Travel Planning and Green Travel Plans

Travel Planning

Various titles have been used to describe the principle of Travel Planning including Smarter Choices, Green Travel Plans, Sustainable Travel Plans or just plain Travel Plans. The whole subject of Travel Planning is in its relative infancy. The oldest travel plans were developed in the mid 1990s.

John Elliott had a major role in developing the whole subject area with his work at a major London Borough and in the late 1990s for Pfizer whose travel plan is still held up to be an examplar. However his understanding of what works and doesn’t has been shaped over a much longer period starting with working on Central London’s transport problems from the mid 1970s – central London can only function if the maximum attention is given to sustainable transport as opposed to the motor car (In central London only 10% of journeys are by car and yet already 25% of the land is used for roads!).

All too often travel plans are written just to tick the boxes for a planning application however a well constructed Travel Plan can have a number of long term advantages to an organisation if it is designed to complement the business activities of that organisation.

John Elliott Consultancy, unlike most consultancies, has been involved from within companies in designing, developing and implementing travel plans. These sometimes take a little longer but then require less administration and more importantly complement the HR, parking, travel, environmental and CSR policies and activities of the organisation.

Travel Plans an overview

Why are travel plans prepared?

The first and most obvious reason is that they are needed to get planning approval, however there are many other reasons for all organisations to produce travel plans:

  • A shortage of parking places for staff
  • Parking space costs a lot - typically £500 - £2000 per space per annum
  • Environmental damage and pollution from excess
  • Traffic congestion, with all its wasted time lack of reliability of journeys and missed meetings, will not be solved unless we reduce traffic particularly at peak times times (Increasing road capacity is a very short term fix that normally causes more congestion elsewhere - Roads Generate Traffic article - see pages 3 and 28 onwards)
  • As a governmental or local governmental organisation setting an example to local businesses etc and particularly to those that are required to provide travel plans
  • Global warming
  • Health and fitness
  • Community and social responsibility

How do travel plans work?

For an effective travel plan it is necessary to work at :

  • Changing the culture of an organisation to value the environment, fitness, contribution to society etc. and reduce the importance and or status of driving cars.
  • Providing sticks and carrots in the form of benefits to those who use sustainable means of travel and reducing the subsidies, presently given by most organisations, for car use. (e.g. Help with bus fare and bicycle allowances, and reduction of generous allowances for using cars).
  • An integrated holistic approach or joined up approach where for example cyclists have routes, sheds and showers, buses come to the front door of the building, the travel plan is part of the overall environmental policy and the local council provides direct pedestrian routes from the local station.

Can they be successful?

Government research into what could be delivered by travel plans are :

  • A reduction in peak period urban traffic of about 21%
  • A reduction in peak period non-urban traffic of about 14%
  • A nationwide reduction in all traffic of about 11%. Furthermore it states that ‘every £1 spent on well-designed soft measures could bring about £10 of benefit in reduced congestion alone’.

John Elliott Consultancy has had outstanding success in designing travel plans to work with the grain of an organisation, achieved the required planning permission, delivered on parking demand reduction and delivered car traffic reductions - this reached 20% in two and half years at Pfizer and 20% in under 2 years for the London Borough of Southwark.

Department of Transport

Department of TransportA travel plan is a package of measures produced by employers to encourage staff to use alternatives to single-occupancy car-use. Such a plan for example, could include: car sharing schemes; a commitment to improve cycling facilities; a dedicated bus service or restricted car parking allocations.
Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon: Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen

managerThe Local Transport White Paper sets out the Government's vision for a sustainable local transport system that supports the economy and reduces carbon emissions.
Act Travel Wise

Act Travel WiseProfessional membership organisation for promoting and facilitating sustainable travel choices.


Ways to work

Ways to workWays to work is a business to business network promoting sustainable travel and flexible working. Ways to work enables companies to share best practice and promotes the financial, environmental and social benefits of reducing the negative impacts of work-related travel.


Friends of the Earth

staff1Friends of the Earth (EWNI) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) is one of 70 national groups around the world which make up the Friends of the Earth network of environmental organizations.

managerSustrains is a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Sustrans’ vision is a world in which people chose to travel in ways that benefit their health and our environment.