Employers are reducing car use through the TravelSmart Workplace program. Travel plans have been developed for 50 workplaces with 20,400 employees. Changes in workplace awareness, facilities and practices have reduced car commuting on average by 10%. Mainstreaming mobility management and scaling up employer involvement are key challenges for carbon abatement.
Background & Objectives
The car dominates personal travel in Perth, Australia, including commuting where 75% of employees drive to work. Despite heavy reliance on the car for work-related travel, many of these trips could be made by public transport, cycling or walking. Employer practices and workplace facilities affect employee travel choices. Through travel plans, employers can make practical changes in the workplace to support the use of low carbon travel options.
To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and urban air pollutants and support regional land use and transport goals, the TravelSmart Workplace program is supporting workplace travel planning by medium to large employers in the private and public sectors. The voluntary program is jointly delivered by two state government agencies - the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department for Planning and Infrastructure.
Employers recruited into the program aim to reduce their environmental impact, improve employee health or address site parking problems.
The program facilitates development of workplace travel plans. This involves an audit of transport options and survey of employee travel behaviour. Demand management measures are identified, resulting in a plan for the employer to manage the travel they generate.
By December 2007 the program had supported 30 organisations with 50 sites and 20,400 employees complete travel plans. Three case studies illustrate the range of responses, including:
- reduced car parking and good cycle facilities achieving a 23% reduction in car commuting to an energy resources company
- promotional activities and cycle facility improvements at city and suburban offices of a government agency, and
- a targeted 27% reduction in car commuting by standard working-day employees at a major health campus through parking controls and improved travel options.
TravelSmart Workplace has engaged 30 employers or site managers in developing a workplace travel plan. This has resulted in workplace action to promote and improve travel alternatives to employees and visitors and a reduction in car commuting.
Key challenges for extending workplace travel planning include:
- Mainstreaming mobility management so it is integrated into facility, fleet and human resource management functions and becomes less reliant upon interested staff volunteering their time
- Moving from an emphasis on low cost, low risk promotional activities to include changes in car parking, incentives and organisational culture that support sustainable travel choices
- Increasing the number of workplaces involved to scale-up the quantum of travel behaviour change and resulting carbon abatement. This may require a stronger business case for employer action and linking travel plans to planning approvals for new and expanded development.
Text taken from ECOMM 2008 abstracts.