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University of Basel

Mobility

Basel SBB station forecourt and building
From Basel SBB station, many destinations throughout Europe can be reached quickly by train. The University of Basel relies on train travel to avoid short-haul flights. (Photo: © Shutterstock)

The University of Basel’s flight emissions were significantly lower in the past two years than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The first decentralized measures for reducing flight emissions in the faculties and departments were undertaken as part of the “less for more” project. Additionally, further lecture halls and meeting rooms were equipped with the necessary technology for hybrid teaching and virtual meetings, thus facilitating digital mobility.

“less for more” project off to a successful start

Icons of SDG 12.2 and 13.3
Contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/)

The “less for more” project has the goal of reducing emissions from air travel by 30% compared to the 2017–2019 average. In order to take into account the different cultures of subject areas in research and teaching, the Sustainability Office worked with each of the university units in 2021, to identify their own path to the targeted reduction. Many units decided, for example, that work trips that can be completed by train in less than eight hours should be made by train. Examples of other measures include smaller conference delegations, awareness-raising and the increased use of virtual meetings for appointments or examinations. Managers of faculties and departments were provided with access to an online dashboard for monitoring the annual emissions.

Infrastructure for digital mobility

While business travel decreased considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of virtual means of communication increased. With the large-scale return of the possibility of in-person events for both staff and students in 2022, Zoom software use declined by about 70% compared to 2021. Spurred on by the challenges of the pandemic, technical equipment for hybrid teaching was installed in several rooms of the Kollegienhaus (main building). This included cameras, microphones and measures for improved acoustics. Multiple meeting rooms were equipped with mobile technology for virtual meetings, such as 360-degree webcams. 

E-bikes for the Facilities department

Several people with e-bikes and a bike trailer in front of the entrance to the Kollegienhaus
The Facilities team at the Petersplatz and Münchenstein sites can use e-bikes for trips between the approximately 50 properties. (Photo: © University of Basel, Evelyne Marty)

Since 2021, three e-bikes have been available for the University of Basel Facilities department to use for short trips and transporting small loads. The e-bikes provide a quick and lower-cost alternative to trips via taxi or public transportation and are popular among the staff. For transporting loads that do not fit in the bicycle baskets, a bicycle trailer with attachable aluminum box is also available.

Goals & actions

goals 2023/2024
actions
responsible unit
goals 2023/2024

Reduce flight-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared with 2017–2019 baseline

actions

Implement resolved steps of the “less for more” flight travel project, continue to monitor fight data, implement awareness-raising steps and support for decentralized units

responsible unit

Sustainability Office                          

Accounting Department     

All Departments, Faculties and Institutes

goals 2023/2024

Improve infrastructure and support for virtual meetings

actions

Implement a preliminary project to assess the financial framework and organizational structure needed for improved equipment, maintenance and support of rooms for virtual meetings at the University of Basel

responsible unit

Educational Technologies

IT Services

Facilities

goals 2021/2022
completed actions
responsible unit
goals 2021/2022

Improve infrastructure and support for virtual meetings

completed actions

Set up several classrooms in the Kollegienhaus (main building) with the necessary technical equipment for virtual meetings

responsible unit

Facilities

Project management & Engineering

goals 2021/2022

Improve data on mobility-related greenhouse gas emissions

completed actions

Record business travel-related emissions broken down by means of transport (air, rail, car) from 2021

responsible unit

Accounting Department

Sustainability Office

Footnotes
Footnotes

[1] Calculations based on population data from the canton Stadt Basel (Kanton Basel-Stadt) and 10.8 kg CO2-eq pro retour trip (TGV-Lyria)

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