The application of travel demand management initiatives within a university setting

Kathryn G Logan* (Corresponding Author), John D Nelson, Christopher Osbeck, James D Chapman, Astley Hastings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


A biennial transport survey at the University of Aberdeen was analysed over a ten-year period to better understand the influence of travel demand management (TDM) initiatives on the commuting habits of staff and students. Campus-based TDM initiatives such as a free inter-campus shuttle bus, charged parking permits and cycle infrastructure was introduced to encourage sustainable travel and to move away from single occupancy car journeys. To consider the impacts of TDM initiatives on staff and student travel choice, an index representing low emissions travel was created using estimated carbon intensity of travel options. Survey data was assessed across age categories, year, commuter travel distance, gender and status (staff or student) to enable discussion of how TDM implementations may have influenced clean travel choice across the survey periods. Outcomes indicated that TDM initiatives did not in themselves influence a substantial shift to clean transport options. A low carbon travel choice index was developed and median comparisons indicated that students travelled on average more by lower emissions transport methods, predominantly walking or cycling, than staff and showed greater variation across the full range of travel options. Staff exhibited significantly lower median index values. This is thought to be related to socio-economic factors between the groups combining with housing opportunities and residential choices over time. While TDM initiatives should be encouraged at institutions such as universities and hospitals, single institutions are unlikely to see a substantial transition to sustainable travel if wider societal infrastructure is not in place to enable people to be habituated to choosing sustainable options. Findings suggest that regional coordination is required for TDM to be societally accepted and successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1426-1439
Number of pages14
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Issue number4
Early online date4 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

This research was undertaken as part of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) research programme under the ADdressing Valuation of Energy and Nature Together (ADVENT) project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NE/M019691/1) United Kingdom. Funding was also received from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

The authors would like to thank Dr Kate Pangbourne, The University of Leeds, for their detailed and constructive feedback on this paper. The authors would also like to acknowledge Dr Alex Douglas for their input in the methodology.


  • commuter behaviour
  • Travel demand management
  • university travel


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