In the last 30 years, one of the main objectives of the Municipality of Perugia’s vision for mobility has been to find all possible solutions to divert traffic flows from the city centre to suburban areas in order to improve life quality and preserve the cultural heritage of Perugia. Nowadays, with a car ownership rate of 687.3 to every thousand, Perugia is committed to explore new sustainable alternatives to reduce the number of private cars circulating in the city.
The CHUMS Project complements the sustainable transport strategies of Perugia by making commuters more aware of the existence and suitability of carpooling for their journey to work.
The CHUMS project has developed and is delivering a unique methodology (‘the CHUMS approach’) to unlock maximum carpooling demand and establish critical mass of users. It does so in workplaces by delivering three sequential activities, each one reinforcing staff awareness, participation and modal shift to carpooling:
• Step 1: Deliver a carpooling week to increase awareness and eagerness of staff to try out carpooling, and learn of the associated cost savings. Database of registered staff is set up.
• Step 2: Provide Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) services to employees highlighting again the carpooling options. Studies in the UK show PTP can reduce single occupancy trips by 11%.
• Step 3: Set up a Mobility Jackpot competition, where one employee each week or month that carpools is awarded a prize which is then communicate across the workplace. Financial incentives have been shown to eliminate up to 20% of daily vehicle trips in the US.
The city aims to widen its ‘sustainable mobility system’ by exploring a new, challenging approach that directly affects citizen’s habits. While all the efforts undertaken so far by the administration have mostly been public transport oriented, CHUMS is the first chance to really draw on car drivers individual mind sets.
The target group for the implementation of CHUMS was composed by two sub-groups of employees belonging to the public sector:
1. Municipality of Perugia employees;
2. University of Perugia employees.
The two sub-groups form a mass of more than 1,600 subjects that work in the city centre and can’t rely on proper parking areas provided by the employer. In order to have a clearer picture of these subject’s habits, one significant fact is worthy of being underlined: while Perugia has 50% of commuters travel by car as the driver and 16% by car as passenger, the respective figures for municipality employees are 53% as driver and only 5% as passenger.
The CHUMS project implementation in Perugia is built on a package of proven energy efficient transport measures which support carpooling among employers and their employees:
Hosting of Carpool Week: the first Carpool Week took place from 16 to 22 September 2015, to coincide with the European Mobility Week to ensure the highest visibility for the project.
The second Carpool Week took place from 17 to 23 February 2016. To enhance the project’s impact, it was combined with a Mobility Lottery prize draw, launch of PTPs, one-on-one contacts and stronger visibility to lottery prizes assignment.
Mobility Jackpot Lottery: the Mobility Jackpot launched following the end of the first Carpool Week and finished at the end of June 2016. The Mobility Jackpot was promoted to all staff from the municipality and university through posters at the workplace and employer websites. There were also additional targeted promotions to car drivers via e-mail and phone.
An initial bumper prize of € 200 (a computer tablet) was awarded following the end of the first Carpool Week. This prize draw was open to anyone who registered on the carpooling platform, thus encouraging a critical mass of members. Up to the second Carpool Week in March 2016, there was an award draw every week (for 26 weeks) of € 20 and an award draw every month (for 6 months) of € 100. To launch the second Carpool Week a second bumper prize was drawn of € 200 (a smartphone).
The delivery of personalised travel to municipality/university employees was subcontracted to a private company. While the total number of solo car drivers totaled 650 employees, not all were suitable or willing to participate in the PTP process.
The Carpool Week in 2015 and 2016 was promoted to employees by:
• 9 rounds of emails to more than 2 000 employees
• 2 press conferences
• 17 articles on local press
• 1 ‘local’ project logo
• 2 600 flyers, 4 roll ups, 440 gadgets (USB branded charger) plus, for the EMW including the first Carpool Week, 150 posters 70x100, 2 500 flyers, 2 roll ups, 300 folders
• Official website and Facebook page
The Mobility Jackpot Lottery had two bumper prizes (tablet and smartphone) to launch the two Carpool Weeks, in 2015 and 2016. From October 2015 to June 2016 nine monthly and 38 weekly prizes, were awarded. Eligibility for the on-going weekly and monthly prize was based on confirmed ‘active’ carpool trips. For each confirmed carpool trip made the 'carpooler' received one entry to the lottery draw. The more active a member is, the higher the chance to win a prize.
PTPs: the target for the delivery of PTPs were the employees that filled in a PTP questionnaire. Some 277 questionnaires were received and grouped in 22 origin/destination matches. For each of the groups a PTP was drafted, containing a specific information pack about existing alternatives to solo car driving.
Since the very beginning implementing CHUMS, the project team worked on securing the involvement of visible 'champions' who are strongly committed to promote the project and help in its implementation. The appointed champions are: the university rector, the mobility councilor of Perugia and the environment councilor of Perugia. These champions have: joined every internal meeting about the project, co-signed all the e-mails sent to the target group, organised and held all project related press conferences, personally delivered prizes, chaired the European Mobility Week that has been included the first Carpool Week.
The champions' involvement has contributed to: get very good response rates during the ‘before’ and ‘after’ survey campaign (38.4% and 28%), ensuring the PTP target achievement (277 interested people), disseminate CHUMS through 17 articles in the local press and achieve the target set in terms of subscriptions to the carpooling platform.
• Make sure to have a strong, political commitment
• Appoint visible 'champions'
• Liaise with other departments potentially involved in the project success (i.e. IT, communications, human resources, finance, etc.);
• Ensure a simple and user-friendly carpooling platform is used
• Build a significant critical mass
• Always remain in contact with your target even with simple reminders or brief update
• Plan and detail well in advance all the preparatory actions that need to be performed before the implementation.
Image copyright: REC / Vaiva Indilaite