Green travel plans

By July 14th 2011

Every day more than half of UK commuters travel by car, which accounts for a staggering 78.5 billion miles of car travel each year! Put this together with the estimated 44 billion miles driven while on business then it’s easy to see why our roads are so congested.

All this congestion costs money. Some of these costs are borne by employers due to inefficiency, missed appointments and over-running schedules. In the UK, employers lose approximately &20 billion through congestion every year and employees pay an estimated &13.5 billion in motoring costs.

Of course, monetary costs are not the only impact of congestion. Our environment suffers from the millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by cars and our nation’s health is affected by pollution, lack of exercise and our work/life balance.

Travel plans have been shown to be very effective in reducing car usage for both commuting and business. Examples from the UK and the Netherlands show that even simple travel plans can achieve at least a 3% reduction in the number of employees travelling to work alone by car. Plans offering discounts on public transport and restrictions on car parking can achieve up to 30% reductions over a period of 2 to 4 years.

A typical travel plan will encourage staff to use alternatives to single-occupancy car-use. A plan could include a range of measures including: car sharing schemes; improving cycling facilities; a dedicated bus service or restricted car parking allocations and mapping to show safe walking and cycling routes.

What does this mean for the employer? In simple terms a well thought-out travel plan could save you money. The annual cost of maintaining a car-parking space is typically £300 to £500. In a recent UK Government study, the average cost of running a travel plan was only £47 for each full-time employee.

As part of their commitment to their employees, to the environment and to their community, a firm of Milton Keynes solicitors commissioned Lovell Johns to produce a map of the area surrounding their offices. The objective of the map was to encourage both staff and visitors to use environmentally friendly forms of transport both on their commute and during their working day. The map showed the main roads together with cycling and walking routes as well as highlighting main settlements and places of interest.

The green travel plan has led to increased levels of cycling and walking, which has helped the environment by reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

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