Issue - meetings

(External) Workplace travel planning intervention

Meeting: 17/02/2021 - Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 4)

4 (External) Workplace travel planning intervention pdf icon PDF 348 KB

Additional documents:


Dr Paul Coleman (Public Health Registrar and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Warwick) noted the work that was undertaken with Dr Nadia Inglis (Consultant in Public Health) and the air quality monitors as part of the project. Paul Coleman raised the following points:

  • The scheme took place over a year with 30 employees from Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
  • Air pollution was linked to 28,000-36,000 deaths a year in the UK and was the leading cause of environmental deaths
  • Air pollution was worse in town centres in Warwickshire, especially during commuting periods
  • Air pollution in Warwickshire contributed to 1500 deaths in 10 years
  • More people in Warwickshire traveled by car to work then the national average
  • Over the last decade there was an increase in people using cars for short journeys
  • 63% of people commuted to work by car in the UK, 67% of these journeys were under five miles
  • Shorter journeys contributed most to air pollution
  • The scheme was done with the Universities of Coventry and Birmingham
  • A baseline questionnaire was done in May 2019, followed by air pollution monitors (which contained a GPS giving live information) being worn by participants for two weeks, then 1-1 planning assessments with all participants including journey plans and any cycling training needed
  • After four months another questionnaire was done by participants which showed that participants were driving less, walking/cycling more and were less exposed to air pollution
  • Reasons as to why the participants were not walking/cycling before included: childcare responsibilities, fixed working hours, transporting work equipment, safety concernswith walking/cycling and a lack of secure cycling storage facilities at the workplace
  • Suggestions to make people want to walk/cycle to work included: a park and ride system (for people who wanted to walk to work but lived too far away), being able to leave equipment at work, flexible working hours, financial incentives e.g. council employees getting discounts at cycling shops when bikes are too expensive for them, improved workplace facilities for active travel commuters e.g. showers/changing and clothes drying facilities 
  • The schemes recommendations were as follows:

·       All council staff are encouraged to plan alternative walking, cycling and public transport options for their commute to work before returning to work in central office locations following the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be done via WCC’s Active Travel resource (, which needs to be reviewed regularly. It should also be considered how key elements identified in this study, such as role of air pollution monitors in educating employees about the impacts of air pollution and role of travel planning sessions in changing travel behaviour, can be integrated into future workplace travel interventions.

·       Steps should be taken to continue to address the barriers identified in this study that participants reported as reasons for being unable / unwilling to cycle or walk to work. These include safety concerns and lack of cycle infrastructure, financial incentives (such as discounts at local cycle stores) and improved workplace facilities such as showers, changing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4