14.15 Transportation

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Policy Information

Policy Number: 14.15Effective Date: 07/11/2012
Responsible Unit: Accounts PayableLast Revised Date: 02/09/2024
Email: FNSV-Accounts-Payable@arizona.eduPhone: 520-621-9097

Purpose and Summary

This policy and procedure outline requirements and provide guidelines for transportation costs for employees, students, and Designated Campus Colleagues (DCCs) while traveling on University business.


Arizona Revised Statues
State of Arizona Accounting Manual, Topic 50
Fly America Act


This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international.


  1. Public Transportation: A travel system available for use by the public, typically managed on a schedule, operated on an established route, and charge an established fee for each trip, such as public or mass transit, including but not limited to subways, trains, or buses.
  2. Private Transportation: A transportation service provider, generally privately owned such as taxis, Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare programs.



  1. A clear and thorough documented University business purpose is required for all segments of the trip to describe how the University benefited from expenses incurred.
  2. Under no circumstances shall expenses for personal travel be charged to, or temporarily funded by, the University. If transportation costs are increased due to personal time, the traveler is responsible for the increased costs and must pay using personal funds and be reimbursed by the University for the business portion of the trip by providing two (2) cost comparisons obtained at the time of booking.
  3. Transportation costs are allowable only for the most direct and economical means to and from the traveler's destination.
  4. Transportation expenses to and from an employee's residence and their duty post are considered a personal commuting expense and are unallowable with University funds.
  5. Travelers including personal time with University business travel must report such personal travel time as vacation time.

Parking and Ground Transportation

  1. Reimbursement for mileage is computed at 65.5 cents per mile based on the State of Arizona Accounting Manual at the most direct route between two points supported by official highway maps or odometer readings.
  2. A traveler driving a privately-owned vehicle on University business must register with Risk Management, complete Defensive Driving Training, and meet University driver qualifications and licensure requirements. Refer to Fleet Safety Policy for details.
  3. A traveler driving a privately-owned vehicle for University business may receive mileage reimbursement OR may provide gasoline receipts for reimbursement but may not receive reimbursement for both.
  4. Airport parking will be reimbursed for the most economical daily/weekly rate for reasonable parking expenses incurred by the traveler. Recommended State of Arizona airport parking facilities include:
    1. Tucson:
      • 6448 and 6550 S Tucson Blvd, Tucson AZ, 520-294-9000
    2. Phoenix:
      • The Parking Spot (Company code: Stat1898)
      • 4040 E Van Buren St, Phoenix AZ, 602-286-9212
      • 3025 S 48th St, Phoenix AZ, 602-244-8888

Rental Vehicles

  1. University-owned departmental and Motor Pool vehicles traveling in Mexico are covered by Mexican Auto Insurance. Documentation of Mexican insurance must be obtained from the Motor Pool in advance of the trip to facilitate border crossings. Personal vehicles traveling to Mexico are not insured by the University and are the full responsibility of the vehicle owner. Mexican insurance for commercial rental vehicles driven into Mexico must be arranged in advance with the vehicle rental agency.
  2. Rental vehicles up to an intermediate size are allowable when it is advantageous to the University and not for the traveler's convenience or benefit. If a larger vehicle is required, a business justification must be documented.  
  3. Rental vehicle collision damage waiver (CDW) and excess liability insurance must be declined unless the traveler is on foreign travel status. Travelers must utilize the existing University rental company contracts, which include full insurance. Property damage to rental vehicles and liability for bodily injury or other property damage are covered by State of Arizona self-insurance. In the event of an accident follow Risk Management policies and procedures. Do not accept responsibility or pay for damages. Refer the rental agency or other injured parties to Risk Management. Accident claims for rental vehicle damage when a state rental contract is not utilized may be subject to a deductible, charged to the traveler's department.
  4. Rental vehicle gasoline is allowed for the actual cost of the gasoline with original receipts; however, mileage may not be claimed.

Commercial Airlines

  1. Airline tickets classified as economy are considered the most economical. Travelers should select the most economical and reasonable airfare for short duration flights.
  2. When airline seats are assigned at the time of booking, the traveler must provide a written business justification to the business office and receive approval from a department authorized approver for purchasing any additional check-in, priority boarding privileges, or upgrades such as preferred or first-class seating, if requesting reimbursement. 
  3. In cases where airline seats are not assigned at the time of booking, early bird check-in or priority boarding is allowable with no additional justification required.
  4. Business class flights are allowable for long duration flights (exceeding six continuous hours in the air) such as international travel, when supported by a business justification
  5. Reimbursement for airline flights is limited to costs associated with the most direct and economical route at a minimum expense to the University.
  6. When federally sponsored funds will be utilized for travel, refer to the Research Gateway for consideration of the "Fly America Act," which requires travelers to use U.S. flag carriers regardless of costs or convenience.

