Business Location and Sustainable Transport

Business Location and Sustainable Transport


Austin Smyth, University of Hertfordshire, Luke Kelleher, University College Dublin, Chris Heywood, Accent


DfT commissioned a number of case study research programmes into the implementation and subsequent monitoring and evaluation of LTSF initiatives covering - Strategic Employment Sites and Business Parks, Town Centres, Key Corridors and Rural Tourism.


Business Location & Sustainable Transport: Developing Tools for the Trade

Austin Smyth, University of Hertfordshire
Luke Kelleher, University College Dublin
Chris Heywood and Rob Sheldon, Accent Market Research
Judy Cameron-Rollo, Hertfordshire County Council

The 2011 UK Government White Paper - ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon. Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen’ addressed the role of transport in economic growth and sought mitigation against its effect on the environment, especially through locally based; short-term interventions and promotion of sustainable travel. To support this UK Department for Transport DfT announced the formation of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The LSTF awarded funding to a mixture of capital and revenue projects. These solutions are geared to supporting improved access to employment, training and business through effectively tackling the problems of congestion, improving the reliability and predictability of journey times, and enabling economic investment.

The DfT’s LSTF Guidance is not prescriptive as to how funded authorities deliver their LTSF initiatives and measures. Consequently, there is a wide variation in implementation and subsequent monitoring and evaluation across authorities. To enable more in depth analysis on specific areas of interest, DfT commissioned a number of case study research programmes covering - Strategic Employment Sites and Business Parks (SES&BPs), Town Centres, Key Corridors and Rural Tourism.

Among the research questions and impacts addressed by the research are assessing the impact of the package of sustainable transport measures on modal shift and identifying which interventions are most effective given the different locations as wells as establishing the economic impacts of implementing sustainable transport measures on strategic employment sites.

Research teams from the University of Hertfordshire and the University of West of England (Bristol) in conjunction with Atkins and Accent were commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the LSTF packages implemented within Hertfordshire, Slough and the West of England.

A range of case study evaluations employing innovative behaviourally sensitive analytical tools were developed and employed to identify the effectiveness of LSTF interventions in assisting modal shift, local economic growth and reduced carbon emissions in four different intervention sites. A comparator site (Hatfield Business Park) was also included in the research evaluation, enabling comparison to be made across the four sites experiencing LSTF interventions and one not experiencing LSTF interventions. The investigation has been informed by comprehensive business audits to establish the nature of the business parks with respect to numbers, the profiles of business types, vacancies etc. and to provide databases for sampling, and before and after surveys of employers and of employees.

This research design has facilitated analysis of the impacts of LSTF from both a business perspective as well as from that of the people employed in the business parks, the latter focusing on travel patterns and mode use including identifying changes between phases 1 and 3 of the programme.

Given space considerations the primary emphasis in this paper focuses on the surveys of businesses. The focus is evaluation of the effectiveness of LSTF interventions in assisting economic growth in Maylands Business Park (a 250 hectare site with some 600 businesses employing about 16,000 people) in Hertfordshire and Slough Trading Estate (some 400 businesses employing about 17,000 people) in Buckinghamshire with Hatfield Business Park (some 80 companies) also located in Hertfordshire used as a control.

The surveys of employers, based on interviews with in excess of 200 businesses, have been undertaken by telephone or face-to-face and were designed to understand the nature of the business, mode usage of employees and visitors, awareness and attitudes of the LSTF and the expected impacts of the LSTF measures covering both travel and business impacts. To enhance the robustness of the findings various additional tools and tests, including Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Factor Analysis, have been employed in particular to explore aspects of business competitiveness and to inform improved understanding of the nature of business linkages and agglomeration effects. In addition, enhanced GIS analysis has been undertaken to evaluate the impact of LSTF measures on access to employment and business park accessibility.

Stated preference methods were used to measure the likely impacts of the LSTF measures as well as identify other short term public policy interventions of potential benefit to business. The outputs include an assessment of the priorities that businesses have which can provide guidance on the types of measures that are important to businesses with respect to travel cycle, walking and bus facilities, employee travel plans and delivery schedules.


Association for European Transport