Sustainable Travel

Picture of a bike

The University first launched its five-year travel and transport strategy in 2019 with the aim of collaborating with local transport providers and local government to improve public and other transport options for staff and students, including a comprehensive cycling infrastructure and facilities, working towards 100% electrification of the University’s vehicle fleet by 2030, and electrification of the Universal bus service from 2021.  A review of car parking sites and permits was also planned and is currently in progress.

In March 2022, the University's new Guidelines for Sustainable Business Travel were published and are the basis for our own Land Economy Sustainable Travel Policy.

National and international business travel can play a key part in academic, research and education objectives at the University of Cambridge. However, in 2018/19, carbon emissions from business travel were roughly equivalent to emissions from gas used for space and water heating across the University estate (Environmental Sustainability Report 2019)

In summary, the guidelines recommend that:

  • Staff and students attend meetings and conferences virtually 
  • Staff and students consider whether their travel is essential (guidance on defining this is provided) 
  • Staff and students prioritise modes of travel that have the lowest carbon impact, and provide a hierarchy of preferred travel modes 
  • Flights to UK destinations and to European destinations that can be reached by train within six hours from London terminals are discouraged 
  • Where it is necessary to travel by plane, staff and students are strongly encouraged to offset the carbon emissions in accordance with the University’s offsetting policy. 

More guidance details can be found on the University's Sustainable Business Travel webpage.

Here in Land Economy, we had already started looking at the possibility of reducing our carbon emissions through implementation of a departmental travel policy, and you may remember we started with a couple of questions about travel in our Excellence Project Survey last year.  Unfortunately, the Excellence Project has been shelved for now, but the data is still insightful.  For example (although the sample of responses was disappointingly low) it was clear that as a department we do not make a significantly high number of flights, and if we do, they are legitimately for overseas conference attendance and course/research related field trips.

Going forward all staff and students are encouraged to consider prioritising use of sustainable travel where possible.  For example, when booking business travel (e.g. to attend a conference) academic staff are encouraged to select the 'Greenest' option when booking tickets via the University's preferred travel service provider Key Travel.  There is also the option to choose carbon neutral hotel accommodation.

We also encourage all staff and students to complete the University's annual travel survey in the Michaelmas Term.

In the department we are lucky because our building is centrally located with good travel links by bus, bike and on foot.  Lack of car parking encourages staff to travel more sustainably by default, and secure bike sheds provide ample storage space.  A bicycle repair kit and tools are available to all staff to fix broken bikes, and details of the University's regular Bike Maintenance workshops are circulated and can also be found HERE

We are also on the Universal bus route with stops in both directions outside the Queens' College entrance. 

The University is pleased to announce a new route and revised timetable for the Universal bus service, operating with electric buses. There will now be a U1 and U2 Universal bus service running every 15 minutes Monday to Friday, every 20 minutes on Saturdays and 30 minutes on Sundays. The new timetable will see the re-introduction of the weekend service to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.  Full bus service information can be found HERE

For the latest travel information go to the Sustainability Team's dedicated webpages:  Travel