Getting Started with Sustainable Travel
New to active and sustainable travel in the workplace and not sure where to start? Here are some of the first things to think about.
Change your Commute
Become a sustainable travel champion in your workplace and feel the benefits to your health and your pocket, whilst doing your bit for your local environment.
If you work mainly from home, think about how you could still change your behaviour to feel the benefits of getting active – for example by instigating walking meetings with colleagues or introducing a pseudo active commute into your working from home routine. Find support and resources on our Employee page.
If there are barriers to you making your commute more sustainable, talk to your employer about it.
Do your organisational policies prioritise sustainability when it comes to business travel? Look into how you could make this work in practice, for example through offering a shared bike or e-bike scheme, reimbursing mileage for cycling, or running a shared car club.
For commuting, offer the flexibility to work from home, and encourage active travel through incentives for walking and cycling to work such as free breakfast or offers from businesses you partner with. If you already offer a Cycle to Work scheme, could you focus on making public transport a more viable option through subsidising tickets for employees? If you have car parking, think about introducing lift sharing for work, freeing up some space for secure cycle parking or a parklet.
Infrastructure & Facilities
Make sustainable travel options visible and viable, by improving the facilities your workplace offers. This could be accessible gates and well-lit paths for walking, secure cycle storage, lockers and showers.
If you’re installing storage, make sure to locate this in desirable and accessible places e.g., by the entrance. Look into getting funding for making this happen, such as through Cycling Friendly Employer.
Do your communications materials include information for colleagues on active and sustainable travel? Update your messaging to reflect how you’d like staff and visitors to travel sustainably, including directions to your office for walking, cycling and public transport. Display this messaging in order of the sustainable travel hierarchy and embed this in HR onboarding and induction processes.
Engage with colleagues at events, share local maps, put up posters in communal areas and encourage regular internal communications. Make sure it is obvious to colleagues that they can make active and sustainable travel choices for work.
Fleet & Deliveries
When decarbonising your fleet, consider replacing vehicles with e-bikes or e-cargo bikes. These can oftentimes be quicker than cars and vans, amongst other benefits.
If you need to continue using fleet vehicles, make sure these are electric. Funding for businesses is available for purchasing electric vehicles and installing charging points. For procurement and deliveries, investigate partnering with a cargo bike courier, rather than a delivery company that uses vans – Farr Out Deliveries in Edinburgh is a good example.
Enthuse and enable staff to leave their car at home, by running events and taking part in challenges.
Invite Way to Work or one of our partner organisations to do a pop-up event in your workplace. Or get colleagues involved in some healthy competition by signing your workplace up to take part in a challenge. Don’t forget you can join up with national events like National Walking Month, Bike Week and Cycle to Work Day.
Does your workplace have a strong environmental drive or a keen interest in the physical and mental wellbeing of colleagues? Try to tap into the wider agenda and use existing groups or forums, like Healthy Working Lives.
Consider how active and sustainable travel can benefit the organisation. Every workplace should be heading towards our national target of Net Zero by 2045. As Scotland’s main source of emissions, transport should be put at the centre of our action plans.
What could your workplace do to support or develop active and sustainable travel initiatives in your community? Think about how your workplace could be a voice for your employees and advocate for local infrastructure.
If there are no good public transport links to your workplace, talk to the local provider. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel – consider first how you could tie in with existing infrastructure or local groups.
Remember there are many organisations across Scotland with the expertise to guide and support you with any aspect of this.