Sustainable travel

Taking our travel impact into account

We are a global university with an interconnected global community. Travel to, from and between our campuses is inevitable, and we need to balance the benefits with understanding and mitigating the climate impact. We are taking steps to better understand the travel profiles of our community members to help us develop measures to reduce the need for travel, where possible, and to reduce the impact of travel wherever we can.

Our Connected Hybrid Working principles have been refined to enable flexibility of working location, supporting the use of online meetings to reduce the need for travel, whether an overseas meeting or a local commute.

We are committed to developing approaches to manage and significantly reduce our travel impact and build on the gains in digital collaboration that have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic. A key element of this process will be enabling our students and staff to understand the climate impacts of their travel decisions and to support them in taking steps to reduce their own individual carbon footprints.

What considerations should be made when considering the environmental impact of travel away from campus?

  • Can travel be avoided through the use of online tools for virtual collaboration? This can be through the use of online meeting platforms and our purpose-built hybrid meeting facilities on our campuses.
  • If travel does take place, is train a viable option instead of plane travel? Can students and staff be supported in choosing travel options that are slower but less impactful upon the environment. We aim to develop a “travel hierarchy” to support these choices within our revised travel policies.
  • If plane travel is the only viable option, can the number of individuals travelling be reduced, for example by collaboration between teams so that one individual can meet the objectives of several teams within their trip?
  • Do options other than single-occupant, private car exist for you to use to travel to and from campus? Do you need information or support in accessing these options? 

Our work to better understand travel patterns and the travel needs of our community also relates to regular commuting to our campuses. New travel surveys will allow us to understand post-pandemic travel patterns, and introduce further targeted measures to support the most sustainable means of travel. The page links below show existing travel options for our Scottish campuses and our pilot interactive map which is in development for the Edinburgh Campus.

Travel Information