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Arts University Bournemouth Promotes Green Travel for a Zero Carbon Future

Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) are planning for a zero-carbon future.  Becoming partners in the south east Dorset Transforming Cities Fund project is an important part of that.  James Jackson, AUB Senior Campus Services Officer and Kamila Dowgiert, the Students' Union Vice-President 2020-2021, explain why that is. 

Student Cyclists sml

The development of sustainable transport systems provides a unique opportunity to limit the unwanted environmental, social and health impacts from travel. Limiting greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from vehicles, alongside the particulates that damage people’s lungs, whilst promoting the physical and mental health benefits of active travel has to be a priority now and in the future. The pandemic has made many people re-evaluate their working and commuting arrangements (such as asking for the flexibility to work from home) but also they are focusing on their ability to commute safely using sustainable transport rather than the car and even promoting future urban environment concepts such as the 15-min city (ie the abilty to work and find most necesary facilities and resources for life within 15 minutes of your home).

Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) was delighted to be given the opportunity to work with BCP and Dorset councils as part of the Transforming Cities Fund scheme. AUB’s main campus, located between the boundaries of Bournemouth and Poole, has between 3,500 and 4,000 full-time students and around 350-400 full-time staff. Emissions from commuting are one of the main contributors to our carbon footprint and finding innovative sustainable solutions to lower this impact will be key to our ultimate aim of carbon neutrality.

AUB is a TEF Gold university with specialist state-of-the-art facilities and industry leading teaching staff. We have new accommodation halls on campus but also in Bournemouth town centre and we are of course aware that this generates a significant amount of movement between Bournemouth town centre (also Charminster and Winton) and the AUB campus. Our new Travel Plan is due for completion in 2021 and will complement our Sustainability Plan that is currently being worked on.

The TCF scheme provides a great opportunity to work with partners to improve the travel infrastructure that affects both university students and the local community. AUB works with SouthCoast buses (Unibus), Beryl Bikes, and Cyclescheme and is starting to transition our fleet vehicles to electric.

Travel is a key issue for our student population so we include their views in our consultations and plans.  Kamila Dowgiert, our outgoing Students' Union Vice-President describes the views of the student body:

“In the world we live in today, students are becoming increasingly aware of the affects of climate change and are more drawn to take on actions, raise awareness and make sustainable choices. Many students would like to walk and cycle on routes to campus full of greenery. Unfortunately, there are some routes students have to take (whether that’s a route home or to their car) that lack lighting and would generally benefit from increased personal and route safety measures.

“As a specialist arts university, many students have to carry heavy equipment to their studies, and unfortunately due to limited parking it’s quite hard for them to do that when walking or cycling, so buses are probably one of the most common options. Alternatively, students walk, take the bus, or cycle as most routes leading to campus seem safe, whilst a few also drive.

“I’d say the main factors that influence students’ decisions on travel are not just money, though that is of course important, but also safety and efficiency. It’s really important to students that they live in a sustainable town and are able to travel to university in a safe and sustainable way.”