Browsing articles in "changing habits"
Feb 15, 2012
Andrew Budd

Weather alert! Business as usual?

See snow as an opportunity! Many of us will struggle on, in our attempts to carry on our working day with business as usual. And we salute those who have made great efforts to arrive at their workplace, to maintain a service to customers during challenging weather. But for some of us, maybe this is the great opportunity to try new working methods? Do we need to travel to do our job? Can we work from home, at least some of the time? There’s never a better chance to give it  try, when some of the roads are closed from snowfall or ice.

Maybe winter’s nearly over, but the kipper nailed to my door frame tells me there will be more snow before summer’s here. So lay ahead, and think how you can best plan working from home when nature decides that it’s out turn again to have lots of snow.

And many thanks to those who still have to forge a way to their usual workplace. Hopefully your passage is eased by lower volumes of traffic on the roads.

Feb 5, 2012
Andrew Budd

Money for cycling – your ideas wanted.

Calling all dreamers! There is some funding available for cycling in Colchester. Rosemary Wilkins, Essex County Council Cycling Officer, has tirelessly shared information about this over the last three months, and the deadline for applications is drawing near.

The Travel Plan Club has been gathering ideas, and has bid for schemes such as :

  • Funds for Colchester Cycling Campaign for saddle cover freebies and event reservations, to help their volunteers when attending local events.
  • Fred Slattern’s Bike Book Club – bringing in new people to cycling in Colchester
  • Cycle Challenge web based competitive event for local employers to get their employees cycling
  • Young Explorers’ Ride – a family event to Friday Woods
  • Bikeability – cycle training for adults
  • “double our cyclists” campaign for local cyclists to sign up a non-cycling friend
  • treasure trail for the summer
  • new cyclepaths at North Colchester Business Parks
  • “summer of cycling” local leaflet of events, also linked with Bike Week and to complement the Olympics.
Please contact us as soon as possible if you have an idea, and would like to make a bid.

 

Jan 31, 2012
Andrew Budd

Health, Work and Wellbeing – event 8 Feb 2012

A healthy workforce is good for your employees, for the wider community, and for your business. There’s a Health, Work and Wellbeing event at Eight Ash Green, run by the “Business in the Community” organisation, and “NHS northeast Essex”. It will be in the morning of 8 February, and will include lunch. Please follow the link for details, and book your FREE place. There will be a series of interesting presentations, some market stalls, and opportunities to network. See you there…..

http://www.bitc.org.uk/events/health_work_.html

Nov 14, 2011
emilyharrup

Meet our NQE Business Awards Finalists

 

This year the Travel Plan Club, along with ECC and Inntel, have sponsored the Active and Sustainable Travel category in the prestigious NQE business awards

Having choosen nine finalists we followed this up with a visit to each.  It’s been great finding out all the different things they are doing to promote sustainable and active travel.  Here is a snippet of some of the best bits!

Open Road a charity providing drug and alcohol treatment makes great use of  Skype to deliver training between its centres and to hold meetings. This has greatly reduced its business travel costs and overtime payments.

The whole ethos of Green Path Ventures  is to give new experiences to, and build confidence of, people with mental health problems, through being outside, physical activity, social interaction and teaching bush craft skills.

To complement what they already do to encourage their staff to be more active  Click4Quote are considering installing a Wii in their staff kitchen to promote lunchtime activity over the winter months!

DSG have been monitoring their business travel related CO2 emissions and can show a big drop since they introduced video conferencing and other new working practices across all their sites.

An innovative bike maintenance workshop and mobile maintenance trailer which is going to offer bike repairs to local schools,  attracted a recent ministerial visit at The Gilberd School

Discounted D locks, pumps, cycle maintenance equipment, disounts in local bike schops and the Cycle to Work scheme are offered at Colchester VI Form College to help encourage cycling.

The University of Essex has doubled the number of students cycling to campus over the past couple of years through their termly cycle promotions including cycle training, Dr Bike, cycle watch scheme and the sale of second hand bikes.

Income from charging staff to park at Colchester Borough Council is used to offer staff choosing to regularly travel to work sustainably, 50% off bus season/carnet tickets and 35% off train travel.

Colchester United Football Club are really listening to their fans and tailoring services to suit,  there are now shuttle buses from Greenstead, St Johns, Highwoods and Butt Road plus a coach coming from Braintree. As many as 24% of fans now travel to a game by bus

So that’s it, our finalists in a nutshell.  It has been incredibly difficult to decide three winners as everyone is doing such good work. All will be revealed at the awards ceremony on Friday 25th November.  So good luck to you all and have a great evening!

Nov 8, 2011
Andrew Budd

Cutting Carbon at Sixth Form College

The Sixth Form College has been hosting meetings since 1912.  Here’s a gathering of the Colchester Flat Cap and Bicycle Clips Society in 1921.