Chartered or Private Airplanes

  1. Any University employee who wishes to pilot an aircraft on University business, must complete a pilot application, meet eligibility requirements, and obtain written authorization from Risk Management prior to travel.
  2. Pilots must have a current pilot history and evidence of insurance on file with Risk Management.
  3. The pilot's department may be assessed an annual premium for aviation liability coverage, as determined by the State of Arizona Department of Administration for flights on University business. Contact Risk Management for current premiums and additional information.
  4. Chartered aircraft travel is allowed providing common carrier is not the most economical, it meets the business need, or it is in the best interest of the University. The Department senior leadership determines if such travel is justified and in the best interest of the University. Chartered air service may be obtained only by completing a Requisition, and only from a FAA licensed commercial flight operator. Refer to Purchasing Policy 6.7 Travel and Charter Service for further details.
  5. Privately owned aircrafts will be reimbursed at the aircraft mileage rate, based on the shortest air route from origin to destination. When the trip is limited solely for University business and the "air miles" cannot be accurately computed from origin to destination, Financial Services-Travel Office may authorize reimbursement for actual costs of renting a plane.

Reporting Accidents

  1. Risk Management has established online systems for reporting of all claims for property damage, public liability and workers' compensation involving the University, its property, and employees. Accidents and injuries occurring while on University business must be reported to Risk Management.
  2. If a traveler is involved in an accident that results in damage to University property, damage to property of others, bodily injury, or some other form of damage to an individual or organization, report the situation immediately to Risk Management.


