Travel plans for local businesses
Luton’s travel plan accreditation
The council are engaging with businesses in Luton to support developing an Accredited Sustainable Travel Plan, which is a long term strategy to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles. The Travel Plan includes a range of measures to encourage and promote the use of more sustainable modes of transport such as:
- public transport
- car sharing
Six businesses have already completed a live travel plan which has led them to achieve different levels of accreditation through the Modeshift Stars business scheme. Four of these business case studies can be viewed below.
What is Modeshift STARS?
'Modeshift STARS is the Centre of Excellence for the delivery of Effective Travel Plans in Education, Business and Community settings.The STARS Business scheme recognises organisations that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable and active travel.
The STARS Business scheme was developed on the back of the success of STARS Education and launched officially in April 2019. As of January 2020, there are 24 local authorities in England that use the system to develop and monitor workplace travel plans for their areas, using the accreditation element to recognise the delivery of effective Travel Plans.
Modeshift STARS offers National Accreditation for sites that have demonstrated best practice in the implementation of their Travel Plan. Sites are awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditation, with Silver and Gold reserved only for those sites that achieve a reduction in single-occupancy car journeys to/from their site.
London Luton Airport (LLA) have a number of initiatives in place to enable their plans to expand capacity, whilst ensuring such growth is sustainable. Their objective is to move away from single petrol/diesel car use, as well as promoting:
- the use of electric vehicles (EV)
- cycle to work schemes
- walking challenges
EV use is enabled through the installation of charging infrastructure in car parks, with free charging, and LLA subsidise the purchase of bikes, as well as installing infrastructure to enable cycling to work, including bike shelters and shower facilities.
Discounted rail tickets, with 50% off weekly and monthly season tickets are also available and free travel on buses provided.
There are also plans in place to reduce annual permits for EV vehicles from £1250 (the current level for a diesel/petrol vehicle) to £750.
Their anti-idling scheme aims to reduce nitrous oxide levels from airport concessionaires and improvements in air quality have been recorded.
LLA's accreditation platform is Modeshift STARS Portal/Platform, and the organisation currently holds an Approved Travel Plan (Bronze) Accreditation and working towards a Bronze level.
Future plans to lower carbon emissions further include:
- electric running buses to and from the airport
- increasing the frequency of buses and trains
- encouraging a move away from diesel vehicles for Hackney carriages travelling to the airport
- removing buses from mid stay car parks, who used to undertake four trips per hour
- tendering of contracts to embed sustainability
“The award of the Modeshift Stars Bronze Accreditation is a step on our road to a sustainable future, but it is an important one. This is a wonderful example of cross organisational collaboration bringing great results. Sustainability and how this is achieved is at top of our priority list, and this is just one of the many tools we now use.” Danny Williams, Head of Car Parking, London Luton Airport.
NEXT take their corporate responsibility seriously, and aim to address key business-related social, ethical and environmental matters, ensuring they run our business in a responsible way.
They have implemented a number of measures to reduce their carbon emissions as a company, and have a project in place to enable the business to work towards becoming net zero, including:
- staff pledges; asking staff to make these on significant environment related dates
- travel rewards scheme; points can be attained for active travel and exchanged for gift cards.
- promoting key environmental days via social media
- holding competitions around sustainability
- discounts for bus travel with Arriva
For staff, NEXT provide:
- vouchers to travel - £2 at stores, £5 at distribution centres
- gift cards from travel rewards scheme.
- cycle sheds and showers, providing infrastructure for those who wish to cycle
- bus travel discounts with Arriva (10%), Arriva Click (20%), First Bus (12.5%).
Their accreditation platform, Modeshift STARS Portal/Platform, covers their stores at Gypsy Lane and London Luton Airport. NEXT currently holds an Approved Travel Plan (Bronze) Accreditation.
To help lower carbon emissions further in the future, they are:
- investigating possibility of wall mounted cycle racks
- setting targets to reduce single person car travel
- working with Stagecoach to secure discounts for staff travel
- running cycle to work schemes every September
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) are committed to delivering a more sustainable way to operate their railway. They are embracing initiatives to tackle energy and water consumption to manage resources more efficiently, and to taking environment and energy concerns into account in all their decisions, working towards minimising the environmental impact of their business.
As part of their commitment to sustainability and moving towards becoming net zero, in GTR has:
- established cycle hubs at stations
- installed lockable cycle storage for staff
- introduced a Cycle to Work scheme
- introduced EV-charging points at Luton and Luton airport Parkway stations
- introduced E-Bike charging points
- encouraged staff to use Dr Bike, who operates at Luton train station.
- joined Arriva's travel scheme, which provides discounts on bus fares
Their plans for the immediate future in Luton include:
- introducing E-Bike charging facilities
- raising awareness of sustainable travel options which are available to those travelling to Luton
Their platform is Modeshift STARS Portal and they currently hold an Approved Travel Plan (Green) Accreditation and are working towards a Bronze level.
“I decided to buy a bicycle after my employer, Govia Thameslink Railway, launched a Cycle to Work scheme in May. I live within easy cycling distance of the station and with the increase in fuel prices, cycling is much cheaper than driving a car. It’s a good way to keep fit and I’ve noticed my level of fitness improve greatly since I started cycling. I also see it as doing my bit to care for the environment. I also use my bicycle when I’m not working and go on bike rides with my son around the local countryside.”
David Blake, Station Supervisor for Luton station
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) is an acute hospital in Luton run by Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It provides medical and surgical services for over 350,000 people in southern Bedfordshire, the north of Hertfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire.
The L&D recently hosted Dr Bike at their cycle hub, enabling staff to bring their bikes over for a free maintenance check and service and the opportunity to purchase a refurbished bike.
This is one of a number of initiatives that the Trust has implemented at the L&D as part of their overall Green Plan, to make staff aware of their sustainable travel options whilst working with the organisation.
They publish a newsletter part of which focuses on Active Travel, and the options available and encourage hybrid working to reduce emissions from cars.
The key initiatives in place that encourage staff to travel sustainably include:
- public transport season tickets and discounts through participating operators - Arriva are one of the key operators.
- providing the infrastructure to enable cycling to work, such as introducing space to park bikes at the hospital and installing showers.
- liftshare schemes
Their future plans to lower their carbon emissions further include:
- encouraging shared travel as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, such as car sharing
- introducing a Trust scheme encouraging staff to buy electric vehicles through financial incentives
- introducing a Cycle to Work scheme.
- The aim to transition all the Trust's fleet to electric vehicles
Agartha Mruz is a Specialist Nurse in Pain Management, who lives 2.7 miles away and bikes to and from work.
Agartha says, "I ride because it keeps me healthy and active, it is good for the environment and also keeps me from unruly behaviour on the road".
The Trust are using the Modeshift STARS Portal and currently hold an Approved Travel Plan (Green) Accreditation and are working towards a Bronze level.
Luton Council have set a target to reach net zero carbon by 2040. One of the outcomes was the creation of the Travel plan to help reach that set target, including the reduction in car use for staff.
We've already been looking at how this can be achieved through our Travel Plan, Local Plan and Transport Policy which encourages:
- more walking and cycling initiatives
- the use of public transport and electric vehicles
We have a Cycle to work schemes, and discounted bus and rail tickets in place.
Participation in lunch time walks and walking challenges, is encouraged, as iswalking to and from work.
Try cycling hire scheme, where staff can hire a both e-bikes and ordinary cycles for four weeks as well as receive cycle confidence training. There are cycle parking facilities on sites as well as lockers and showers for staff who walk, run or cycle to work. We are continuously promoting sustainable travel events and staff are able to hybrid work where permitted, attending virtual meetings via TEAMS as oppose to travel.
Our accreditation is Modeshift Stars Business, currently hold bronze accreditation for 3 sites.
We are currently investigating the benefits of pool cars, e-bikes and other sustainable travel options for staff travelling to various sites during office hours as part of our future plans to reduce the demand of having to use a car for work.
Nathan Burge, Cycle Promotions Officer, said “My commute to work is about 4 miles from the edge of town to the Town Hall. I choose to ride every time I come into the office and I have a few route options available, some use traffic free routes and others use the road.
Cycling to work allowed me to build some exercise into my day. This helps me switch off from work at the end of the day and reduces any stress I might be feeling. Most days I find I cycle past queueing traffic, giving me a consistent journey time every day no matter what time I leave.
As for the weather, I don’t get rained on very often. Good quality waterproofs overcome that problem on the rare occasion it happens. Plus the town hall and the depot have shower facilities should I need them. And both of these locations have secure cycle storage.
Why not give cycle commuting the try? The council has a cycle hire scheme with E-bike’s and conventional bikes available. There’s also the cycle to work scheme to help with the cost of a bike. If route planning or confidence is a barrier, contact the county cycle training team – they’re there to help.”