– Oct 2009 University of Essex Transport Policy Sub-Committee (TPSC) Update Introduction

University of Essex Transport Policy Sub-Committee (TPSC) Update – Oct 2009
July to October has been particularly focused on working with Travel Plan Club (TPC) members
on organising promotional and launch events for different sustainable transport modes, working
on the finalisation and implementation of the train discount scheme and researching how the
TPC can better market their offers.
The TPC team carried out research into several car park management organisations in support
of the University’s procurement process for appointing a new provider. Since September and
Jo’s return from annual leave, work has commenced on the events and projects outlined in the
last report to TPSC.
The TPC are pleased to welcome Charlotte to the group, with her wealth of experience her input
will be really valuable. We are also pleased that the TPC now has a member with a dedicated
full time post focused on Travel Planning and Transport Strategy. We hope that this will inspire
other members to rethink how much resource they are dedicating to taking forward their travel
The TPC team assisted the University in organising an event to promote and support walkers
branded Unwind and Work Out, Walking in. Staff and students walking in on the 22nd September
were offered a free muffin and hot drink or a buy one get one free big breakfast if they brought a
colleague in who didn’t usually walk. Walkers plotted their route on a map and came from many
directions, some as far afield as Maldon Road, but the majority coming from Wivenhoe. There
was a good turn out with around 44 attending the event. Although most were existing walkers,
there were several who tried walking for the first time. Useful feedback was gained from the
walkers regarding routes, issues they experience, why they walk etc which can feed into the
walking map which the TPC will be developing, and in forming a University Walkers network.
The TPC team will soon start developing the walking map in time for a Spring 2010 launch. The
map will be developed in partnership with the Primary Care Trust and potentially other parties
who also have an interest in this subject.
Public Transport
Various public transport offers developed through the Travel Plan Club, the Students’ Union and
the University are now available which, in combination offer an attractive package to staff.
Salary advance scheme for staff purchase of a bus or train season ticket;
10% discount on train season tickets;
10% discount on flexible train carnets offering 20 or 30 journeys over 1 month;
Two zone Unicard annual First bus season ticket, zone 1 being for £129;
35% discount off First travel carnet offering 12 journeys over one month.
The University has launched the salary advance season ticket scheme and the 10% train
discount scheme will be launched soon. Negotiation continues with NXEA to increase the level
of discount offered. To date the standard 10% has been offered with no clear indication of what
level of take up we need for them to increase this, despite raising this issue a number of times.
Following the most recent meeting it is clear that a target level does not exist and therefore the
TPC, in partnership with ECC (who are representing all of their staff throughout Essex) will put
their own case forward to NXEA as to the discount we feel is appropriate and the evidence base
to back it up. The TPC and ECC will write formally to NXEA senior managers and will include
evidence showing:
Post code mapping of all TPC members to indicate numbers of staff living close to
railway stations;
Relevant information from the most recent survey;
Overview of how the work of the Colchester2020 Travel Plan Club supports the strategy
to promote sustainable transport and specifically train travel, included in the Cycle Town
project, East Colchester regeneration and Hythe Station use, Station Travel Plan pilot,
the North Station master plan and North Colchester Business Parks Area Travel Plan;
Details of TPC member travel plans and how parking is discouraged
A discount scheme for travel carnet tickets offered by Network Colchester, the other main
provider of bus routes in Colchester is to be negotiated.
Car sharing
The TPC team have post code mapped University staff to identify where large clusters of staff
live to use in a more focused way to promote car sharing. A pilot is planned for later in
November where staff living in Brightlingsea and West Mersea (two areas where public transport
to the University is not easy but where lots of staff live) will be invited to an event where they can
meet people living in the same area and see if car sharing would suit them. The University’s
section on the Liftshare site of the Colchester2020traveltogether.com would be used. Liftshare
are also organising a ‘Get me home for Christmas’ student promotion from late November that
the University intends to promote in association with the Students’ Union.
Business Travel
To date the TPC’s focus has mainly been on staff journeys to and from work. However Business
Travel is also a huge generator of car trips, mileage and carbon emissions, as well as
presenting a significant cost to all Travel Plan Club members. Through allowing staff to use their
own private cars for business travel, carbon emissions are potentially even higher where older
and more polluting private vehicles are used.
