Aug 16, 2011
Andrew Budd

Car sharing – can we make it more appealing?

We are promoting smarter driving and car sharing this autumn. But how do we make it appeal to a wider audience? Having looked at other campaigns on the internet, my conclusion is that there are some pretty uninspiring campaigns and images out there. Who wants to see pictures of serious looking folk pretending to car share to work? Where’s the joy, where’s the fun, why would I want to join in? At least the Highways Agency image (above) has a sense of quirkiness, with large numbers of people squeezing into a small car.

In the Travel Plan Club our members have tried different approaches to get people sharing. At one end of the spectrum is linkage to a national database, registering your journeys, setting up blocks so that one only gets acceptable matches, and searching for possibilities. But people often don’t like such processes, and have concerns about strangers, no matter how re-assuring the website tries to be. At the other end of the spectrum is the informal “coffee-morning” approach where people meet other potential rides from people in their company, maybe using much simpler technology –  real cards on real noticeboards – or just meeting actual people!

Of course, both approaches and concerns are valid, and we have to mix and match to get as much take-up as possible. Meanwhile, just up the road, a weird and wacky approach is being tried, a welcome contast to some of the worthy-but-dull approaches found elswhere on the www. Have a look at http://www.sharecarsnotcake.com/news/ to see something being tried in Suffolk.

New approaches are always worth looking at, and we would welcome YOUR ideas.

 

Aug 3, 2011
Andrew Budd

High vis v getting kids on bikes

  

 It’s Sunday morning, 24 July, and the Travel Plan Club members have been invited, with their families, to attend a “Young Explorers” bike ride from the town centre to Friday Woods. It was run to show people the cycle routes, to get people active, and to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes (www.justgiving.com/planetfrank ). As a public event, a risk assessment had been prepared, and one of the options was to offer participants advice on cycling, helmets and high-visibilty vests; and some were available if people hadn’t brought their own.

One parent, in the friendliest possible manner, informed the organisers that if we wanted to get young people cycling, don’t expect them to wear a high-vis jacket, as they will want to put fashion before safety. Bear in mind that this was a led 10 kilometre ride (at a slow pace), with almost every metre off-road, with people wearing bright clothing in perfect visibility conditions.

As with many interventions when trying to bring about changes in transport habits, beware of the unintended consequences. By co-incidence there was a recent news story (link below) about the perpetual cycle helmets debate, with many doctors not supporting proposals that might improve safety, but which would also reduce cycling levels, on balance to the detriment of public health. Of course, we all want to see a reduction in head injuries, and helmets might help, but look at things through ordinary people’s eyes, and think about how they will respond. After all, many of us reading this are motorists, and we too could possibly benefit from wearing helmets when travelling in a car, as many of us suffer head injuries in collisions. Think how you would feel if a road safety person promoted helmets to you as a motorist – what would your reaction be, and what reasons would you use to excuse yourself from this road safety measure? 

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23974179-doctors-dont-make-bike-helmets-compulsory.do

 

Jul 28, 2011
Andrew Budd

Tanks for hosting, Stuart! Club Meeting 20 July

 

Who wants a picture of some people sitting in a Travel Plan Club meeting? No one! That’s why, instead, we have a picture of a transport themed pink elephant sculpture in Copenhagen.

Many thanks to everyone who came along to our Club meeting, and especially to Stuart of DSG for hosting the Club on 20 July. Club business over, Stuart gave us a fascinating tour of his workplace. Travel Plan Club members were particularly impressed with the electric drying cabinet for soggy clothes, the first time Colchester Club members had seen such a machine! And it was good to hear the DSG Pool Bikes are popular. In contrast, it was very sobering to see wrecked army vehicles that had returned from Afghanistan, before refurb or scrapping at the DSG workshops.

