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Sustainable travel

We have fantastic links via public transport, which makes sustainable travel between campuses and around the local area incredibly easy.

Brake, the road safety charity across Britain, reports that 67% of commuting trips are made by car and 46% of all trips are less than 2 miles. 2% of commuting trips are bicycle journeys and 9% made by public transport.

The major environmental consequences of so many journeys being made by car include carbon emissions, air quality and noise pollution. 21% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from transport.

The Department for Transport predicts that the proportion of traffic travelling in very congested conditions will more than double by 2035, further increasing emissions.

The following information details the transport options available to everyone who studies and/or works at the University.



Cycling is better for you than driving or getting public transport. It can help you lose weight, reduce stress and improve fitness. Cycling into University is an easy way to include exercise in your daily life.

Cycling into the University at Sunderland

If you plan to cycle into the University there are a number of secure cycle storage facilities available across both Sunderland campuses.

If you would like further information on cycle parking and security facilities in Sunderland please see: Cycle information and Security Safety

Or contact the Security Duty Managers at securitydutymanagers@sunderland.ac.uk or 0191 515 2028.

Cycling into the University at London

If you plan to cycle into the University there is a secure cycle storage area available within the building for staff.

Students who cycle into the University can find storage facilities at South Quay DLR station.

Plan your cycling route

Cyclestreets  – this allows you to plan your cycling journey, giving you a choice of routes (where applicable). It will calculate your journey time, distance, calories burned and the amount of CO2 avoided by choosing to cycle over using a car.

An example in Sunderland is shown below;

Edinburgh Building to Reg Vardy

Fastest route: 10 mins

Distance: 1.5 miles

Calories 34kcal

CO2 avoided: 0.40kg

Cycle paths

Details of cycle paths in Sunderland can be found here

Details of cycle routes in London can be found here

Tips when cycling;

  • Wear a helmet
  • Use lights and reflectors to ensure that you are clearly visible
  • Do not use headphones or a mobile when cycling
  • Obey traffic lights and road signals
  • Only ride on pavements marked for cycling

Recyke y’bike - is a North East charity that takes in used bikes from members of the public. Over 2000 bikes are donated each year. These bikes are refurbished by a team of qualified staff and volunteers and sold for charity. If you have a bike that you would like to donate or wish to buy a refurbished bike please click on the link for further details.

London cycling campaign lists London bike recycling schemes where you can donate and/or purchase second-hand bikes. Please click on the link for further details.

FACT: An 80kg person will burn more than 650 calories riding a bike for an hour.



Walking is not only free but is also good for you and the environment. Walking into the University is an easy way to build some exercise into your day.

Tips for walking;

  • Wear a good pair of shoes
  • Use well-lit routes
  • Avoid walking on the road
  • Carry a personal alarm for safety
  • Encourage a friend to walk with you

Walking in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council has information on walks in Sunderland. Click on the link for further details.

Walking in London

London Council has information on walking in London. Click on the link for further details.

FACT: Walking at 3mph for 30 minutes, a 60kg person will burn 99 calories.


Public Transport

Public transport use can sometimes take longer than cycling or walking but is a much better option than driving. If you can, try and walk or cycle into University.

Staff and students can travel to the University campus via bus, train, Metro (Sunderland) or London Underground.

Traveline is a site providing local public transport information and timetables. There is a specific route planner available where you can work out how to get from A to B using public transport.

FACT: CO2 emissions per train/bus passenger are on average 6-8 times lower than car travel.



We encourage staff/students who can travel together to do so. This not only reduces car emissions but also general costs of running a car.  If you would like further information please click on the following link: Liftshare

FACT: Currently, the average car occupancy is 1.58 persons per car. If that increased by 50% to 2.37 people, it would lead to a fall in traffic of a third.

How to drive sustainably

If you need to drive, there are methods to drive in a more environmentally friendly way;

  • Keep your tyres properly inflated – they are safer, will last longer and can improve your petrol mileage by >3%
  • Plan ahead – for the shortest, most petrol-saving itinerary
  • Stay below 70mph – travelling above this speed can use up 25% more fuel, making driving considerably more expensive
  • Try to avoid road rage – aggressive driving wastes petrol and lowers petrol mileage
  • Use cruise control while on the motorway, as this can save petrol
  • Service your car regularly – this maintains engine efficiency
  • Using the correct specification of engine oil
  • Travel light and remove excess weight
  • Cold starts use more fuel
  • Drive smoothly – accelerate gently and look ahead to try and prevent unnecessary braking
  • Change up the gears earlier – when the engine speed is at ~2000rpm in a diesel car and ~2500rpm in a petrol car
  • Take off roof racks – this reduces drag
  • Don’t idle the engine – an idle vehicle gives of 80% more pollution than one that’s moving.


Other options

We can all do our part to encourage sustainable and active travel by making a simple pledge to leave the car at home, or choose not to drive at all, and make journeys by foot, bike or public transport whenever possible.

If you do need to use a car to get to the University, more sustainable options are available for getting around Sunderland campus;

Campus/SU bus – The bus service allows staff and students to travel between both Sunderland campuses. For further information, including the bus timetable please click on the following link: Bus information

Co-wheels car club – is available to staff and students, though restrictions apply to students.  For further details please click on the following link: Co-wheels scheme.


Recording your activity

The University MyWellness app can be used to record your walk or cycle either into the University or when travelling between Sunderland campuses.