My Green Life

Offer alternatives to the car

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Car parking costs money - either for your business (if you provide staff parking) or for your staff if they use public car parks. By offering your staff commuting alternatives to the car you can reduce your costs and help the environment.

A single off-street car parking space provided for staff can cost a business up to $10,000 each year. Most public parking in the city costs over $10 a day, which equates to more then $2,400 each year, without taking into account the cost of fuel and other running costs.

Alternatives to the car are more likely to be successful at workplaces where:

  • there is limited access to free and ample parking spaces.
  • there is access to public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure
  • people travel from similar areas.

It is also important to investigate whether people are willing to change their travel behaviour.

How to do it now!

There are many things you can do to encourage staff to leave the car at home and to pick up public transport options for work related transport.

Understand your staff’s transport profile and your parking costs

The best starting point is to clearly understand the cost and use of your current parking and fleet arrangements. This provides a guideline to the financial benefit of reduced parking and fleet use to your business.

Demand and willingness to participate can then be assessed based on the incentives and benefits that your organisation can provide. By making savings in parking costs it becomes possible to direct a portion of these savings toward offering staff incentives to leave their cars at home.

Next, ask your staff their level of interest in one (or several) of the following alternatives to driving:

  1. Riding;
  2. Carpooling; and/or
  3. Public transport.

Engaging your staff in a discussion about how they travel to the workplace and their travel preferences can be an effective way of gauging which option is the preferred option – and what incentives, if any, may be required.

This can be done informally or through a formal process. Once you have a sense of which option is preferred the proceeding with one (or several) of the following programs would start the migration away from driving:

Encourage riding to work – to encourage your staff to ride to and from work you may need to install lockable undercover bike racks and change rooms.

Find out about about cycling routes to and from your business. Cycling can be a daunting proposition for people who don’t ride often or aren’t aware of safe cycle paths around the city. By providing staff with information and showing them how safe and easy cycling can be, you will encourage them to make the switch.

Incentives to encourage staff to ride to work

  • Business support for quarterly ride to work days where riders are rewarded with a free breakfast;
  • Business sponsorship for a staff riding team in local competitions;
  • Business support for fund raising rides and participation in the annual ride2work day; and
  • Other business incentives might include bikes and cycle gear.

The Bicycle Network site offers great information and tips to encourage bike use, bike parking equipment, etc…

Encourage public transport use – Public transport is an easy alternative to the car. When encouraging staff to use public transport understand any barriers to their uptake, and if possible assist their solution. For example, allowing some staff to start and finish work early can make commuting via Public transport easier.

Incentives to encourage staff to use public transport to work

  • Business contribution toward staff tickets
  • Business support for quarterly Public Transport to work days where “public transporters” are rewarded with a free breakfast.

Encourage carpooling to work – Invite staff to indicate their interest in carpooling and where they are travelling to work from on bulletin boards or through staff emails.

Alternatively, there are several online carpooling database sites that have many members, increasing the likelihood of finding a car of people traveling to and from similar locations.

There are a number of online resources to help you find your ideal car-pooling team:

Incentives to encourage staff to car pool

  • Business paying for the staff members’ membership to a carpooling site
  • Business provides a "priority" parking space for the “carpoolers” car.

Further Information

  • Bike Parking Experts – specialise in bicycle fixing rails and associated metal work for the building and construction industry.

Why is this action important?

Parking spaces are an expense that can be reduced by encouraging staff to use an alternative to the car. This in turn reduces the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and can save your business and/or staff hundreds of dollars each year.

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