The Employers' Role in Changing Travel Choices



The Employers' Role in Changing Travel Choices

Authors

DANIELS I, University of the West of England, UK

Description

The average commuting journey is very rarely an optional trip, and can therefore be seen as a good target for mode change since it normally only involves the carriage of people, not goods. Other modes such as cycling, walking and public transport may ther

Abstract

The average commuting journey is very rarely an optional trip, and can therefore be seen as a good target for mode change since it normally only involves the carriage of people, not goods. Other modes such as cycling, walking and public transport may therefore provide suitable alternatives for the journey to work, since the convenience of the car may be reduced by congestion. Problems encountered as a result of peak rush hour congestion include stress for employees and delay for deliveries. This can be expanded as staff dissatisfaction due to increased travel time, which in turn can lead to absenteeism, increased staff turnover and a decline in productivity. There are also issues of equity: non car owning individuals may incur additional travel costs in their journey to work, while private and company car users can take advantage of subsidies in the form of free parking accommodation and travelling expenses.

The location of employers can play a sJ~i6cant factor in the decision of mode choice by staff for the journey to work. Decentralisation of facilities, combined with free workplace parking have contributed to increased trip making patterns across cities and towns and well as exacerbating congestion at peak rush hours. In rnuny cities the shortage of commercial and industrial space in the fight locations can prove especially acute. Usually these pressures are caused by p]zn,lng constraints and resilient growth within the local economy forcing up land values and rents of premium sites; hence the local authorities concerned often encourage companies to look at alternative locations outside the city centre, rather than lose potential investment to a neighbouring authority.

This paper reports on the findings of a smul| qualitative study designed to gain a better understanding of the nature of the employers' role in relation to the journey to work, as well as considering how organisations can support more socially responsible travel behaviour. For most companies and public sector organisatious staff travel issues relate to the management and accommodation of staff vehicles, and where there are conflicts with other visitors to the work site, controlling such uses through the provision of security measures. Some more progressive employers have started to consider the threats to the work quality of life, including the issue of congestion in the workplace vicinity and this will often be the starting point for policy change.

The study is designed to focus on employers based in existing locations. It is also based on the as.~rnption that PJ~nning Policy Guidance Note No.13 relating to transport (DOE, DoT, 1994) is a very long term measure, and that the integration of land use and transport pl~n,ing for locating new development closer to existing facilities and public transport corridors may take up to two decades to be fully implemented. It is acknowledged that transport demnnd m,nagement can best be regarded as a bridge between short term economic solutions and longer term policies. The paper briefly reviews some evidence from the literature and current practice in the United Kingdom and Holland before outl~nlng the findings of the investigation.

Publisher

Association for European Transport