Carbon emissions are a global problem. But what’s happening locally? Club Members were shown round Sixth Form College by Keith Ellis. He’s the guy that’s busy putting in place environmental projects at the College, making sure new developments follow good environmental principles, and also greening the older parts of the College and grounds.

And what about Travel Planning? The College is in an ideal location  for “anything but the (solo) car”. With its central location there are frequent buses to most of Colchester, cycle routes and parking, walking distance to main line and branch line railway stations – and limited car parking space. So, well done Keith and colleagues, for all the good work you have delivered at the College.

“Cutting Carbon Emissions From Travel” was the theme for the TPC Event at VIth Form College. Rachel Brody from Essex County Council shared infromation about their “Business Travel Decision Tree”, which clearly sets out the organisation’s policies on what form of transport must be used for different trips. Check on this link for an introduction to ECC’s “Helping You Create a Business Travel Plan” publication.

“Inntel” shared with us, the services their company can offer. They currently provide a travel and accommodation booking service for Essex CC. They could save your company money through the good deals that they have negotiated, and reducing the time spent by your staff on such matters.

“Smarter Driving” included a local car-sharing campaign which we expect to run in 2012. We will be using part of an award from DEFRA, won by the TPC in partnership with Colchester Borough Council, in connection with improving air quality. Nigel Campling of V102 ran through his ideas for a video clip which we plan will become viral, especially for the target group – the 18-30s who have the best potential for car sharing. It will be tested with that group in December, and launched in January.

On the buses, Emily described new deals with local bus operators, the new timetables and routes, and the soon-to-be-released TPC bus map. The Travel Plan Club is the only source of a detailed bus map for Colchester, showing the frequent routes operated locally. Maybe, at some stage in the future, the bus operators or the highway authority will be able to produce such a map for their customers, but at present it’s only your TPC who are prepared to run with this bus-baton. When it’s completed we will share a link with you. In the meantime here’s the best travel planner we know of.

TPC members gave updates on car sharing schemes and pool bikes, before the final item, the “Legs Eleven” walking promotion for North Colchester Business Parks. Justin Lewis of Vacuumatic outlined the project so far. We have now secured enough funding to be confident we can make it happen, so look out for it in the New Year.

And finally, the tour of the College. Thanks again Keith for hosting. Our next Meeting is on 25 January 2012, where we will be planning our work and targets for the year – can you host?  Our next Event is pencilled in for April – do you have a theme you would like us to explore?

 

Oct 25, 2011
Andrew Budd

It’s not about the bike

It’s not about the bike, or the bus, or the car. Working in the field of travel planning we can sometimes get so engrossed in bus discount tickets, car sharing parking spaces and the minutiae of bicycle deals (salary sacrifice, VAT, residual value, tax liability and so on…..). We overlook the human aspect at our peril, if we expect that people are going to change their lifestyles, from their less than ideal but maybe fairly comfortable current arrangements.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea” Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

So here’s a picture taken at the Hoge Veluwe National Park, in the east of The Netherlands. An area of rolling countryside, heaths, woods and sand dunes. Inaccessible by car, but threaded with a narrow ribbon of tarmac, taking you by bike to a place of total peace. And when you arrive at the loftiest spot, there’s a high chair that lifts you just that bit further, and the horizon spreads many more kilometres. Follow my dream, and sit in that chair.

(And for those who really are interested in the bike, it’s a 1983 Raleigh Metro, 3-speed hub-gear ladies’ bike, with original steel mudguards, chainguard, cranks, rims and bars, updated only by Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture-proof tyres. An unglamorous machine, but low maintenance and reliable.)

Sep 30, 2011
emilyharrup

Pulp Friction joins giant inflatables!

It was a gloriously sunny day on Wednesday for Colchester Institute’s Freshers’ Fair.

Luckily for us we found a shady spot to set ourselves up, having transported the smoothie maker plus all the fruit to the event in a bike trailer!  Pulp Friction joined an array of strange and energy demanding inflatable fun things and offered a welcome  break and much needed energy boost for weary and hot students fresh from their surfing, bumper cars and this other thing – which I couldn’t quite work out, but having done some googling have discovered was an inflatable laser quest – picture above!

There were plenty of students prepared to pedal for their smoothies, but plenty also that were happy for someone else to pedal one for them! Pulp Friction got a good thrashing from some of the more enthusiastic lads and at times had to be held down to stop the whole bike and turbo trainer from taking off – some serious rubber was burnt!

180 smoothies were made and we ran out of fruit at around 3.  We attempted to do a short travel survey and managed to pin down 84 students, who completed the survey with varying degrees of attention, so the results are a little random! We did at least get how they travelled to campus,  and the top three ways to travel were bus at 42%, train at 20% and walk at 19%.

So Colchester Institute Freshers’ fair is over and we are due to be at the University of Essex’s Freshers’ Fair on Saturday 8th October – sadly we will not have Pulp Friction with us, as she is already booked, but it does mean we will have some time to actually talk to the students!