And now (drum roll) – Club Business Meeting – the newsy notes: Communications – Visits to our new website were invited, now we’ve launched, and, as you’re here now, WELCOME! We now have full control over making changes, so we can be more newsy and less static. All comments and suggestions for improvements welcomed. We always want to hear your travel stories, so if you have something to share, get in touch. We would like this website to be a place where both members and employees visit and use as a resource, so please promote it at every opportunity.

Club Members say they want to keep up to date via Facebook, so please join our FB group “colchester2020 travel plan club”. You can follow our RSS feed, or join us on Twitter (we are “travelplanclub”). WE PROMISE NOT TO OVERLOAD YOU WITH POSTINGS.

ACTTravelwise (the UK’s premier network for all organisations working to promote sustainable travel) are having their prestigious annual conference at the Uni of Essex – Charlotte was not here to update us, but she will let us know if there’s any help and support needed to ensure the conference is a success. At the Meeting, we discussed whether the Travel Plan Club should put a paper forward, regarding our work and how it has developed over the years, and there were mixed views. On balance we decided not to present, as the Club has very recently moved to running on a new model, more appropriate to the current financial climate and the progress we’ve already made with our Travel Plans, and September will be too soon to report on our (much hoped for) success!

Car Sharing and Smarter Driving Autumn Promotion. A bid has been put forward to DEFR, by the TPC with the Colchester Borough Council air quality team. The outcome will be known in September, and we have a Plan B up our sleeves if we don’t get everything we asked for! The broad plan is that :

· People will be encouraged to save money and reduce their fuel consumption through a Smarter Driving promotion, in work places to make it easy to participate. Borrowing from Charlotte’s  ‘Love your car’ campaign, checks would be offered, of tyre pressure, filters, how much excess weight is being carried etc, along with advice on reducing fuel consumption through driving techniques, buying a new car and considering alternatives to driving, particularly for short journeys. If the bid is successful, free Smarter Driving Lessons can be offered, and an appropriate freebie for participants, such as a “boot tidy”.

· We would like to carry out a more targeted car sharing campaign, perhaps aimed at younger people who may not have the complicated family circumstances which make car sharing difficult. Feedback is being gained through the snap survey to help determine the best age group to target, and the barriers to car sharing. If the funding comes through, thoughts are to get people talking through a short and fun film clip, (put together by Nigel Campling and his local company V102?), promoting car sharing through a recognisably local story line, that could lead to more… think BT ads! The film could be uploaded to You Tube, and the audio used in a radio campaign.

Cycling Update

Thanks to Natalie Blyde who joined us to talk through what Healthy Living Solutions can offer. Basically as long as some free cycle training is included, Dr Bike, maintenance classes and anything else can be added in! The funding won’t be available for ever, and it would be good to make the most of the good weather over the summer. Sessions can be arranged at any time to suit workplaces and individuals. Family sessions can also be arranged. Healthy Living Solutions will make it as easy as possible for you, all you need to do is agree a time and date, and help promote it to staff.

Public Transport Autumn Promotion

· Network Colchester discounts are in the pipeline ranging from 22 – 31% on a range of ticket types. As NC don’t have a call centre or ticket office, larger TPC businesses would have to sell them direct and NC would invoice them for those purchased, with no up front money required. Smaller businesses could purchase them through Andrew and Emily.

· A new offer on First carnet tickets is awaited as stocks are running low. Previously the Travel Plan Club bulk brought at a 35% discount and sold on to Travel Plan Club members. Once an offer is on the table, we will look at whether it can be set up differently this time around.

· We will get the commuter bus map updated to reflect the new routes and produce a promotional flyer including the map and all Travel Plan Club discounts, also posters for members to put up at work places.

· Once the winner of the Greater Anglia rail franchise is known, we will approach them to discuss our 10% discount currently offered by NXEA. A copy of our response to the franchise consultation last year has been forwarded to all three of the Department for Transport’s preferred bidders.

Any Other Business

We had some discussion around the future of the Travel Plan Club, and how we may need to consider formalising our status so that we have our own bank account, governing body, constitution etc to enable us to bid for funding in our own right. Andrew and Emily will be looking into the options.

