Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Ron Zimmer

Executive Summary

Parking is an omnipresent headache for urban-based universities across the United States. The University of Kentucky took a distinctive approach to shifting commuter mode share away from single-occupancy vehicles in 2015 by initiating a fare-free partnership with the local transit authority. This study aims to determine the relative success of this program by weighing the costs and benefits for the University over the first four years of implementation. In order to offset the limited supply of parking available for personally owned vehicles, the University of Kentucky (UK) launched BluPass, a fare-free transit initiative that aimed to significantly increase the number of students and employees who used bus routes to travel to and from campus. While the benefit to cost ratio of this program was over 4:1, ridership on off-campus routes did not increase, nor did sales of parking permits across campus decrease as was the case in virtually every other campus that was evaluated throughout the literature review. However, the percentage of students and employees who purchased parking permits decreased even as the campus population and number of parking spaces increased over the years of the study. Over all, the value per dollar spent on BluPass was much greater for UK than for the average university that initiates a fare-free transit program.



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