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Revolutionizing Campus Transportation: The Benefits of Implementing a Motor Pool at Your University

Higher education institutions across the United States face the crucial task of providing efficient, cost-effective transportation for their thriving communities of students, faculty, and staff.

One of the most effective methods to control costs is to establish a motor pool on campus. Often managed in conjunction with an on-campus student transportation system, a motor pool is defined as a centralized fleet of vehicles that can be used by students, faculty, and staff for both on and off-campus transportation. These vehicles can be reserved for various uses, such as transporting teams to athletic events, shuttling students and faculty to off-campus events, and delivering equipment to research sites.

There are numerous benefits to having a motor pool at a university. When managed efficiently, campus motor pools save universities on transportation costs, reduce the need for private vehicle usage, and improve the institution's environmental impact. In addition, providing shared transportation improves accessibility for individuals without personal transportation options. In this blog, we will explore the many advantages to having a motor pool at a university and how it can enhance campus life for all.

The Ebb and Flow of Fleet Demands

Fleet demands at a university can vary greatly throughout the year, depending on the academic calendar and the events taking place on campus. During the academic year, the demand for transportation is generally higher as students, faculty, and staff commute to and from campus and related events. On the other hand, during school breaks, the demand for transportation may decrease significantly as students and faculty members leave campus. In addition to academic demands, other events affect fleet demands. Examples of these include concerts, athletic competitions, and conferences. For instance, when a major sporting event takes place on campus, the demand for transportation may increase as fans and participants arrive and depart from the event. 

The demands within different departments at a university will also naturally fluctuate throughout the year, depending on their unique calendars. Understanding these fluctuating demands is essential for managing your university fleet in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Fluctuation of Fleet Demand

Let's look more specifically at how a department's fleet needs might vary throughout the year and how motor pools can effectively help address these fluctuations.

During peak months of the year, a university's admissions department may require a fleet of eight vehicles to meet their demands, while their demand at other times could be as low as three vehicles. At the time of peak demand for the admissions department, other departments may have a lower demand and therefore a surplus of idle vehicles within the same parking lot. Since the demand for vehicles among departments tends to balance out over time, sharing a motor pool could significantly reduce the required number of vehicles for the entire university to function efficiently.

Shifting from a department-specific fleet to a shared one typically leads to a notable reduction in the number of vehicles needed to carry out your university's objectives.

Increasing Savings By Embracing Motor Pools

Implementing a motor pool at your university can save money in a number of ways:

  • Reduced Need for Private Vehicles: By providing a pool of vehicles that can be used by faculty, staff, and students, universities can reduce the number of personal vehicles needed on campus. This can save money by reducing the need for parking structures and lots, which can be expensive to build and maintain.
  • More Efficient Use of Vehicles: By centrally managing a pool of vehicles, universities can ensure that each vehicle is being used as efficiently as possible. This can reduce the overall number of fleet vehicles needed and help to optimize their use, which can in turn save money on fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Reduced Maintenance and Repair Costs: Motor pools are typically managed by a central department that oversees the maintenance and repair of the vehicles. This helps ensure that vehicles are in good condition and that any issues are addressed promptly, which can reduce the overall cost of maintenance and repair.
  • Reduced Insurance Costs and Risk Mitigation: By managing a pool centrally and ensuring that all drivers are properly licensed, insured, and trained, the university can reduce the risk of accidents and other incidents, which can help keep its insurance premiums lower.

By consolidating individual motor pools into one shared pool, universities can significantly reduce the likelihood of running out of vehicles during times of peak demand. In fact, the total number of vehicles required in the combined motor pool would likely decrease, with some organizations achieving a reduction of over 30% of their fleets. A shared motor pool would both save money and result in all departments having access to a greater variety of vehicles. Our analysis suggests that each eliminated vehicle from a pool could save departments between $3,000 and $8,000 per year, and these savings can quickly accumulate over time. 

Where Agile Fleet Fits In

Managing a motor pool typically requires an individual or team to schedule and coordinate vehicle use, dispatch vehicles, and handle reporting and billing. They must also create, communicate and enforce fleet policy for vehicle users, monitor preventative maintenance schedules, and analyze how that maintenance downtime might affect the overall motor pool schedule.

Additionally, with the right fleet management software, the significant amount of administrative time previously spent manually managing a motor pool can be streamlined to a virtually self-service operation that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

FleetCommander, Agile Fleet's cutting-edge software technology, streamlines motor pool processes, helping universities reduce costs and increase operational efficiency. We offer customized solutions that cater to the specific needs of universities, allowing you to manage your fleet more effectively. 

The Ultimate Impact

An automated motor pool can bring numerous benefits to a university. Universities can increase transportation efficiency, save significant amounts of money, reduce their carbon footprint, and improve the overall campus experience for students, faculty, and staff. Fleet users will have access to a variety of vehicles, making it easier for them to get around campus and surrounding areas. The university will also save on costs related to fleet management and maintenance. An automated motor pool can also be integrated with existing transportation services, financial platforms, and internal authentication systems, providing a seamless experience for students and faculty alike. Overall, an automated motor pool is a practical and sustainable solution for universities looking to modernize their transportation systems and improve the quality of life for their campus community. 

How much do you stand to save?  Access our 10-Year Fleet Cost Savings Calculator via the button below or contact our fleet experts for a free fleet savings assessment to find out.