EPFL mobility survey

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Students © EPFL Alain Herzog

We began conducting a biennial survey on our community’s transportation habits in 2003. This survey is designed to track how students and employees commute to EPFL and to estimate the associated environmental impact.

Our 2021 survey revealed that nearly 80% of commuters use public transportation or other environmentally friendly transport methods. This figure is slightly lower than in 2019, but still encouraging if we factor in the effects of the pandemic.

  • Participation: Approximately 33% of EPFL community members responded to the 2021 survey (some 5,600 people).
  • Destination: Almost all respondents named an EPFL campus as their main destination. 64% of respondents who come to the Lausanne campus do so from central Lausanne or one of the four surrounding towns.
  • Arrival and departure: Arrival times in 2021 were less concentrated than in 2019, with 39% of respondents arriving between 7:45am and 8:30am (compared to 54% in 2019). Departures were, as in 2019, more spread out than arrivals, with the majority of people leaving between 5pm and 7pm.
  • Modal share in 2021: Public transport remained at the top of the rankings, although this mode saw a sharp decline in 2021. Only 4% of students used a car, compared to 33% of employees. 94% of students favored sustainable transportation methods, compared to 64% of employees. Between 2003 and 2021, there was a gradual increase in the rates of walking (from 4% to 16%) and cycling (from 13% to 26%), particularly among students.
  • Changes in commuting methods: 7% of respondents changed their preferred mode of transportation between 2019 and 2021. Respondents cited the pandemic as the main reason for the change. For those who planned to use a different mode once the pandemic measures were lifted, health and wellness was the most frequently cited reason.
  • Transportation services: PubliBike was the most widely used transportation service in 2021 (37% of respondents), even though it was used less than in 2019. This service was more popular with students. However, there was an increase in the use of the “Mobility” car-sharing service by employees (26% in 2021, versus 13% in 2019). Most respondents had used the Point Vélo bike repair service (72%) and were very satisfied with it.
  • Combining modes: More than one in five respondents (21%) reported using multiple modes of transportation. Most of them combined walking and public transport or alternated between cycling and public transport.
  • Carpooling: There is still some difficulty in attracting people to carpooling. The majority (78%) of respondents who drive to EPFL do so alone in their own vehicle. This is particularly true for employees, who account for 81% of that figure.
  •  As for carpooling, it still has some difficulty in attracting people, since the majority (78%) of people driving to EPFL are solo drivers in their vehicles; this is particularly true for staff, since this proportion even reaches 81%.

*Surveys conducted in association with the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS).

Raw results 2003-2021

The Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS) has created a public database with the results of every EPFL transportation survey from 2003 to 2021.

The following data files are available for download:


For further information or to cite a survey, please send an email to: [email protected]