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High-speed travel by train

The UG’s sustainable business travel policy
02 December 2019

In 2019, the UG implemented a policy on foreign travel. There was less travel in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but now, travel movements are increasing again. To work on decreasing the CO2 emissions of the University, the current policy will be expanded upon as from 1 January 2023. For this reason, in September 2022, the Board of the University again established the travel policy on foreign travel. Staff members will be required to travel by train for longer distances as well, instead of air travel.

What does the new policy entail?

Staff members should travel by train, instead of plane for all foreign business trips that are booked after 1 January 2023 if:

  • The destination is less than 800 km away from Groningen, and/or;
  • The travel time by train is less than 9 hours.

The UG wants to encourage staff members to make sustainable choices. You should therefore also consider whether travelling is necessary or whether a video conference or an online meeting will suffice.

Why are we doing this?

The UG is working hard to make its organization and business operations sustainable. One of the sustainability ambitions is to emit 30% less CO2 in 2026 in comparison to 2019. To achieve this, the CO2 emission from air travel also needs to be reduced by 30%. Considering that most foreign travel takes place within Europe (about 70%), there is much to be gained in this respect. It is therefore necessary to reduce flying to destinations that are relatively nearby. Luckily, the train is often a good alternative!

For example: Groningen – Bordeaux

The distance between Groningen and Bordeaux is 1,232 km. It takes 8 hours and 56 minutes to travel by train to Bordeaux, and you will emit about 2 kg of CO2. The same journey by plane emits about 396 kg of CO2. That is a huge difference, and travelling by plane is often not much quicker —you first have to go by car or train to the airport, and you have to be there way ahead of time. This also applies to this example. In this scenario, taking the plane is only 1.5 hours faster, including the transfer from the airport.

A new map and decision tree for staff members will become available in the new year. The map will show train times, distances, and CO2 emissions. The decision tree should make it easier to decide whether you have to travel by train or whether you are allowed to take the plane. The Facility Portal, on which you book your trips as a staff member, will of course also be updated as from January, in line with the extended policy.

The policy on foreign travel is part of the overarching strategy in the area of sustainable mobility of the University.

Travel policy map
The old map
Last modified:13 January 2023 09.47 a.m.
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