Green travel

We are currently in the process of reviewing past travel targets as well as constructing a new travel plan, which will incorporate staff and student commuting, and business travel. See the University of Plymouth Travel Plan 2017.

For daily commuting, 63 per cent of staff and 88 per cent of non-halls students travel sustainably to University by bike, foot or public transport.

Our commitment

We're minimising the environmental impact from transport associated with the University. How? Through the promotion of sustainable travel options for staff, students and our suppliers. Plus, more use of video conferencing and other technology enabled solutions to facilitate virtual meetings.

We will:

  • Encourage staff and student commuting by walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.
  • Promote incentives to reduce the proportion of single occupancy car drivers for staff and students not living in University accommodation.
  • Monitor and review business travel annually. 
  • Work to reduce the need for business travel through video conferencing and other smarter working practices. 
  • Reduce average business travel to below 0.28gCO2e per mile by 2020. 
  • Monitor student and staff commuting emissions compared to a 2016-17 baseline of 641 KgCO2e per staff member, and 202 KgCO2e per student. 

Our performance:

  • In 2016-17, 63 per cent of staff and 88 per cent of students travelled sustainably to campus (by walking, cycling or public transport).
  • 22 per cent of staff and 56 per cent students commuted by walking in 2016-17, a 3 per cent and 9 per cent increase retrospectively from 2015-16.
  • In 2016-17, 8 per cent of staff and 5 per cent of students cycled, an increase of 3 percent from 2015-16. 
  • The proportion of staff taking public transport to university increased by 2 per cent in 2016-17 to 33 per cent; however, students taking pubic transport decreased by 7 per cent in 2016-17. Potentially due to the increase in numbers walking and cycling. 
  • 22 per cent of staff and 8 per cent of students travelled by car in 2016-17 decreasing by 7 per cent and 3 percent retrospectively from 2015-16. 
  • From 2017, we will be reviewing and monitoring University business travel against a baseline of 0.28gCO2e per mile.
  • We have started to gather data for video conferencing usage, over a 180 day period in 2017 there were 1,334 video conferencing calls and 2,842 in 2018.

Travel information

For information on how you can access travel schemes supported by the University, please see our Green Travel pages on the intranet (log-in required), and also our University Travel Plan. Contact information for the University Bicycle User Group is also on these pages.

We provide staff incentives such as subsidised tickets for the local Park and Ride schemes, available for purchase from the main reception, Roland Levinsky Building, and offer the Cycle to Work Scheme to save on the cost of a purchasing a bike.

How we're promoting green travel

Since our main campus is located in the city centre, and we have a student and staff population of nearly 30,000, travel and transport is an important issue – one that impacts the local residential community. We have targets to reduce the proportion of staff and students driving to university, increasing the proportion that cycles, walks and uses public transport. We support this with a strict parking policy on campus to fit with the city centre location. 

Cycling is a big success for us; 8 per cent of our staff commute to University by bike, beating the UK average of 2.8 per cent per cent of employee cyclists – very impressive given the Devon hills. To support cycling we offer 318 bicycle parking spaces on campus, which is an increase of 132 spaces since 2007. We offer the cycle to work scheme for access to new bikes and equipment as well as providing lockers for rent. We also have a Bicycle User Group (BUG), which is run by volunteering staff members to promote and campaign for cycling facilities on behalf of the staff.

We run regular cycling campaigns on campus for staff and students, including bike doctor workshops, led rides, cycle maintenance courses and the sale of second hand bikes. For more information on led rides, visit the UPSU MGA Social pages. Throughout the year we promote free workshops offered in the city by Bike Space, as well as running cycling events. Keep an eye on the University's What's On page. We also offer lockers for cyclists and access to showers within the gym for a small fee for the year, contact Recreation for more details.

In 2013, we opened the University of Plymouth Car Share group to students and staff through This helps provide a more trusted lift share group with more participants. It's easy to use: register as a user; mark University of Plymouth as your employer; and then you can register your journey within the staff and student community to find a lift share. Registered car share drivers are given preferential treatment for car parking spaces over single occupancy car drivers on campus. 

Ride Social with UPSU

Ride Social is an initiative by British Cycling to provide a social cycling networking site, where you can find local rides and create and share routes. In conjunction with UPSU, the Motivate Generate Activate project has trained ten people to become ride leaders, so they can lead rides for students and engage more students in cycling across the city.

To find out more and get involved visit the letsride website.