Green Travel Plans

A Green Travel Plans is a suite of initiatives, activities and actions to encourage travel behaviour change. Having a Travel Plan is a valuable resource used to promote and encourage people to choose sustainable transport options such as walking, cycling, car pooling and public transport.


Green Travel Plans

Many organisations have embraced the need for moving to a much more sustainable world and have recognized that reducing transport emissions of their activities and staff travel is important and have willingly developed Travel Plans. Others have realised the benefits: in relations with the local community, staff access and wasteful land use of Parking and have seen Travel Plans’ business benefits

Many development schemes require a Travel Plan, aka Green Travel Plan, as a condition of planning permission.

The fundamental purpose of a Travel Plan is to encourage and facilitate travel to and from the development other than by private motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, moped, motor scooter or taxi) to and from the development, so as to minimise motor traffic, environmental impact (noise, air pollution etc) and consumption of fossil fuels, and (where a development has limited or no on-site parking space) on-street parking.

We have a strong track record in preparing Travel Plans for delivering their benefits and for achieving planning permission in securing approval from planning and highway authorities, and post-implementation monitoring and reporting as required by the authorities.
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Green Travel Plans

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 for Pfizer in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. The Pfizer travel plan is still held up to be an exemplar. 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 less than 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 and other organisations 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:

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 excessive traffic
  • 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 (including air quality)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.