How to promote active travel in your workplace
My passion for active travel is well known amongst my workmates. They pass my blue bicycle as they come into the building in the morning and, knowing that I’ve cycled that day, they’ll often stop and ask about the ride. I’ll report that I saw dolphins in the river or that I was a bit faster because I’m getting fitter or that I was pleased not to be sat in the traffic jam on the Narrows Bridge.
1. Promote the benefits of active travel
As these conversations suggest, there are many reasons why I choose an active way to commute to and from work. I get a daily dose of physical activity, I feel mentally better because of the stress-relieving benefits and I try to live sustainably by limiting my car use. Other benefits include enjoying wildlife encounters, saving money on fuel costs and not having to worry about where to park my car for the day!
Every person who chooses an active means of transport will have their own reasons for doing so. I see some groups of workmates who cycle together and then enjoy a coffee and chat before the work day starts. Others get together because they are training for a particular event.
2. Support workers to use active travel
- Having the right facilities, like secure bike storage, showers and lockers,
- Providing transport information on the local area, like walking and cycling maps and bus timetables,
- Making available a SmartRider card for travel to meetings using public transport,
- Running a TravelSmart Champion scheme with incentives,
- Offering free cycle training and maintenance sessions to build knowledge and confidence,
- Providing pool bicycles for short business trips or lunchtime rides, so that staff can try cycle commuting,
- Supporting a time reward policy for active commuters allowing them 15 minutes of work time to shower and change.
3. Put a plan in place
Obviously the size of a workplace and the resources they have available will determine what strategies they use to encourage active travel. The list above is what my fairly small workplace has chosen to do and there are many more low, medium and high resource actions out there for workplaces to try.
When deciding on what actions will work best, it’s really useful for a workplace to base their efforts on an understanding of what workers actually want. This information could come from travel surveys, discussions with current active commuters or brainstorming sessions with workers.
These ideas can then be used to form a combined strategy or travel plan. Sound daunting? TravelSmart Workplaces, one of the free services offered through Healthier Workplace WA, exists for this very reason and helps workplaces develop their travel plans. My organisation developed a travel plan with support from TravelSmart.
4. Get in touch with the TravelSmart Workplace team
Contact the TravelSmart Workplace team to find out how their free program can help your workplace shift to more active and sustainable transport options. Places are now available for Perth CBD employers to come on board.
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