Did you know: As the second largest commuter destination in Metro Vancouver, greenhouse gas emissions from UBC-related travel -- including commuting to and from campus and business air travel -- account for nearly one and a half times the emissions from UBC's buildings and energy supply combined?
UBC has set a target to reduce business air travel emissions by 50% by 2030 from 2019 pre-COVID-19 levels, in alignment with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
By 2040, UBC also aims to have two-thirds of all trips to and from campus made by biking, walking, rolling or taking transit. These sustainable alternatives often come with the co-benefits of being healthier, cleaner and cheaper travel choices.
Top Tips for traveling sustainably
For those for whom sustainable transportation is an option, there are plenty of flexible alternatives to choose from to swap your ride while commuting or running errands.
UBC recognizes that the community’s ability to choose to sustainable modes of transportation, or to reduce travel through virtual alternatives, may be constrained by lack of privilege, inequality and other barriers. The university is focusing institutional efforts to support opportunities for significant emissions reductions, such as improving sustainable transportation infrastructure, continuing to advocate strongly and plan for a rapid transit link from Arbutus to UBC, and exploring systemic barriers and opportunities to reducing air travel emissions between UBC campuses and across the higher education ecosystem.
Considering Biking To And Around Campus? Check Out Our Resources and Programs
- Cycling resources: UBC’s comprehensive cycling resources and programs can support you in biking to and on campus. Let your friends and colleagues know about UBC’s end-of-trip facilities, which include secure bike lockers and free shared secure bike cages.
Bike Sharing Programs:
- Try out Bike Share: UBC now has several bike share options. Take a spin around campus on Dropbike, UBC’s new campus bike share program. Learn about UBC discounts for Mobi, the City of Vancouver bikeshare. Or start your own departmental bike share program.
- New to cycling? Bike with others to increase your own comfort level: Consider forming a "bikepool" group of friends, colleagues, or fellow building users with similar commute schedules who may share part of your bike route. Biking together can be fun, increase your sense of safety and visibility, and can also make it easier to find new routes and trails that others may know.
- Join a Bike to Work Week team: UBC is consistently a top winner in the regional bi-annual Bike to Work Week competition. Encourage your colleagues to sign up for both summer and winter Bike to Work Week. Join an established department team, or create a new team!
Carpooling and Carsharing
Carpooling options: Promote car or vanpooling as an alternative to SOV trips. If your department doesn’t have a carpool already, start one. Be sure to tell your colleagues about carpool incentives including Transferable Parking passes and the Emergency Ride Home program.
Car Share options: Try out car share options. Dedicated spaces are located across campus for Modo and Evo car share vehicles.
Go Virtual to Reduce Commuting and Business Air Travel
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown what is possible for alternatives to in-person meeting, learning and teaching. Communication technology platforms and solutions continue to grow and evolve at a rapid pace, and over the coming years, UBC will be leading a coordinated approach, with accompanying resources, to addressing barriers and opportunities to air travel reduction.
For those who have the option, virtual alternatives can not only help to reduce transportation emissions, they can also often be the more accessible, afforable and equitable option, particularly when all attendees are patching in virtually. Help us continue the momentum around this sustainable systems shift initiated during the pandemic:
Rethink commuting: Explore if telecommuting, flexwork or hybrid work are options for your department and your colleagues. Human Resources has released a remote work program and guidelines for those for whom remote work is possible.
Look for local conferences: Promote and prioritize participation in local, regional or hybrid conferences that do not require air travel.
Support systemic change: When planning and hosting a meeting, workshop or conference, offer an equal-opportunity option of attending or speaking virtually, and advocate for virtual or hybrid attendance opportunities when participation in events by other organizations/departments.
Bundle essential travel: UBC acknowledges the dependence upon air travel for researchers to carry out certain types of research and scholarly projects. If air travel is essential, consider "trip bundling": scheduling all other relevant or peripheral meetings, learnings and research around one air flight, to reduce the overall number of trips made to the destination over time.
UBC is actively expanding its Sustainable Travel and Transportation programs in the immediate future, and more support, resources, programs and initiatives will continue to be developed in this space and shared with the UBC community.