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Environment and Energy

 

Many thanks to those who have already sent in their questions and comments. If you have further questions, please email us.

Q. 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. 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. 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 travel@admin.cam.ac.uk

Q. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Q. What are the University’s plans for supporting the use of electric vehicles?

The University has 12 electric vehicle charging points (EVCP) across the estate for staff and visitors and 25 at Laundry Farm used by the Estate Management fleet. The total University fleet comprises around 130 vehicles; 22 of the Estate Management vehicles are EVs although others are being acquired as replacements fall. The commitments in the Transport Strategy include:

  • Where suitable vehicles are available the University will work towards 100% electrification of the vehicles in its fleet, including departmental vehicles, by 2030
  • The University will work towards electrification of the Universal bus service from July 2021
  • The University will  work towards the electrification of contractors’ vehicles by ensuring appropriate questions are included in the procurement process
  • The University will increase the number of EVCPs for staff use and develop a policy for their use, including charging for the electricity used.

Q. What is the University doing to make cycling safer?

The commitments made by the University in the Transport Strategy include:

  • Working towards the provision of appropriate segregated, direct and prioritised cycle routes on its sites, built to good practice standards, and connecting seamlessly with the wider cycle network and adjacent road network
  • Working with its partners in GCP and the Combined Authority to deliver improved cycling infrastructure that delivers more direct, attractive and safer cycling routes
  • Offering cycle training to staff and students at a variety of levels from learning to ride a bicycle to learning to navigate busier routes around Cambridge (since August 2019 10 members of staff and 76 students have taken up this training)
  • Providing advice and information to staff and students on safe winter cycling at events and through newsletters
  • Providing free reflective snap-bands and backpack covers at various student and staff events
  • Providing free Dr Bike sessions and cycle maintenance workshops for staff
  • Offering free cycle marking at Dr Bike sessions
  • Providing information and advice on locking bikes securely

Q. What is being done to improve cycling infrastructure?

The University is commencing a programme of cycling infrastructure improvement across the University estate. A site prioritisation exercise has been conducted which identified Downing, CBC and Sidgwick as the sites most in need of intervention. Over the next six months, comprehensive cycle infrastructure improvement plans will be prepared for these sites: consultation with site users will be undertaken to determine which interventions are most urgent and these will be prioritised. Following University approval, planning permission will be sought and implementation will begin.

A form for reporting transport problems is available to report poor quality infrastructure on the public highway and any other issues, including locations where there is inadequate cycle parking across the city. This is online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/reportaproblem. The transport team will liaise with local councils to address these issues.

Q. What is the University doing to reduce air travel?

The scope of the Transport Strategy is addressing travel to and around Cambridge for our staff, and visitor travel. Several members of staff have commented that the environmental impact of air travel undertaken as part of the University’s work should be addressed. The University has made clear its ambition to do so and this is being taken forward by the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee with the aim of producing a policy.

Q. What is the University doing about the policy for staff to use taxis for travel at work?

The University has an ambition to reduce the number of journeys made by taxi by staff for work purposes and instead encourage staff to travel using more sustainable modes.  A review of taxi usage will be carried out with pilot departments and this analysis will be used to determine initiatives and policy changes that could be implemented to reduce taxi use across the University.