- developing an access plan
- implementing your access plan
- mock access plan
- survey cover letter
- staff travel survey
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: