What is a travel plan?
A travel plan is a package of measures produced to act as a tool to manage the transport needs of an organisation. They aim to promote the use of sustainable travel modes for travelling to and from a site, reducing the need for single occupancy car use. Typically a travel plan will contain initiatives and incentives such as car sharing schemes, subsidised public travel tickets, cycle parking and/or attractive washing and changing facilities.
A travel plan requires a clear set of targets for the use of the various travel modes, with clear and concise deadlines for when these targets will be achieved by. The primary target will be to reduce the use of single occupancy car travel to an agreed level within an agreed time period, as approved by the local authority.
For existing sites, current travel patterns can be obtained through travel surveys. For new or proposed developments, travel patterns will need to be projected based upon transport assessments and/or similar developments elsewhere. Targets previously outlined can then be amended based upon actual travel behaviour as the development comes into use, as part of the development of a full travel plan.
Why do I need a travel plan and what are the benefits?
A travel plan can be a necessity that is required in order to secure planning permission. They are increasingly being written into the planning conditions of the planning agreement. A successful travel plan will influence travel behaviour and will achieve a modal shift towards increased use of sustainable transport modes. This in turn will combat any highway congestion issues that your organisation may face and could help improve the efficiency of aspects such as deliveries and staff access to your site.
This modal shift towards sustainable transport will also help to relieve stress put on car parking at your site. This can tackle problems that you may face with the cost of expansion of your car park and over crowding of the car park. Like many sites within the UK you may be experiencing high levels of congestion both on and off your site, especially during peak travel periods. This congestion brings with it hidden costs, be it fuel costs, the amount of time staff spend in traffic queues and extra costs associated with moving goods, just to name a few. The travel plan can also help to reduce company travel costs simply by reducing the need to travel through the introduction of systems such as video-conferencing and organising business travel expenditures.
The travel plan can improve the organisations environmental image, making your company a more attractive employer. Over time, simply through the up take of the travel plan, your staff can become healthier, making them more efficient and statistically resulting in them taking less sick days. So it’s not just the employer that reaps benefits, it’s the staff as well.
Background to Travel Plans
The Government’s White Paper ‘A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone’ (July 1998) promoted Travel Plans as a way of reducing traffic and easing congestion problems on the country’s roads. The publication of the Planning Policy Guidance Note on Transport (PPG13) reaffirmed the Government’s desire to see the widespread use of Travel Plans as a way of delivering its sustainable transport objectives.
Solihull’s Local Plan (SLP) sets out Solihull MBC’s objectives for transport and contains policies that aim to foster better transport integration, improve safety, promote the economy, reduce congestion, improve accessibility and social inclusion, and protect the environment.
The application of effective Travel plans associated with new and expanded development plays a vital role in achieving the LTP objectives. A well designed Travel Plan can contribute to the development of improved transport service provision, enhanced site accessibility, and increased use of sustainable travel options.