skip to content


Environment and Energy


Answers to questions on the delivery of the Transport Strategy commitments can be found below. If you have further questions, please email us.


Q. 1. How are bus services being improved?

Improvements have been made, including:

  • the Universal bus service connects Madingley Road Park & Ride with the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, via the West Cambridge site and the City centre; use of this service has doubled from approximately 350,000 journeys per year when the service started in 2016 to approximately 700,000 journeys per year in the academic year 2018/19
  • in 2018, in response to user demand, funding was approved to extend the operating hours, along with the addition of a Sunday service
  • the University works closely with the bus operator Whippet to look for opportunities to improve the service, including making improvements to the contactless payment system.

The University continues to work with bus operators to improve the bus connections from Park & Ride sites to the University sites, and will continue to work with its partners to bring in further improvements, including:

  • improved bus services from outlying areas to the city centre and to key University sites
  • the development of new public transport solutions, for example app-based demand-responsive services and improved public transport information at major hubs
  • seeking to improve value for money, for example, negotiating discounts and working with partners to deliver flexible ticketing options
  • where partnership working or the marketplace do not provide what is required, the University will consider securing services directly.

Workshops will be held during Michaelmas 2019 that will ask existing and potential users of the bus service what improvements to the bus service could be most useful and how the service could be extended to encourage more staff to travel using public transport.

Q. 2. How is cycling/walking infrastructure being improved?

  •  the University’s transport team is auditing the University’s estate to look for locations for installing new cycle parking, improving walking and cycling routes and active travel facilities such as cycle maintenance stations, showers, lockers and drying rooms
  • the transport team carries out site surveys to establish potential demand and where there is demand for pool bikes to help staff travel easier at work, we launch pool bike schemes in departments
  • a pool bike app has been launched in Greenwich House aiming to make booking pool bikes easier; once this system is fully operational, the app is planned to be extended to other sites
  • several initiatives are on offer to help support staff to cycle, including a Dr Bike service, cycle training and cycle maintenance workshops; events are bookable using the links to the right of this page.

Q. 3. What are Smart Panels?

The University’s transport team is installing smart panels in University buildings which provide real-time information on bus arrival times and information on levels of congestion at each site. The smart panels will help staff, students and visitors to be more informed about their travel choices. These are now available in the following locations:

Jeffrey Cheah Building (foyer), Cambridge Biomedical Campus

The Anne McLaren Building (foyer), Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Clinical Schools, (foyer), Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Lady Mitchell Hall, (foyer), Sidgwick Site

University Library (staff entrance), West Road

Institute for Manufacturing (foyer), West Cambridge

Cavendish Laboratory (Bragg building foyer), West Cambridge

Maxwell Centre (foyer), West Cambridge

Faculty of Education (foyer), Hills Road

Requests for smart panels in further locations should be made to

Q. 4. Why is the University reviewing the allocation criteria for car park spaces?

The University is reviewing the allocation criteria because car park spaces are a limited resource and because it wishes to ensure that permits are allocated to those who need them most, and that the allocation system is transparent and consistently applied.

Q. 5. When will the permit allocation system change?

Staff in the following car parks will see a change from September 2020 as they will be required to apply through the University’s current permit allocation process:

Department of Engineering Trumpington Street site

Department of Engineering The Whittle Lab

Department of Engineering The Schofield Centre

Institute of Astronomy, Kavli Institute

Institute of Astronomy, Observatory

Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Wilberforce Road

Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics (including the Statistical Laboratory)

Isaac Newton Institute

University Library

University Centre, Mill Lane

West and North West Cambridge Estates Syndicate, Gravel Hill Farm

From 2021, if the University approves new permit allocation criteria, it is likely that the permit application process for all centrally-managed car parks will open earlier and, depending on the detail of the agreed policy, applicants may need to provide more information to confirm their eligibility.

Q. 6. When and how will charging be considered?

Over the next two years the University will consider charging for parking because it wants to support sustainable modes of transport and to encourage staff to reduce the number of car journeys into Cambridge, in order to reduce the University’s environmental impact from travel and to improve congestion levels in the city.

The University understands that some members of staff will be concerned when they hear that charging may be introduced. No decision has yet been taken and work to evaluate charging for parking over the next two years will include understanding the needs of our members of staff, on issues including mobility, caring responsibilities, working patterns, and affordability. The input of institutions and Colleges will also be sought, to ensure their views inform the developing policy. If parking charges were to be recommended this would be communicated to members of staff with a minimum of one academic year’s notice.

Q. 7. How will the needs of staff be represented in the policy?

The University understands that some members of staff may be concerned that they may be affected by these changes. Understanding the diverse needs of members of staff will be an important area of work as the policy is developed. Staff members’ views and concerns will be sought and carefully considered as policies are developed. An Equalities Impact Assessment will be carried out. All blue badge holders will be guaranteed a permit

Anyone who is interested in remaining updated or in contributing to developing thinking is invited to add their name to the transport consultation group, so that they will receive updates and invitations to attend focus groups, and members of staff are encouraged to sign up to the consultation group to give their views.