Best in the West: Investment in green travel earns UWE regional prize

Issue date: 27 November 2015

Travelwest awards

A commitment to promoting green forms of travel has helped the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) land a regional award.

New measures introduced to encourage students and staff to change their commuting habits impressed a panel of judges at last night's Travelwest Business Travel Awards 2015, where UWE was named Employer of the Year.

The university's investment of £450,000 in the past year has persuaded more people to make journeys to its campuses by bike or bus rather than by car.

During 2015, two new cycle hubs with a combined capacity to securely store 225 bikes have been created at Frenchay campus and a cycle loan scheme has been launched offering students the chance to hire a high-quality bike for just £50 a year.

UWE's green travel credentials have been improved further by the introduction of electric bikes and electric cars for staff trips between campuses, along with electric vehicle charging points.

One of the most eye-catching recent additions has been a Travel Info Hub – a 40ft recycled shipping container – where bikes can be hired and students can visit for public transport advice.

UWE has seen a 22 per cent rise in bus travel to campus (approximately 2,000 daily trips during term time) and 27 per cent reduction in single occupancy car use (a drop of nearly 700 cars at peak times) since 2012.

The Employer of the Year title is bestowed upon companies or organisations which make an outstanding contribution to sustainable travel. Other shortlisted nominees were Ecosurety, Knowle West Media Centre, Wessex Garages and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.

James Morvan, Travel Engagement Project Officer at UWE, said: “It's fantastic to be recognised for the work we are doing in helping our staff and students travel in a greener and healthier way. This is the second time in five years we have won Employer of the Year at the awards and we have big ambitions to make it even easier to walk, cycle or use the bus.”

The university was also nominated in the Most Improved Workplace category at the annual awards, held on Thursday at the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare. Submissions for the awards were received from organisations and individuals across the West of England region: Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

UWE's investment in cycling provision – made possible with financial support from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund - comes as it aims to become one of the most bike-friendly universities in the UK. It has set an ambitious cycling aspiration for 2020, when it wants 20 per cent of all journeys to and from the university to be made by bike.

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