  1. University employees are required to utilize existing contracts for vehicle rentals. Discounted pricing that includes insurance coverage is available from Enterprise/National, Avis/Budget and Hertz and varies depending on location, date and time of arrival/return and vehicle type. Contact a Purchasing Buyer for additional information.
  2. Motor Pool vehicles are available at a reasonable cost and drivers must meet University Fleet Safety Policy minimum age and experience requirements. Motor Pool vehicles may be taken into Mexico with prior authorization and proper insurance. When comparing rates of Motor Pool to a rental vehicle, the cost of gasoline and insurance are inclusive, and taxes are not applicable on the Motor Pool vehicle.
  3. Navigate to the Travel Expense Report and prepare a record of expenses incurred while conducting University business. Refer to 14.16 Preparing a Travel Expense Report for procedures on completing the Travel Expense Report.
  4. Mileage reimbursements require a Travel Expense Report, or a Travel Mileage Log maintained by the traveler when a personal vehicle is utilized. Traveler must provide a mileage log to document business mileage and attach to the Disbursement Voucher in UAccess Financials. Utilizing object code 6140 for in-state mileage.
  5. Public transportation costs do not require receipts and may be documented on the Travel Expense Report.
  6. When personal travel is included along with business travel, the traveler must obtain two flight comparisons at the time of booking, from a comparable airline using dates for the business portion of the trip and submit to the departmental business office. The actual cost of the flight will be reviewed, and reimbursement will be based on the lower of the two comparisons to ensure the most direct and economical transportation is being utilized.  
  7. If the traveler is being dropped off at the airport, parking is not reimbursable. When the traveler is picked up at the airport, one hour of parking may be reimbursed.
  8. When a traveler incurs two-round trips to the airport when dropped off and picked up, reimbursement is allowed for the total miles to and from the airport and their place of residence.
  9. University business travel to and from the airport during business hours (8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday) will be computed at 62.5 cents per mile based on round trip from the traveler's duty post (e.g. 20 miles from Tucson Main Campus). If travel begins before or after business hours, on holidays or weekends, the traveler will be reimbursed for total miles to and from their place of residence and the airport.
  10. Navigate to UAccess Financials to initiate a Disbursement Voucher. Print the DV Cover Sheet and send original receipts and supporting documentation to Accounts Payable. When received within 90-days from the end date of the travel event, disbursement will be issued as a tax-free reimbursement. If receipts exceed 90-days, the reimbursement will be considered taxable under the University Accountable Plan.
  11. If you are involved in an accident, seek emergency services and contact Risk Management. While traveling abroad contact University International Emergency Support to obtain assistance.
  12. For long term travel requirements, refer to 14.10 Travel Authorization for special considerations. Travel exceeding 365 days is considered a relocation; refer to 9.14 Relocation Policy for Employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the receipt requirements for public transportation vs. private transportation?
    Public transportation includes scheduled transportation at a set price published by the provider and no receipts are required. Private transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or ride share program provide receipts and must be supplied to the University to substantiate the expense.
  2. Why does the employee have to sign or approve a reimbursement?
    University policy requires employees to authorize reimbursement of expenses and certify the reimbursement is a bona fide University expenditure and has not been reimbursed by another entity or paid with the University PCard, and documents understanding that reimbursed item(s) remain the property of the University.
  3. If a traveler prefers to drive to the conference instead of flying, what is the best business practice?
    The traveler should obtain pre-approval from their supervisor and work with the business office to provide a cost comparison of flight vs. mileage to the business destination. Reimbursement will be at the lower mileage based on the most direct route or an amount equal to the cost of flying economy with advance booking.
  4. When personal travel is combined with business travel, how should this be handled?
    Two cost comparisons for the business portion of the trip, at time of booking, should be obtained from comparable airlines (e.g., Southwest, American, United or Expedia). Provide the comparisons, along with the purchased airline receipt, as supporting documentation for the reimbursement at the lesser cost, based on the most economical transportation on the business travel dates.
  5. Can a traveler be reimbursed for mileage if they borrowed the vehicle?
    The mileage reimbursement rate is established by the State of Arizona is intended for vehicles owned by the driver of the vehicle, therefore mileage would not be reimbursable. The employee may submit gas receipts if the vehicle meets University standards and insurance requirements.
  6. How should my department handle frequent flyer awards, rebates, or hotel discounts for future travel?
    Benefits earned while on University business should be utilized for future University business travel at no cost to the University, when applicable. The mechanics of many of these programs issue the awards in the name of the traveler and are not transferable to the University. Therefore, business offices should make reasonable efforts to have its travelers use their awards in connection with University travel but should weigh the costs of record keeping and enforcement against the potential savings. Note that use of these rewards are not reimbursable expenses to the employee as they did not incur a cost.
  7. Can a department pay for commuting expenses on behalf of an employee?
    No, the terms of employment and costs associated with performing their job duties should be negotiated within the employment contract/offer letter.
  8. When is it appropriate to use a shuttle service?
    Travelers should conduct appropriate research with the hotel accommodations to determine if a free shuttle service is available prior to arranging taxi or ride share service.
  9. Will the University reimburse wait times or cleaning fees on an Uber or Lift receipt?
    Reasonable wait times determined by the department business office are an allowable reimbursement, considering the traveler may run late from a business meeting or conference call. Cleaning fees for a ride share vehicle are unallowable unless a compelling business purpose is provided.
  10. What is the best practice for handling flight/hotel cancellations and change fees?
    If the traveler is unable to honor a reservation, they are responsible for cancelling in compliance with the terms of the airline/hotel. The traveler must return any refundable deposits and transfer unused tickets to the University department. Costs associated with failure to cancel reservations will not be reimbursed unless the traveler provides the circumstances that were beyond their control. Change fees may be reimbursed if documentation is provided with a University business purpose.
  11. What are considered non-reimbursable expenses while on travel?
    Examples of non-reimbursable expenses include any expense incurred by the traveler that is personal in nature and not for the primary benefit of the University. Examples may include, but are not limited to the following:
    • Excessive baggage costs without a University business purpose
    • Valet parking for the convenience of the traveler
    • Overweight baggage containing personal items
    • Personal flight insurance (e.g., loss of baggage, flight delay)
    • Tips to baggage porters, maids and service personnel, as these are inclusive of meal and incidental reimbursements
    • Prepaid gasoline for the convenience of the employee, related to the use of a rental vehicle
    • Expenses incurred to conduct personal business, for personal preference or convenience

9.10 Requisitions/Reimbursements
9.18 Small Dollar/Direct Purchase Procedures
14.12 Accountable Plan
14.16 Preparing a Travel Expense Report
Business Purpose Guide
Contracting with hotels
Fleet Safety Policy
Purchasing Policies Manual
Motor Pool
Research Gateway
Risk Management
State of Arizona Vehicle Rental
Travel Expense Report

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.