 

Sep 5, 2011
Andrew Budd

Holland not coming our way any day soon……..

“There are two possibilities – either to change the way we build our cities, which is a very far-reaching kind of project, or else we make up for their deficiencies by looking at them in a different way.”

August Endell was a painter and architect, who wrote “The Beauty of the Big City”, about Berlin in the 1920s. And here we are, Colchester a cycle town from 2008, and planning for Colchester 2020. Cycle Colchester project is a partnership between the local authorities and the voluntary sector, and the Colchester project continues even though the current government decided not to continue their financial support for the cycle town concept.

There have recently been some observations that we have not yet created Dutch infrastructure in Colchester. Ah yes, Holland, that heaven on earth where people can cycle from everywhere to everywhere else, in complete safety, happy and smiling all the time. Here’s an inspirational link from Copenhagen http://youtu.be/RCDV-7QWt6Q showing it is entirely possible to create places where many people choose to cycle.

There are some people in Colchester who will say that Colchester is too hilly, too wet or too cold for cycling, despite there being plenty of places that have much more adverse conditions, and much more cycling.  There are others who say “it’s too dangerous, and I won’t cycle until I can get from my home to —– (insert your destination here), until there is a dedicated off-road cyclepath from door to door”. Well the path ain’t going to happen sometime soon, and probably never will.

It’s back to Wendell, and how we respond to our city as it is; lovely but imperfect. I suggest that very many journeys in Colchester can NOW be made by bike, with relatively good ease and safety, if we are prepared to give it a go. If people want to make that change from HABITUAL car use, and use their bike for SOME of the journeys, for many of us, we CAN do it. There is plenty of information out there about equipment and training, and lots of information about cycle routes. 

When we look at the Danes in the video link, remember that the Danes have HIGHER car ownership than we do, it’s just that they don’t choose to use the car for ALL trips. (I have cycled in their smaller, Colchester scale, cities – Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense – and it’s not just a Copenhagen thing.)

OK, we don’t have a full network in Colchester of dedicated cycle routes for all possible trips, but we do have hundreds of miles of quiet roads that are safe to use by bike, and some very useful links through green spaces. We can wait until the perfect path is provided, but I suggest we, as a community, should be getting the benefits of cycling now.

We need more people, using bikes for more kinds of journeys, more of the time. Cycle Colchester isn’t just about “them”, the authorities; it’s also about “us”, the members of our community, and what WE do.

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog posting is my own personal opinion. Feel free to comment.

Aug 30, 2011
emilyharrup

Great news – 53% of our members travel to work sustainably!!

Thanks to those Travel Plan Club members who participated in our recent Snap Shot Travel Survey.  We asked you how you had mainly travelled to work over the past month.  A fantastic 53% of you came to work on your bike, on foot, by bus, train and carshare or you worked from home.

The most common ways to travel sustainably were by bike and foot (12% each) and by bus and carshare (10% each).

So, only 47% of you drove alone to work, and amongst the drivers an impressive 39% also did their bit for sustainable transport and got to work another way at least three times during the month.  Bus, carshare and working from home were the most popular alternatives.

An incredible 91% of you are aware of your organisation’s efforts to promote sustainable travel for the journey to work.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey and congratulations to Anita Steinberg from the University who wins the Chocolate Studio voucher and Mandy Wood from Colchester Borough Council who wins a meal for two at the CO1 cafe in town.  

 Photo from workabilitymanagement.com

Aug 24, 2011
Andrew Budd

“21st Century” national event coming to Colchester

 
‘Transport in the 21st Century’ is the theme of a conference being held at the University of Essex. The event will explore the implications of future transport policy and how sustainable travel interventions will need to advance in order to address the growing environmental demand. Presentations and workshops will showcase developing solutions to achieving reductions in carbon such as the ECOSTARS Fleet Recognition scheme, the Pan European cycle logistics project and the development of high-speed cycle lanes as seen in the Netherlands. Future technology will also feature with a demonstration of developments in mobile phone applications for travel planning. However, enhancements to traditional travel planning interventions will also be highlighted with a new twist on behavioural change and an interactive workshop on motivational interviewing.
 
The event will be run by ACT TravelWise (Association of Commuter Transport) on Friday, 30th March 2012. For more information about this organisation and the Colchester event, check out http://www.acttravelwise.org/home
 
Colchester2020 Travel Plan Club could have some involvement on the day – watch out for details……….
 
(Photo from http://www.care4air.org/eco_stars_profiles.html, we look forward to finding out about your scheme.)
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What’s coming up?

5 - 19 May Colchester Walking Challenge

10 - 25 June Colchester Cycle Challenge

(10 - 17 June National Bike Week)

14 June CTPC members meeting

15 June National Clean Air Day

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