Essex County Council has developed a business travel decision tree which the TPC are keen to
encourage members to adopt as policy within their organisations. This requires staff to evaluate
every business trip individually against the business travel decision tree and work out whether
they need to travel at all and if so what the most sustainable transport option would be to
undertake their particular journey.
In order to start discussion on this subject, and gain agreement in principal that the Business
Travel Tree concept is a good starting point for beginning to reduce Business Travel, attached
to this report is the decision tree, broadly adapted to the University. Lines in italics indicate
areas where links would need updating. The decision tree also incorporates use of the car club
car based on site.
Car Club launch to wider University
The car club car was launched for personal use by University Staff via an email towards the end
of term offering a summer deal. This did not result in any new members. However, the email
went out right at the end of term and was not accompanied by any other promotional material.
Over the summer an article was written for Wyvern for the start of term. With Dan Satterwaite
leaving to join VSO and Jo off over the summer, promotion has been limited. Now Charlotte is in
post, plans can be put in place for a concerted marketing campaign for personal use by staff
and business use by other departments. If staff are enabled to use the car club car for
authorised business use by their departments, it will remove the necessity for staff to use their
own cars to come to work on account of off-campus business travel purposes. Incorporating the
car club car into the business travel decision tree will further improve usage. Wombat is
currently planning a house to house leaflet campaign for Greenstead and Wivenhoe and
promotion of the Uni car club car via various groups in Wivenhoe.
Survey work
The two yearly staff survey is due in May 2010. At the recent Travel Plan Club meeting
surveying students was discussed, as participation was low in the previous survey due to the
timing. It was agreed that November was the best time to survey students and that the
opportunity should not be missed this year for some type of survey. Therefore a survey is being
put together with the intention of sending it out later in November.
The High Woods cycle route was completed and launched in early October with a stakeholder
event at the Community Stadium, and a family event at High Woods Country Park including a
route quiz to encourage families to try out the route. A new map for the route has been designed
and is being used as a pilot with feedback invited before other segmented maps are developed.
The link to the town centre remains to be completed however this relies on Network Rail
undertaking work and the sale of the former Cowdray centre land. Improvement works in Kings
Meadow, part of the town link, is taking place.
Improving signage around Greenstead is the current infrastructure project and a segment map
will be developed for this area, which will be useful for the University. A town centre map is also
under development. The new style maps are focused on being user friendly for new cyclists, key
routes are shown rather than all routes, plus places of interest, bike parking, crossing points etc.
Other Travel Plan Club work
Significant challenges are currently faced by the majority of TPC members at the moment with
regard for the demand for and availability of car park space. The TPC team are working
particularly closely with Colchester Borough Council, North East Essex Primary Care Trust,
Colchester Institute and Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust to find better ways of
promoting their travel plans and introducing more effective car park management.
The North Colchester Business Park area Travel Plan being funded by the Highways Agency
and project managed by AECOM was launched in September with support from the Club. A
steering group has now been formed with representatives from a number of businesses on the
Park to start taking forward the promotion of travel initiatives and improvements on the estate.
The Cycle Colchester project is still taking up a lot of TPC team time as Andrew Budd is chair of
the Communications group. The TPC relationship to the project is now under review as there is
other work that the TPC team need to be concentrating on in supporting members, attracting
new members and developing initiatives. The associate membership package is still under
development and will be piloted with Palladian Press, COLBEA and DSG who are the small
businesses that are now part of the club.
Following attendance at some inspiring social marketing workshops and a reassessment of the
success of marketing undertaken to date, the TPC team are keen to work towards a more
segmented and targeted approach to marketing next year. Colchester Borough Council has
software available to help in this process, which the TPC are able to use. It is anticipated that
targeted messages will be more effective than the general marketing that has been undertaken
so far.
Feedback is welcomed from TPSC, and TPSC is requested to endorse the proposals
made specifically for the University.
Emily Harrup & Andrew Budd
Colchester2020 Travel Plan Coordinator team