Expansion of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in the South of England has put an increasing strain on car parking facilities on the site. This project seeks to build upon work already begun to encourage staff & visitors to use alternative, sustainable transport modes.
Background & Objectives
This project is one of ten trial projects being conducted under the umbrella of OPTIMUM2 - ‘Optimal Planning Through Implementation of Mobility Management’ - a European project whose primary aim is to improve the accessibility of busy locations in urban areas through mobility management.
The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital provides a full range of acute hospital services to a population of some 330,000 in the city of Exeter in the South of England and the surrounding, predominantly rural, area. Nearly 250,000 outpatients are seen in the course of an average year, along with 60,000 inpatients, 25,000 day-cases and 56,000 Accident & Emergency attendances. Many are elderly or frail. 5,500 staff are employed by the hospital with more than half living outside the Exeter city boundary.
The main site of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has been, and continues to be, substantially redeveloped over recent years. This has resulted in a steady increase in traffic coming onto the site which is set to continue. At the same time, car parking capacity is limited. Expansion of car parking is limited by lack of available space, with new buildings being built on land previously used for car parking; local authority planning regulations; available finance and pressure from local residents who see the number of journeys generated by the site as a factor in causing high CO2 emissions in the area.
The challenge has therefore been to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions resulting from car use to the hospital by promoting and enabling sustainable transport alternatives to the site. The hospital has already introduced a number of measures to achieve this and within OPTIMUM², the hospital is looking to develop a travel bureau to provide a central point of contact for hospital travel information.
In recent years, a number of schemes have been implemented to reduce the demand on the hospital car parks. These include:
- Charges for staff parking permits and restricting permits according to working hours and area of residence.
- Dedicated hospital park & ride service for staff, patients and visitors.
- Subsidised bus travel, at any time. The Trust purchases annual bus passes and recovers the costs from staff via payroll, passing on the agent’s discount.
- Discount scheme with local bus provider which allows staff who do not purchase an annual pass to obtain 33.33% discount on all travel, on production of staff identity badge.
- Charges for patient and visitor car parking.
- Secure cycle parking and clothing lockers (up to 300); showers are already available.
- Signing up to Devon County Council’s car share software site.
- Collaborating with the Health Promotion Dept to promote walking by issuing staff with free pedometers and self recording sheets for them to measure the health related benefits.
- Formation of a hospital Bicycle Users Group (BUG).
The success of the project will be assessed at the end of 2007 in terms of:
- A social change towards greater willingness to use alternatives to the car.
- At least a doubling of park & ride usage at the end of 2007.
- Increase cycling and walking amongst staff by 20 - 25%.
- Provision of individual 'travel plans'.
- The ability to undertake major building and service developments while meeting local planning requirements for traffic containment.
- Accessible and uncongested hospital sites.