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TRAVELSMART EMPLOYERS KIT, 2003

Getting Started

You've decided you want to help your staff find more sustainable ways to get to and from work rather than everyone driving alone.

You know it will be a good decision in terms of reducing your organisation's impact on the Australian environment and it will be good for your green credentials.

You've even heard that some of the TravelSmart techniques can help you retain valued staff and increase productivity.

However, you are wondering what it will all cost, both in terms of time and money (Answer: not as much as you might fear) and most importantly, you're wondering just how do you get started?

This section is designed to take you through the steps of developing and implementing your TravelSmart access plan.

It's backed up by the sections on different ways to get to work (including one for travel when your staff are already at work) and finally a collection of case studies.

Developing an Access Plan

An access plan is an employer-based package of alternative travel options to the car which also suggests ways to use the car more efficiently for in-work travel and commuting.

A typical plan may look at walking, cycling, public transport incentives, flexible ways of working such as telecommuting, car sharing and company car fleet (choice of vehicle, driver training, fleet operation). The information sheets in this pack will give you specific details about promoting each of these modes of transport.

Access plans may also be known as green transport plans, travel plans, green travel plans or travel for work plans.

All describe written strategies which employers use to influence staff travel behaviour. The different names have evolved over time in different circumstances.

However, you will also need to know how to develop your access plan to ensure that your staff will be willing to change and that the changes take place.

The survey

Access plans start by recording some key information about your staff's travel habits, before you make any changes to encourage them to travel more sustainably.

A good way to gather this information is through a survey. Questions should typically cover issues such as how staff get to work at the moment, where they travel from, what time they get to and leave work each day and their attitudes to different forms of transport.

Walkway for commuters

The findings of the survey will influence what measures you include in your access plan. For example, if you have a lot of staff living close to work, you may want to concentrate on promoting cycling and walking. If your staff are more dispersed, you might want to look at carpooling, public transport and telecommuting.

This pack includes an example of a survey to give you an idea of the questions asked, as well as a copy of a survey cover letter which you can adapt and send out to staff before the day of the survey, letting them know what it's about and when it's on.

Writing the plan

There are two things to remember when sitting down to write your access plan:

1. There is no one right plan. Each employer is different and each access plan will be different.

2. We're not expecting a detailed 30 page thesis. The access plan is designed to be clear and straightforward.

From previous experience, an employer can write and gain approval for an access plan within 12 months. Of course, if you can do one sooner, then all the better as this will allow you more time to get on with actually doing it.

The 12 month timetable is based on our experience of how long it takes for an employer to come to grips with the concepts of TravelSmart, write a plan and get it approved internally.

To get you started, we've included a mock plan in this pack for a fictional company in Melbourne's northern suburbs, CCC Industries.

Feel free to adapt this plan for your own use. You might find the checklist of ideas on the back of each of the information sheets on the different forms of transport, useful for your plan.

Who should be involved?

This depends on what you think you need to do internally to get your access plan accepted and approved, so that it will become an active and effective strategy within your organisation, rather than a document gathering dust on a shelf.

You may already have a relevant committee which will be interested in working on the plan. It makes sense to have more than one person working on the plan for the simple reason that it's better to share work around.

This also improves the chance of the access plan being accepted by a wide range of people and departments within your organisation.

On the other hand, you may choose to develop the plan yourself. If you do, it is important that you have the support from senior management. At some point, this plan is going to need to be approved if your employer is going to actually enact it.

Of course, if you are in senior management, you can pretty much choose your own method for developing the plan!

Implementing Your Access Plan

What next? Once you've got an access plan, you may think all the work is done. Not so.

However, much of the difficult work has been done and as for the rest, at least you have a clear idea of what is to be done. It's all set out in your access plan.

Internal marketing

Each of the various modes of transport will need to be marketed to staff in their own way. There are some obvious events you can use, but in all instances, you will want staff to view these alternatives as having positive benefits for them.

It's important to keep listening to staff and to help them make changes. It's not enough to say "well, I think you should all be catching public transport and here's a few timetables to help you". You need to hear concerns staff may have about trying different modes of transport.

