Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Lessons learned from the promotion of a car-pooling scheme and awareness of more sustainable commuting options amongst local authority staff.

This initiative aimed to promote a 5% modal shift from single car occupancy use for commuting to work.

To encourage this posters and leaflets were produced highlighting the impacts of personal car use on health, the environment, personal finances etc. Then Travel to work questionnaires were designed and circulated to determine travel modes, times, origins and destinations. Questions were also included to promote consideration of alternatives to the car and identify barriers to the use of bus, bike or car-pooling. All comments received were circulated to the relevant stakeholders and graphical results posted to the staff intranet to highlight in particular high use of car by those living Ü 2km from work.

The baseline in 2002: 70% of employees commuted by car;42% alone. By 2004 61% of employees commutes by car; 36% alone. It is hard to determine to what extent if any the promotion of alternative modes and car pooling to staff contributed t this. Certainly although interest was expressed in car pooling and it was possible to identify potentially compatible journeys, no-one successfully used the matching service to arrange car pools. However the promotion of the idea encouraged staff to organize their own car pools as evidence by surveyors over the years. Other factors encouraging a switch to more sustainable modes of transport and included: increased access restrictions in the city centre and a 20% decrease in staff car parking spaces.

Also many staff relocated to houses closer to the City Centre. The key findings for dissemination are that:
-Greater emphasis should be placed on the economic benefits of car pooling to participants
-Databases with other local businesses can help broaden the range of potential pooling partners for those interested. Ultimately Cork City Council concluded that Car Sharing is more attractive option for commuters and post MIRACLES a car-sharing feasibility Study was commissioned. (Cork City Council would be interested in collaborating with other bodies interested in supporting this work).

Additionally Cork City Council decided to promote walking and cycling as part of a Lifestyle Challenge Initiative for Staff post-MIRACLES. Cork City Council also extended this measure to promote better commuting to school by carrying out Travel to School Surveys and promoting sustainable travel options to school kids via European Mobility Week competitions and School Cycle Safety Training.

Other Critical Factors and Recommendations for Successful Mobility Management Policies:
- If promoting car pooling, one challenge is to strike a balance between having a user database extensive enough to increase the likelihood of successful matching- whilst not making it so open that people are wary of strangers.
- It is possible to record origin/destination data on maps and in tables but for long-term sustainability this should be transferred to a GIS type digital map.
- Prior to introducing staff modal shift promotions, it is necessary to research the impacts of uptake on staff car allowances and insurance. Senior Management may need to be persuaded to introduce concessions so that staff are not financially dissuaded from making more sustainable choices. Cycling or Public Transport allowances should also be considered.

Reported by

City Hall, Anglesea Street
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