And there it was, all over, business efficiently done in just over an hour; and time for a DSG tour. Make sure you’re at the next TPC Event on 26 October, and the next TPC Meeting on 25 January 2012.

Jul 18, 2011
emilyharrup

Colour, glamour and a touch of sunshine!

Boudica, William the Conquerer and the Witchfinder General were just some of the colourful and noisy characters who braved the bad weather and joined our ‘sustainable travel’ float.  Luckily a break in the rain meant a dry float and happy children!  Led by a band of exuberant four year old scooterers, the thirty plus strong Travel Plan Club float, walked, cycled and scootered its way along the streets of Colchester amidst the sound of the Samba band and the cheers from the crowd.

Jun 27, 2011
emilyharrup

Strut your ‘sustainable’ stuff at the Colchester Carnival – 16 July

Join our ‘sustainable travel’ float in the Colchester Carnival and be part of a sea of colourful and vibrant walkers, cyclists, scooterers, rollerskaters and skateboarders!!

Our theme is historical characters from Colchester’s early past (Celtic/Roman/Saxon/Norman/Medieval), with the odd mythical dragon thrown in for good measure!

So what better excuse to get out your war paint, chainmail or woad, or if you are of a more gentle  nature your flowing robes and fairytale hats!!!  You can decorate your bike too, perhaps as a chariot, a dragon, a shield wall, or a castle!!!

Let your imagination run riot, historical accuracy is not important but flamboyancy, colour and noise is!!!!

The carnival procession starts at 16:30 from Circular Road North (Abbey Fields) and will make its way to the Castle Park gates along Butt Road, Head St and the High St.  If you would like to join us, or need more info, please get in contact, email Emily and Andrew at travel.plan.club@colchester.gov.uk

Jun 14, 2011
admin

Saddle up in June

June is Bike Month and there are lots of activities to help encourage you onto your bike. Visit the www.bikeweek.org.uk website to find out more. Highlights include:

  • Lots of opportunities for a free Dr Bike check
  • Pledge to cycle more and get a free goody bag from Cycle Colchester
  • Free beginners and refreshers cycle skills sessions
  • Led rides for everyone, gentle, short, long, fast, kid friendly, ladies only and more…
  • Fred Slattern’s Book Bike Club

 

Jun 14, 2011
admin

A sunny walking month was had by (almost) all!

May was a fabulous month for walking, with glorious sunshine pretty much every day (apart from the one day I arranged to take some photos!).  TPC members encouraged their colleagues to step out in lots of creative and varied ways.

CHUFT’s Well Being team introduced a new lunchtime walk linked in with their My Weight Matters campaign. The daily half hour walks, into the lovely High Woods Country Park,  attracted up to ten people each day.

Charlotte at the Uni gave out 210 pedometers  and record cards for her walking challenge held over ten days. 26 people returned their cards to enter the prize draw and between them walked 2,074,940 steps!

26 people took part in Colchester 6th Form’s Walk to Work challenge using the ‘My Living Streets’ walking calculator and clocked up 306 miles over 5 days.

Michelle organised a Team Walking challenge at CBC. Ten teams of seven took it in turns to wear a pedometer for a day to see which team could manage the most steps over  a week.  The teams walked 1,202,792 steps overall. The GIS Star Trekkers were the winning team with 177,709 steps and won themselves a team lunch.

Jun 10, 2011
admin

Intrepid walkers explore Colchester’s historical past

A walking quiz for town centre TPC members sent intrepid walkers off in all directions; exploring the historical ruins of St Botolph’s priory, discovering ammonites in the Roman wall at Duncan’s Gate, striding up Hilly Fields to find out more about the Celts. And exploring the oldest building in town, the saxon Holy Trinity Church tower, the church newly reopened as CO1 cafe.

Thanks to everyone who took part and well done to The Lion Walk Activity Centre who undertook the quiz as a team and who were the first to be picked out of the hat with the correct answers!

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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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