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Our Travel Plan

The University is serious about reducing it's environmental impact. Our Travel Plan will set targets to reduce the carbon impact of travel, contributing to the broader sustainability objectives of the University.


Image of Vice Chancellor David Bell

We are committed through the strategic plan and the environmental sustainability plan 2025 to reducing the carbon we generate through the day-to-day operation of the organisation.

The Travel Plan covers the period 2023-2028 and aims to build on our successes to date. It also commits us to a range of additional measures to ensure our staff and students can travel in the most sustainable way possible.

Sir David Bell KCB DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Why do we need a new travel plan?

The University first developed a Travel Plan for its Sunderland campuses in 2010. Since then, there has been significant investment to support sustainable travel choices like dedicated bus services, cycle storage and improved pedestrian accessibility across our Sunderland campuses. For that reason, we have developed a new approach to travel planning for the University.

Read our Outline Travel Plan here.


What are our policies?

The information below demonstrates how our travel plan links into the priority areas set out in Sunderland City Council’s Low Carbon Framework and Action Plan.

Through engagement activity and the actions within this Travel Plan, we will ensure students, staff and visitors alike are made aware of their travel options and support available.

We will align this Travel Plan with our agile working policy to encourage use of sustainable travel no matter how many days people are travelling to/from our campuses.

We will monitor and manage demand for Electric (EV) charging infrastructure as a ‘destination charging’ location, considering suitable business models to deliver additional charging infrastructure as and when user demand requires us to do so.

Through our Environmental Sustainability Plan 2025, we will increase the proportion of renewable energy generation which supply our EV charge points.

The full range of measures within our Travel Plan align with this overarching priority to encourage greater sustainable transport use to/from our Sunderland campuses.

Through appointment of a dedicated Travel Plan Coordinator, we will engage and collaborate with the city and other key stakeholders to work towards environmental sustainability targets.

We will introduce tool stations at key locations enabling cyclists to make minor repairs (e.g. punctures), helping minimise the need for new parts.

What are our challenges? 

We face a balancing act in seeking to reduce single occupancy car travel whilst ensuring the travel needs of staff and students are met. We fully understand our Travel Plan needs to reflect the varying travel requirements for everyone. We want to strike the right balance between recognising the need for travel by car and to support sustainable travel options.

We understand for some journeys – including commuting to and from the University – car travel offers the only realistic option. Our approach is, therefore, not intended to be anti-car, but rather to promote choice and raise awareness of the journey options available, with a view to encouraging behavioural change, where appropriate.


What are our aims?

Through the Travel Plan, the University will aim to:


What are our targets?

Our core target is to reduce travel-related CO2e emissions by 4% per year by 2028. This will result in a 19% overall reduction in our emissions over the next five years and make a significant contribution towards the Sunderland Low Carbon Framework aims. 

Our action based targets are to: