Making Travel Plans Work
C Newson, Transport 2000, UK
The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (now the Department for Transport) commissioned Transport 2000, in association with University College London and Adrian Davis Associates, to identify and examine approximately 20 organisations that have implemented travel plan measures to encourage their staff to commute to work more sustainably, and which, in some way, exemplify best practice in travel planning. For final selection, organisations also needed to have monitored the success of their travel plan, and to have achieved a reduction in commuter car use. This research work feeds into a good practice guide about the key elements of effective travel planning. In a parallel exercise, Transport 2000, in collaboration with Addison & Associates, have investigated good practice by local authorities in using the planning system to encourage effective travel planning.
The project has been informed by research undertaken in the USA and the Netherlands together with UK research that relates to travel behaviour. This has highlighted that travel planning is not simply about selecting from a long list of potential measures to influence staff travel. Instead, it is important to select a combination of measures that form an effective package. This usually needs to include direct measures to discourage car use, as well as measures that make alternative modes of transport more attractive. In particular, plans which simply aim to raise awareness of the importance of ?greener travel? have usually been ineffective. Instead, the research suggests that it is important that there are real changes to travel conditions, as well as ensuring that any marketing is carefully targeted for greatest effectiveness. Other research suggests that key transitions, such as the recruitment of new staff, organisation relocation or new building development offer important opportunities to introduce new facilities and working practices in a context of wider change. The aim of the research reported here was to assess these conclusions in relation to UK travel plans. The final UK case studies selected for consideration included four hospital trusts (in Oxford, Cambridge, Plymouth and Nottingham), two local authorities (Buckinghamshire County Council and Wycombe District Council), one university (Bristol) one government agency (Government Office for the East Midlands), a business park (Stockley Park), an out-of-town shopping centre (Bluewater) and ten private companies (including three pharmaceutical companies ? Boots, Pfizer and AstraZeneca; four hi-tech companies ? Agilent Technologies, Computer Associates, Orange and Vodafone; two financial companies ? Egg and Marks & Spencer Financial Services; and the oil company BP). Airports and organisations in central London were excluded from the final selection, because their experiences are perhaps less generalisable to smaller organisations or organisations in other parts of the country. Schools were also excluded, because of their special characteristics, and because they have been the focus of detailed research in other studies.
To compare case studies, the research aimed to identify how the modal split for commuting journeys by staff had changed. The headline indicator for each case study was taken to be the number of commuter cars arriving per 100 staff ? this measure was identified in the literature review as the most appropriate single measure for assessing the success of a travel plan. During the course of the research, it became clear that there can be serious weaknesses with the monitoring of travel plans, and that survey techniques need to be considerably improved. Problems range from organisations using different monitoring techniques at different times (so that results are not comparable) through to surveys failing to differentiate between car drivers and car passengers, or to allow for informal car sharing. Cross-checking of different indicators provides valuable feedback on the validity of different monitoring results. Despite the problems encountered, it was possible to derive comparative data for all of the organisations reported here.
Association for European Transport