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Why Bournemouth University is a TCF Partner

Bournemouth University (BU) are partners in the South East Dorset Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme.  Lauren Duff, Travel & Transport Manager for BU tells us why. 

Lauren Duff, Travel & Transport Manager – Bournemouth UniversityAs the Travel and Transport Manager for Bournemouth University, my job is to ensure that 18000 students and 1800 staff have safe, accessible, and sustainable travel options to get to the university campus sites. The university population is equivalent to that of a small town and therefore commuter travel by students, staff and visitors makes a significant contribution to the university’s carbon footprint.  

Bournemouth University has a well-established organisational Travel Plan, which supports and encourages our students, staff and visitors to make sustainable travel choices when visiting our campuses.  It aims to address our local environmental impact by reducing noise and air pollution as well as easing road congestion. It also seeks to reduce our contribution to global climate change by reducing our Green House Gas emissions. 

The University has recently launched its Climate and Ecological Crisis Action Plan, which outlines how we intend to achieve net zero emissions by 2030/31 across all of our activities (including transport). One of the key changes that our students, staff and visitors can adopt, to help the university achieve its net zero carbon target, is to swap journeys made by car to sustainable travel modes such as walking, cycling or using the regular public transport options available. 

Encouraging students and staff to change their travel behaviour away from private car journeys to sustainable travel is a challenge. Our Travel Plan promotes a hierarchy of travel options, with the most sustainable, zero emissions options at the top (i.e. avoiding unnecessary travel, walking, cycling, public transport) and private car journeys at the bottom of the list.

BU Travel Plan - Hierarchy of sustainable transport modes

The plan does however recognise that not all our population will be able to walk, cycle or use public transport due to personal circumstances or the rural nature of Dorset outside of the conurbation but there are certainly many who can change. 

To support staff and students in changing their travel behaviours, the University offers a raft of initiatives aimed at removing perceived ‘barriers’ to sustainable travel. These include providing secure cycle storage and end-of-trip shower and changing facilities; running free monthly bike servicing; access to the HMRC’s salary sacrifice Cycle to Work scheme for staff; a student long term bike loan scheme;  and discounts on the Beryl Bike hire scheme.  As well as this, the university also works with local bus service providers to run the UNIBUS public bus network, consisting of 4 bus routes to/from our campus sites.

Despite these various initiatives, the feedback received from staff and students through our annual travel surveys is that a perceived safety risk is still the biggest barrier to active travel and this is linked to a lack of high quality and safe infrastructure.  With the construction of new sustainable travel routes and safer active travel infrastructure, the South East Dorset TCF programme, will be of huge benefit to the university population and is why we are active partners in the scheme.

The delivery of the TCF programme will directly help to address these barriers for many of our students and staff. Specifically, the Bournemouth to Ferndown TCF corridor will provide a direct link between the Bournemouth town centre and our BU Talbot Campus and Chapel Gate sports centre sites and will greatly improve the sustainable travel choices between these locations.

The TCF Programme is laying the foundations and setting the standard for a strategic network of priority cycling and walking routes across the conurbation. The provision of infrastructure, which is greener, healthier, safer, continuous and better-connected will not only compliment the existing BU Travel Plan and our aspirations to be carbon net zero by 2030/31 but will benefit local residents and visitors across the SE Dorset area. We are excited to see this fantastic programme of works commence and develop in the future.