Smart travel planning in small workplaces through big data
Commuting remains heavily motorised and individualised in Europe. Efforts to promote more active forms of travel are limited to ad hoc government campaigns, while employers have yet to become fully aware of the potential benefits both for their staff and in terms of reducing overhead costs. Workplace-based travel planning, on the other hand, emphasises cleaner, more active and shared commuting. Following a baseline survey in summer 2014 of REC staff's travel habits, a company mobility plan, including eight integrated measures, was drafted for consultation.
One of the measures was the introduction of a smart travel monitoring tool, which provides big data on the staff's daily mobility patterns. Employees are asked to indicate their means of travel to and from work each time they log in. By putting their responses through an algorithm, depending on their mode of transport and their starting point/destination, the REC derives an overview of their environmental, health and financial performance, which is then graphically reported online in terms of both fuel and money saved, carbon dioxide emitted and saved, and calories burned. Because the monitoring tool collects the daily ride-share data over time, it allows the REC’s mobility manager Jerome Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to annually evaluate whether the mobility plan measures have resulted in a positive modal shift, and if not, where greater efforts are required.
The tool is being piloted at the REC with the aim of eventually sharing it via workshops, guidelines and webinars with other organisations interested in sustainable mobility planning. In the year following the launch of the initiative in 2014, staff commuting by single-occupancy cars fell by 8 percent; the REC's ride-sharing community grew by 3.2 percent; and car use fell by 5 percent. In 2016, the REC saved 25,533.34 kg of CO2 emissions, and EUR 13,370, while staff using more active travel modes burnt 1,736,858.27 calories. Reduced congestion, better air quality and healthier employees are further benefits. The goal is to develop the tool for third parties, and to turn the website into a full mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) portal.