They may be concerned about security on public transport at night, they may have children to drop off at school on the way to work or shopping to pick up on the way home or they may be worried about safety on the roads when cycling.

A key message to staff should always be - traveling by a different method just one day a week can make a big difference.

In terms of that person's contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their commuting, by coming to work in a sustainable manner one day a week, they've already achieved a 20% cut than if they'd been driving alone to work.

Who's doing all this?

As with developing the access plan, the question of who implements it within your organisation is one that needs to be carefully considered.

Ideally, you want TravelSmart initiatives to become part of ongoing staff management activities. If you already have regular meetings on these issues, you might want include TravelSmart on the agenda.

Alternatively, you may want to set up a group of interested staff members. For example, cyclists will not only generally have good ideas about practical measures, such as where cycle parking should be installed, but will also be energetic in helping you develop and implement the plan.

As in the development phase, the backing of senior management is crucial at all times.

Reviewing progress

A typical access plan may last three or five years. If you've done all the things you said you were going to do within that time, you should have seen some real change in the way your staff are traveling to and from work.

Hopefully, the benefits - economic, health, environmental - will be recognized within your organisation and you'll be satisfied with your achievements.

You should plan to measure your progress through annual surveys of staff travel behaviour.

You may get to the stage reached by an employer in the UK, Cambridge Econometrics. It had achieved as much as it could - all its staff were cycling or walking to work and it had removed the on-site car parking - and felt it could not gain anything more from membership of the TravelSmart -type organisation with which it had been involved. Instead, it withdrew from regular network meetings and became a recognised example of best practice for others.

Most other employers feel that at the end of their access plan, they need to review the plan. In some instances, they may want to offer even greater incentives to help more staff change their traveling habits.

Cycling to work

Others may want to switch to trying to sustain the progress they've made so far. Even if you have achieved a change in staff behaviour, you should assume that you will need to continue working to sustain that behaviour. For example, new staff may not be aware of TravelSmart initiatives and so will need convincing.

Ideally, you should get to a stage where TravelSmart is as much a part of your organisation's everyday administration activities such as health and safety and other human resource issues.

Mock Access Plan

To make things easy, TravelSmart has developed a mock plan for a fictional company, CCC Industries, based in Melbourne's north.

You can use this plan as a guide for drawing up your own Access Plan. It consists of four sections:

aim

The aim sets out what you want to achieve and when. It should be closely linked to the more detailed targets. It can include:

a preamble

Australian employers are increasingly bearing the cost of traffic congestion and according to the Bureau of Transport Economics, that cost is set to nearly triple by 2015.

CCC Industries recognises that employers have a key role to play in reducing traffic congestion within Melbourne, and has developed the following access plan accordingly.

transport change targets linked to a timeline

The overall aim of the plan is to cut the number of single occupancy car journeys to, from and for work by employees of CCC Industries, by 23 per cent by 2006.

background

This section provides the context for your plan. You can look at:

how many staff there are and how they get to work

 

 

CCC Industries is a medium sized employer based in Preston. It has 450 employees and the majority of these (78 per cent) drive to work alone.

Twelve per cent cycle, 6 per cent take public transport and 4 per cent walk.

A GIS map of employee postcodes found that 48 per cent of people lived within 5 kilometres and 65 per cent within 8 kilometres.

why staff travel a certain way and the effects of this choice

 

CCC Industries has limited car parking space on-site which fills up rapidly each morning and then spills out into neighbouring streets, leading to complaints from residents.

The council has mooted introducing resident parking permits for the surrounding area.

existing provision for sustainable modes of transport

The nearest bus stop is two blocks away and this has been cited as a disincentive by people wishing to come to work by public transport.

The only cycle parking is at the rear of the car park, away from the main building. The racks themselves are concrete slots in the ground and are rarely used by staff who prefer to lock bikes to railings.

