What we could do differently
Travel off peak
One of the first things a business can consider – at no cost - is whether all its employees need to be in the office during traditional office hours. With the exception of jobs where people have to be at their place of work at a certain time – for example those working in hospitals, airports, shops etc - many individuals and businesses could consider flexible working hours and indeed do so. Where it is possible, we suggest commuting outside of the morning and evening rush hours.
DfT’s Travel to Work Fact Sheet shows that commuting travel is concentrated into the morning peak between 0700 – 0900 with the tip of the peak being 0845 hours. The evening peak is between 1600 – 1900 with the tip of the peak being 1730 hours.
Travelling off peak doesn’t only relate to driving by car. All forms of public transport can be very busy at peak times therefore travelling outside of peak hours can be much more pleasant and is also considerably less expensive in many cases. It makes a great deal of sense in terms of making effective use of our transport infrastructure’s capacity.
Commute more actively and / or sustainably
It is possible to change commuting behaviours and there are many examples throughout this site of organisations that are doing just that. The majority of businesses that are doing this successfully are achieving travel behavioural change because they view it as key to their business and make it core to their organisational strategy.
We would like to stress that any changes made to how your business ‘works’ and how your employees travel to, from and for that work must be supported by the relevant policies, strategies and structure. Your business – directors, managers and employees - all need to buy into them. Changing travel and working behaviours is a change management issue. It is a sensitive and affects everyone so leadership and employee engagement are key.
There is a lot of information in this section on commuting actively and / or sustainably as opposed to commuting by car. Once you have determined, as part of your core business strategy, the benefits to your organisation of reducing car use, encouraging active travel or working more flexibly for example then you will find some practical information on how to do this in both the Essential Guide to Travel Planning (DfT/NBTN 2008) and also in Smarter Choices (DfT 2004).
Smarter Choices is a range of initiatives widely described as 'soft' transport policy measures. These seek to give better information and opportunities, aimed at helping people to choose to reduce their car use while enhancing the attractiveness of alternatives. So it is good to be aware of the terminology of Smarter Choices and also that of Travel Planning which forms part of Smarter Choices along with 9 other areas as follows:
Workplace travel plans
School travel plans
Personalised travel planning
Travel awareness campaigns
Public transport information and marketing
Car sharing schemes
However please understand fully your business drivers, ensuring that any Smarter Choices / Travel Planning work is integral to your overall business strategy and not carried out in isolation.
Reduce commuting through ICT