University of Worcester Scheme Presented to European Sustainability Conference

European sustainability conference web

Katy Boom, the University of Worcester’s Director of Sustainability, outlined the Woo Bikes project, which combines pedal and electric bikes, at the Second European Conference on Sustainable Mobility at Universities, held at the Cracow University of Technology in Poland.

She said: “It was a great opportunity to show to a wider audience what Woo Bikes is doing to get people out of their cars and using bikes as alternative travel.  It was also a chance to show how these should be applied to other cities and universities across Europe.  Every university has lots of students and staff travelling to it every day so has an impact on the city they are in.  Therefore, it can have a positive impact if you work collaboratively with your city to persuade people out of their cars, even for one or two journeys.”

Attendees included representatives from city council planning departments, academics and travel managers of universities from all across Europe.  The University of Worcester was one of only two British universities to take part.  Other speakers included those from universities in Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Austria. 

Ms Boom told delegates how students had been integral to the Woo Bikes project, with science students working on research before the launch and graphic design students helping design publicity material and branding.

She said: “There was lots of interest in the work we are doing around bike share and in creating an affordable and different bike share model that works with a social enterprise.  There was also interest in not only the work on campus, but our work with other large employers in the City to have a bigger impact.”

Woo Bikes is one of the Country’s largest city-wide electric bike (e-bike) share schemes.   The Bike Loan scheme has 50 e-bikes, but also incorporates 50 pedal bikes and is designed to provide a convenient, low cost, healthy option for getting around Worcester. 

It is initially being piloted by staff and students at the University of Worcester, but is a partnership between the University, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, and technology firm Gtech. 

The aim is to widen it out to other employers in the City and to other parts of the County in the future and talks are continuing to this end.

“It’s about working in collaboration with others,” added Ms Boom.  “We’re learning around how to change people’s behaviours, because it’s very difficult to get people out of their cars, and we’re using Woo Bikes as a way to learn and what we learn we’ll then pass on to the City and the LEP.  If we can make it work in Worcester we can take that and spread it right across Worcestershire.”

For further information on Woo Bikes, visit