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Rapid Transit shelter along Dafoe Road.

Rapid Transit shelter on Fort Garry campus accessed by many UM community members.

Commuting towards sustainability

2023 Campus Commute Survey results now available

November 17, 2023 — 

Every second year, the Office of Sustainability, along with the Green Action Centre, collects data on how University of Manitoba (UM) community members travel to and from our campuses. This year’s Campus Commute Survey also included questions to better understand our greenhouse gas emissions from commuting and air travel and inform future strategies for the UM Climate Action Plan.

A total of 5,926 respondents completed the January 2023 survey. Of those, 74 per cent were students (undergraduate and graduate), 19 per cent staff and 7 per cent faculty members. 

Sustainable transportation options, such as transit and carpooling, continue to be heavily used, especially by students. In 2023, transit trips accounted for 37% of all commutes to UM campuses, while drive alone trips dropped to 27% of commutes, largely due to work and study from home options. Cycling trips appeared artificially low this year due to changes in survey methodology. 


Bar graph of transportation modes in 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2023 campus commute surveys.

 When it comes to carbon emissions, the average number of kilograms of CO2e per person has declined, compared to the previous three survey results, from 839 in 2016 to 620 in 2023.

Visual icons representing the decrease in annual per person CO2e from commuting between 2016 and 2023.

 Approximately a quarter of respondents indicated they anticipate a change in their mode of transportation in warmer months. Survey results showed biking to campus (55 per cent) and transit (32 per cent) were high among respondents indicating a switch to more sustainable modes of commuting in the warmer months.

Bar graph of anticipated transportation modes in summer months.

Respondents were also asked for feedback on potential improvements to UM’s current transportation systems that would effectively reduce GHG emissions. The top seven ranked actions include: 

  1. Part-time or full-time work/study from home options,
  2. Discounted parking for carpools and EV’s,
  3. Discounted transit pass,
  4. Expanded flexible vehicle parking options to allow greater daily mode flexibility,
  5. Daily incentives for arriving in an emissions-free way,
  6. Expanded housing options on or near campus,
  7. Increased prime parking spaces for carpoolers.

For the first time this year, respondents were also asked to share their perspectives on work-from-home options, electric vehicles, and air travel emissions reduction tactics.  

Working/studying from home ranked among the top three choices for commuting across faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, a majority of faculty and staff respondents expressed interest in continuing a flexible work from home option. 

Data and feedback from the 2023 survey responses continue to inform recommendations to better support UM students, staff and faculty and achieve UM’s new Climate Action Plan goals. This year’s twenty-eight recommendations include the following:

  • a subscription for staff and faculty to Winnipeg Transit’s EcoPass program
  • continuation of expanding secure bike parking
  • exploration of opportunities for car sharing on campus
  • expanded online transportation resources and tools
  • flexible parking and dynamic parking systems

Over the coming months, these survey results and recommendations will be reviewed by the newly formed Transportation Working Group, a group of UM staff who work on transportation initiatives tasked with developing and implementing a plan to reach emissions reduction targets set within UM’s Climate Action Plan. As an important part of this process, we will be inviting interested staff, faculty and students to participate in a Transportation Advisory Group, where interested stakeholders can share their ideas and feedback as we work towards our climate goals. Stay tuned for more information.  

Visit the Office of Sustainability to learn more about UM’s transportation, sustainability and climate goals and programs.


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