Engaging employers in workplace travel planning (Ireland)

By News Editor / Updated: 13 Jan 2015
The Smarter Travel Workplaces programme was established in 2009 to assist large employers to implement workplace travel plans, as part of a national programme supported by the Irish government. The programme worked with 100 of the largest employers in Ireland by mid-2012.
In 2006, the modal share of travelling to work by car in Ireland was 57 per cent, equating to 1.1 million trips. Ninety per cent of these trips consist of only one person - the driver; Fifty-nine per cent of work trips under 5km are made by car. There is significant potential to reduce the level of commuting by car However, much of this change has to occur at the level of organisations and individuals.
International experience has shown that a methodical and planned approach to targeting large organisations and their employees can pay major dividends in terms of behavioural change.
The Smarter Travel Workplaces programme was established to assist employers to develop and implement actions effectively. The programme gives organisations the confidence and impetus to drive through sometimes challenging changes, offering advice, networking opportunities and access to Irish and international best practice.
In action 
Each organisation has a different reason to change business travel and staff commuting habits. These may be financial, environmental, or related to access and planning issues. To ensure commitment, all organisations wishing to become partners must sign an agreement that they will:
  • Survey staff travel patterns and attitudes;
  • Introduce initiatives to encourage sustainable staff commuting and business travel;
  • Resource this work through an internal co-ordinator with an assigned budget; and
  • Monitor progress.
In return, all organisations receive:
  • Hands-on site-specific advice from programme facilitators;
  • A free online employee travel survey and analysis;
  • free car-sharing website, customised specifically for the organisation;
  • Inter-Partner walking and cycling challenges (the Pedometer Challenge and the 10-Minute Cycle Challenge);
  • Training seminars (e.g. Third level Cyclise Your Campus event, Parking Management Seminar, Marketing Travel Change seminar);
  • Information on promoting walking, cycling, public transport, car-sharing and other relevant schemes (e.g. Information on the Cycle to Work purchase scheme);
  • Roadshows to promote walking, cycling, public transport and carsharing;
  • Access to an experienced and helpful Partners’ Network; and
Results from before and after surveys of a sample of 14 partner organisations which have implemented elements of a workplace travel plan for a minimum of one year show:
  • 10 of the 14 organisations (71 per cent) achieved a reduction in car driver trips;
  • The average reduction in car driver trips was 18 per cent;
  • Three organisations achieved more than a 30 per cent reduction in car driver trips; and
  • Cycling increased in all but one organisation, and the average increase was 101 per cent, with some organisations having a three- or four-fold increase in the percentage of cyclists.
Monitoring will continue for the duration of the programme, but results to date compare well with experience in the UK where workplace travel plans have been shown to reduce staff car use by between 10 and 25 per cent.
Walking and cycling
Mobility management
Northern Europe
Arlene Finn
News Editor
12 Dec 2011
13 Jan 2015