Duke Transportation Overview

31% of Duke's total greenhouse gas emissions are transportation related

Air travel mileage and drive-alone commuting has increased over the past decade at Duke

Duke includes emissions from employee commuting, air travel, and Duke-owned fleet vehicles.

Transportation is central to the function of Duke University. Duke seeks to reduce the climate impact of transportation whether it is the buses on campus that shuttle people between East and West Campuses, daily employee commuting, or flights to conferences and research sites.

Over the past decade, emissions from employee commuting has increased by 46%, emissions from Duke-owned fleet vehicles has increased by 8%, and air travel emissions has decreased by 15% (reduction due to increased airplane fuel efficiency). During this same time, the employee population has increased by 14% (not including Duke Health System growth), employees are living on average 3 miles farther away from campus, and the student population has increased by 17%. 

Progress on 2009 CAP Goals

Since the original Climate Action Plan publishing in 2009, Duke has taken the following actions to address emissions from transportation (hover over each image below). 

Employee Commuting


  • Incentivize alternative transportation

  • Subsidized GoTriangle regional transit passes

In Progress:

  • Engaging in regional transportation issues


  • Studying Duke-affiliated housing to incentivize employees to live closer to campus

Duke-Owned Fleet


  • Replacing 10 diesel-fueled buses with hybrid buses

  • Purchased 2 fully-electric buses
    (on campus in 2020)


  • "Green Policy" to ensure Duke vehicles are appropriately sized and efficient

Air Travel

In Progress:

  • Promote and increase use of technology that encourages virtual meetings 


  • Tracking annual employee air travel emissions impact and developing departmental reports

New 2019 CAP Recommendations

Realizing that reducing transportation-related emissions has been more challenging that originally estimated, Duke has developed additional recommendations with the hopes of reducing transportation emissions by at least 2% annually. To learn more about the recommendations below, please read the 2019 Climate Action Plan Update.

Employee Commuting
  • Advocate for access to public transit options

  • Create incentives for employees to purchase electric or hybrid vehicles

  • Improve access to cyclist/pedestrian amenities on campus

  • Develop flexible parking pass options

  • Expand support of telecommuting and flexible work schedules

Duke-Owned Fleet
  • Assess ridership on all bus routes to improve Duke community access

  • Conduct study of transitioning Duke fleet to electric or hybrid

  • Continue to replace Duke buses with fully electric buses

  • Implement a Green Fleet Purchasing Policy

Air Travel
  • Streamline data collection process for air travel mileage

  • Share departmental reports on air travel

  • Develop list of most sustainable airlines

  • Encourage use of teleconferencing instead of traveling

  • Consider options for distributing costs of carbon offsets to departments