Transport & Parking

2010 Staff and Student Travel Survey

The latest Travel Survey of staff and students was carried out in March 2010. Surveys are carried out every three years to monitor the effect of the University travel policies and plans.

Since the last travel survey in 2007 the University has introduced a number of new travel plan measures including:

Less driving

The University’s travel policies and plans aim to reduce the proportion of staff and students travel by car without passengers.

The results of the latest survey show that since the first survey in 2000, 10% less staff are driving to work on their own. There has been a decrease of 1% amongst students, but this is from a starting mode share of only 4.5%.

The staff and student mode share is provided below.

Staff and Student 2010 Mode Share
Mode Mode share
Walk/run/wheelchair 50.1%
Bus 20.9%
Cycle 10.5%
Car Driver Alone 7.8%
Rail 4.7%
Car Driver with passengers 3.4%
Car passenger 2.1%
Motorcycle 0.4%
Taxi 0.1%

One of the objectives of the University’s Integrated Travel Policy is to endeavour to exceed the mode share targets for travel to work set out in the City of Edinburgh Council’s (CEC) Local Transport Strategy. Comparing the 2010 University mode share with these targets the University has surpassed them by a very significant margin.

Comparison of CEC targets and University mode share
Mode CEC Target University 2010 Mode Share
Walk 25% 50.1%
Cycle 4% 10.5%
Public Transport 22% 25.6%
Car 47% 13.3%

Carbon footprint for commuter travel

The survey sought to estimate the University’s Carbon Footprint for staff and student commuter travel. It is estimated that the annual figure is 11,489 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The carbon emissions from travel to work or study were first estimated by the 2007 travel survey. The same methodology was used in the 2010 survey, which on submission of the survey provided staff and students with their estimated carbon footprint based on the detailed information they provided about their most recent journey.

In 2007 the Carbon Footprint was 7,837 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (note that this figure has been recalculated using the most up to date Carbon Conversion Factors available from DEFRA). It has risen to 11,489 tonnes in 2010.

The rise in the carbon footprint can be attributed to the fact that the distance between home and place of work or study has increased.

Awareness of travel plan measures

Awareness and use of travel plan measures remains low.

The survey asked if staff and students were aware of the travel plan measures that are in place to support sustainable travel behaviour, and if they were if they had used them. The staff travel loan and bike parking has the highest level of awareness, but the highest usage is the Shuttle Bus. The Bike Buddies scheme has the lowest level of awareness.

Awareness and use of the measures needs to improve if we are to continue to move towards a more sustainable mode share.

Carbon footprint for business travel

It is estimated that staff and student business travel has a carbon footprint of 21,526 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

For the first time the 2010 survey included questions which were designed to provide data to enable a broad estimate to be made of the Carbon Footprint associated with business travel. The questions determined the distance and frequency of travel, and the modes of transport used.

This estimate is contributing to the development of a Business Travel Policy and Climate Action Plan which will include targets to reduce the Carbon Footprint by reducing the need to travel and favouring low carbon transport if travel is necessary.

Staff and student feedback

The survey welcomed comments and feedback from staff and students.

Many comments were received, which tended to fall into a number of themes. The most common are summarised:

Concerns about the safety of cycling in the city

  • “I would cycle more and further if Edinburgh Council provided better on road cycling protection and signage”
  • “Better cycle lanes up to Kings Buildings to encourage people to cycle . It's a bit scary cycling to KB at the moment with all the traffic and very patchy cycle lanes and none up Black ford hill at all.”
  • “Having some sort of cycle path between the main campus and Kings Buildings would be useful”

In response to lobbying from EUSA, the City of Edinburgh Council are drawing up plans to create a cycle corridor in between the George Square area and King’s Buildings. The Council will be consulting on the plans very soon and it is anticipated the corridor will be in place during summer 2011.

Public transport provision

  • “My wife (who also works in the University) and I are daily users of the Lothian Bus 67 service and very much hope it continues in service.”
  • “Poor bus service only one bus available from home to University which can be sporadic at times.”
  • “A bus every 10 mins from outside Kings Buildings to Centre of Town all year round not just during term time.”

The University works closely with Lothian Buses to seek to improve public transport provision to and between campuses. Most notably this led to the provision of Service 67, with the support of the University.

Concerns about the cost of public transport

  • “A service providing discounted bus passes for those who need to regularly use the bus for their studies would be useful”

Support for transport policies

  • “I have changed my habits in the past 10 years from a mostly regular driver to an almost exclusive cyclist and occasional public transport user. This has mostly been the result of my own choices but the University\'s encouragement of bike use, particularly the secure bike store outside our building, has been helpful in making this change.”

Full report

The full report of the 2010 travel survey is available to download as a Pdf document.