The results are in from the University’s 2022 travel survey and we are proud to announce that we have achieved our Travel Plan target for 87% of all travel to be sustainable by 2022.
- 51% of students and staff travel by sustainable means to and from the University (with sustainable travel defined as anything other than single occupancy vehicle travel).
- 70% of our students travel to University locations by foot, which has risen by 10% since the last survey was conducted in 2020. The amount of students using public transport has remained static but the number of student cyclists has declined by 5%.
- Staff travel to University remains dominated by single occupancy vehicle use and remains well above target at 43%. The number of staff traveling by public transport has declined, but this would be expected due to ongoing concerns at the time of the survey around Covid 19.
- There is a lot of potential interest in using alternative modes of travel and the feedback from the survey will help inform our next 5-year Travel Plan.
Covid 19 impact
This was the first travel survey to be conducted since the Covid 19 pandemic. The survey focussed on a particular week when working from home guidance had been removed, but stark changes to working from home and travel patterns have still been revealed. In the last survey, the frequency of time that students and staff spent working from home was relatively low – in 2022 this has changed to most people saying they work from home most days or a few times a week, with 18% and 21% increases for students and staff respectively.
These changes have impacted travel behaviour, with declines in all forms of travel when people were asked how they travel to University locations ‘most days’. These changes must be considered in the way that the University sets and measures sustainable travel targets in the future to better reflect the environmental benefits of reduced travel to campus.
Alternative modes of travel
High numbers of respondents said they would consider alternative modes of transport, with the most popular being: cycling, travelling by foot or by bus / coach. Interestingly the majority of those selecting these alternative modes live close enough to make their potential switch viable. It is important that actions and incentives to support the use of these different modes should be prioritised to encourage their use.
Respondents were asked what changes they would like to see to encourage them to use alternative modes. There was strong support for subsidised and cheaper tickets for public transport, more frequent services and improved reliability. There were also a significant number of respondents who also wanted to see segregated pedestrian / cycle paths, improved street lighting and safer road crossings.
Recommendations for each form of travel were identified and are prioritised in the order of the carbon hierarchy – as stipulated in our Travel Plan.
Recommendations of note:
– Develop a broader range of incentives to use alternative travel modes and to promote them widely
– Review on campus street lighting, pedestrian crossings, entrances and exits and prioritise improvements
– Work with local councils regarding active travel improvements off campus
– Review cycle facilities across all campuses
– Explore the potential to reduce the costs of public transport
– Further promotion and raising awareness of Co Wheels car club
– Promote new Lift share platform on Doing #UoR Bit. See Doing #UoRBit – Sustainability (reading.ac.uk) for more information