Management discourages cycle parking by the front entrance as it presents an untidy image to visitors.

incentives for certain travel modes and what these cost

CCC Industries pays mileage for cars used on company business and has no pool cars. There is no formal car sharing scheme. CCC Industries does not pay a mileage rate for cycle usage.

consider cutting out some journeys altogether

A number of staff work occasionally at home. The work of CCC Industries is such that more staff could work from home on a regular basis.

targets

Here is where you set out the detail of what you want to do.

working out how the plan will be implemented and by whom

CCC Industries will work to achieve its overall target of a 23 per cent reduction in the number of car journeys by 2006 by:

  • recognising non-physical barriers to using sustainable modes of transport and working to overcome these by May 2002

encouraging others

  • beginning a promotional campaign highlighting the benefits and ease of use of alternative modes, by May 2002

deciding what you want to do and getting the time and money to do it

  • identifying internal barriers and then budgeting and prioritising resources to work to overcome these, by June 2002

ensuring the company feels it owns the plan and sees value in it

  • ensuring the plan becomes a key part of internal company processes, by June 2003

the tangibles - decent bicycle racks, lighting, parking spaces etc.

  • campaign of works to support sustainable transport modes, to be completed by December 2003
actions

This section sets out what you are going to do and when:

go for easy "quick win" actions initially, to get things going

1. Recognising non-physical barriers to using sustainable modes of transport and working to overcome these by May 2002

  • nominate a co-ordinator for the access plan (December 2001)
  • provide interest-free loans for season tickets for trains and buses, and to purchase cycles (May 2002)
  • offer a mileage rate for cycle use (July 2002)
  • join TravelSmart (July 2001)

as many as 10 per cent of journeys can be changed through soft measures such as promotion

2. Beginning a promotional campaign to highlighting the benefits and ease of use of alternative modes, by May 2002

  • set up an internal TravelSmart working group (February 2002)
  • set aside a noticeboard to promote transport alternatives, such as bus timetables and cycling activities (January 2002)
  • participate in Ride to Work day (annually)
  • investigate and decide on whether to have an adult cycle training course on-site (May 2002)
  • hold a postcode coffee club morning to introduce potential car sharers to one another (May 2002)

work with the company and set realistic targets for what can be achieved - especially when these are going to cost money!

3. Identifying internal barriers and then budgeting and prioritising resources to work to overcome these, by March 2002

  • survey staff to discover what are the physical barriers to cycling and walking (June 2001)
  • internal TravelSmart working group to work through list of possible solutions and prioritise in consultation with Finance Department (September 2001)
  • TravelSmart working group and Finance Department to set works budget accordingly (March 2002)
  • trial offering subsidised Metcards to staff (September 2001)
  • identify at least 10 per cent of staff who might be able to work from home on a more regular basis (June 2001)
  • develop a teleworking policy covering issues such as management, health and safety (September 2001)

initiatives need to be monitored and maintained - small measures such as these can keep a scheme going

4. ensuring the plan becomes a key part of internal company processes, by June 2003

  • ensure noticeboard material is up to date (ongoing)
  • develop reporting process to staff and management (May 2002, then ongoing)
  • organise cyclist breakfasts on Ride to Work day (annually)
  • organise social cycle rides (summer annually)
  • provide onsite maintenance cycle service (ongoing)
  • provide toolkit for cycle repairs (March 2002)
  • link workplace intranet to relevant travel information sites (March 2002)

Actions on the ground are what many people measure success by: ensure they are realistic, well-designed and promoted. If nobody knows they are there, nobody will use them.

5. Campaign of works to support alternative modes, to be completed by June 2003

  • prioritise 5 existing car parking spaces close to main building for carpoolers(September 2002)
  • offer a guaranteed ride home to staff stranded through carpooling arrangements (July 2002, then ongoing)
  • put in adequate number of cycle stands - covered, lit and close to building (December 2002)
  • set aside space and put in more stands as cycling numbers grow (May 2003)
  • provide drying/changing room (May 2003)
  • investigate possibility of installing showers in any new building works (September 2002)
  • review cycle routes leading to site and lobby council if improvements are necessary (September 2002)
  • provide visitor cycle parking by main entrance (May 2002)
  • investigate possibility of pool bicycle scheme (August 2002)
  • offer discounted home computer buying scheme for staff working from home on a regular basis (January 2003)