices at other universities and cities, as well as lessons learned abroad, to understand the multi-layered issues that connect back to transportation issues and needs on campus, including the distribution of Vanderbilt’s own workforce in Nashville. Eighty-two of the university’s 333 acres, or roughly 25 percent, are currently dedicated to parking. In addition, data shows that many of Vanderbilt’s employees who may benefit most from public transportation live in areas that are not currently well served by it. Considering the highest and best use of a precious resource, Vanderbilt’s land, and evaluating solutions that will assist the campus community are paramount to the mobility efforts.


Wond’ry Transportation Working Groups

Following the Chancellor’s Town Hall on Transportation, held on October 28, 2016, more than 90 individuals signed up to participate in Transportation Working Groups. The groups, facilitated by the Wond’ry, included faculty, staff and students from across the university.  Participants were assigned to working groups and met throughout the spring semester of 2017.

The six working groups were charged specifically with formulating actionable steps the university can take related to:

  1. Metropolitan Transit Authority / Regional Transportation Authority (MTA/RTA) bus and train adjustments to better service Vanderbilt;
  2. Vanderbilt shuttle opportunities;
  3. Expansion of Uber and Lyft opportunities on campus;
  4. Expansion of on-campus biking infrastructure and bike programs;
  5. Potential alternative work arrangements; and
  6. Vanpools, carpools and other partnerships.

Read more about their efforts here.


Next Steps

The preparation of a comprehensive mobility/transportation strategy, based on recommendations from the Wond’ry working groupsVanderbilt Student Government (VSG) proposalFutureVU Faculty Advisory Committee, and FutureVU consultants is currently being drafted.  The slide deck at the following link lists all recommendations that were received, and are being evaluated and considered, as a part of the comprehensive strategy:



Oct 19, 2016: Chancellor’s Town Hall discussing campus, Nashville transportation set for Oct. 28, 2016

Oct 31, 2016: Zeppos invites Vanderbilt community to join transportation working groups

Oct 9, 2017: Chancellor’s Town Hall focusing on campus accessibility, transportation and mobility, and sustainability set for Oct. 17, 2017

Oct 19, 2017: Zeppos engages campus community about FutureVU core values, next steps

Dec 14, 2017: Public Safety announces improvements to Vandy Vans services

Jan 25, 2018: FutureVU begins spring semester by continuing efforts to engage campus community

Jan 25, 2018: ‘What is Nashville’s Transit Plan?’ topic of lunchtime discussion Jan. 30

Jan 29, 2018: Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center announce support for mayor’s transit initiative

Feb 1, 2018: Transit forum draws capacity crowd; next forum scheduled for Feb. 23

Feb 14, 2018: Panel discussion on Nashville Transit Plan set for Feb. 23

Feb 26, 2018: Vanderbilt experts showcase research at second transit forum

Mar 16, 2018: Transit panel series continues; third installment features Kopstain, Getz

Mar 22, 2018: Vanderbilt and ofo partner to bring dockless bike sharing to campus

Apr 19, 2018: Final transit forum discusses May 1 referendum vote

Apr 20, 2018: Videos from Vanderbilt-sponsored Nashville Transit Plan forums now available online

Apr 25, 2018: Dockless bike-sharing pilot continues through summer; preferred pricing available for VU, VUMC

Aug 27, 2018: First sustainable, app-based VandyVans shelter launched

Aug 31, 2018: Vanderbilt to offer dockless bike and scooter options on campus

Sep 13, 2018: Campus community can ride Metro’s upgraded ‘We Go’ buses for free

Sep 18, 2018: University’s bike-share pilot wins TN Sustainable Transportation Award

Oct 1, 2018: Hafkenschiel to lead new university transportation office

Oct 16, 2018: Faculty and staff invited to participate in Nashville Commuter Challenge

Oct 26, 2018: Learn about mobility strategy, give input at FutureVU Mobility Expo Nov 6

Nov 7, 2018: Vanderbilt University receives $4.5M grant, will match to help fund MoveVU mobility plan

Feb 18, 2019: Safety remains top priority as electric scooter use increases

Apr 15, 2019: Join Team Vanderbilt in Nashville Commuter Challenge through May 3