20.2 Sustainable Campus Commuting Management at Aalborg University

Søren Løkke , Planning and Development, Aalborg University, Aalborg Ø, Denmark
David Christensen , Planning and Development, Aalborg University, Aalborg Ø, Denmark
Petter Næss , Planning and Development, Aalborg University, Aalborg Ø, Denmark
Sustainable Campus Commuting Management at Aalborg University
Greenhouse-gas Accounting, Environmental Management, Public-Private Partnership, Aalborg, Development of environmental reporting, Car-pooling; mobility mapping, mobility management, commuter planning.
One of the major environmental impacts relating to  university activities is transportation, both as regards work-related travel tied with conference trips, etc. as well as daily commuting to and from the university. At Aalborg University we have examined this problem complex from various perspectives. Among others, an environmental Input/Output assessment has been carried out on university-related activities based on purchasing information, and it is clear from this assessment, and the University Green Account, that measured in terms of contribution to climate change, transportation is one of the major contributing activities. What is not counted for in the assessment, however, is the daily work-related transportation patterns to and from the university, also called commuting. The natural reason that commuting hitherto has not been included in the environmental assessment of the university’s activities is that this transportation is not captured in the university’s direct purchases. For the same reason, commuting is not included as an obligatory component in the standard accounting methods for greenhouse gas emission accounting (see e.g. ISO 14064-1, BS-PAS 2050), but rather as an optional indirect Scope 3 emission that most often is not accounted for.
Most existing assessments of commuting in relation to other university sites focus on transport patterns among students and with special attention to the bicycling (see e.g. Conway et al. 2008, Christie 2007, Knuth et al. 2007, Lemos et al. 2006, Tolley 1996).
In the paper we discuss how Aalborg University and surrounding actors, not least Aalborg Municipality, can take supportive action and structural responsibility for transport-related emissions. The core of the paper is the presentation of a quantitative assessment of transportation patterns and related emissions, assessments that ultimately can be used to reduce these contributions at both the university level, e.g. within the scope of campus environmental management activities, as well as actions falling within the domain of Aalborg Municipality in partnership with the university. This assessment gives the empirical basis to discuss a number of possible interpretations of the current private (non-business) mobility patterns, and thereby point at possibilities for reducing the environmental impact originating from commuting transport in a constructive and co-operative manner.
The range of objectives focus on reduced emissions from transport and include advancing bicycle transport, increasing the use of public transportation, car-pooling, working from home, and transport-reducing ICT’s. Possible means for achieving this may include altered parking-payment systems, enhanced services and infrastructure for non-motorized transportation, an accommodated public transportation structure, planning of students’ accommodation improved facilities for working form home, etc.
The Survey
The survey is structured as a combined web-based and physical questionnaire (due to some technical-administrative employee groupings not having access to emailing services), and is targeted at all employees and students related to an Aalborg University campus (there are three campus areas in Aalborg, Esbjerg and Copenhagen respectively, of which Aalborg is the biggest with several addresses). However, the solutions-oriented discussionwill focus on the Aalborg campuses, and will have less focus on campus in Esbjerg and Copenhagen as it is in Aalborg that the university has the best potential for collaborating with public authorities on the issue. The survey is designed is to support the following central questions:
  • Background information: Knowledge of types of households, income, affiliation with Aalborg University, distance to work (study) are central questions.
  • Volume of commuting transport: A central purpose of the survey is to establish an estimate of commuting-related emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and here the transport distance together with mode of transport are the key figures.
  • Categories of transport distances: In an anonymised form, the data will form the basis for a quantitative description of transport patterns, which is an important precondition for the development of strategies to improve performance.
  • Use and availability of cars for commuting purposes.
  • Transport and working/studying practice: The knowledge of modes of transport partly feed into the GHG assessment, and the actual practises form the prime basis for assessing potentials and barriers for improving the environmental performance related to commuting transport related to Aalborg University.
  • Normative attitudes towards transportation: This part of the questionnaire focuses on the normative preferences and rationales in transportation choices, and supports the analysis of potentials and barriers for improving the environmental performance related to commuting transport.
The Assessment
The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings of the survey. A central issue is how commuting activities can be integrated into or related to an environmental management system that is on its way to become established at Aalborg University. Furthermore, it is discussed how initiatives to improve performance can be accomplished from a governance perspective, including public-private partnerships. Finally the discussion will include how participatory processes can be included to reach solutions that both are sustainable and workable.



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