Sustrans today launched its Active Travel workplace toolkit to coincide with the first ever Walk to Work Week. The toolkit also contains a wealth of advice on how employers can encourage their staff to cycle to work too.
Employers can now pick up a step by step guide to improving their workforce’s health and productivity by encouraging staff to walk or cycle to work.
Sustrans' toolkit highlights tried and tested staff travel plans at selected hospitals, superstores, business parks and councils across the UK.
The plans have seen new and novice cyclists take part in cycle training, team up with more experienced cycling colleagues on their journey to work and buy their own bike in a tax free scheme.
Rachel Bromley, Sustrans Active Travel Co-ordinator, said: “Many UK employers now recognise the benefits – to staff and to the business – of encouraging staff to commute in more active ways. The toolkit is packed with clear and up-to-date information, including best practice case studies and ‘how-to’s’ that simplify all the issues involved.
“Physical activity, including walking and cycling, can help reduce sickness absence, improve morale, and increase productivity.”
Lisa Brannan, Project Manager for Leeds UTravelActive, has helped provide new cycle storage and showers among other measures at the city’s universities.
She said: “Walking or cycling to work is one of the easiest ways for staff and students to achieve the daily recommended 30 minutes of activity to benefit their health.
“But it can also be much quicker than driving and journey times don’t vary with traffic.”
An information campaign was launched at Singleton hospital in Swansea to encourage staff to try out walking and cycling, after a travel survey identified more than 100 workers who drove to work lived within two miles.
Joanna Davies, Deputy Director of Planning at ABMU NHS Trust West, said: “Investing money on walking and cycling infrastructure and staff facilities has increased the number of people actively commuting to work.
“We consider this investment excellent value for money and are keen to make similar improvements at our other sites.”
Sustrans’ toolkit includes evidence of the need for active travel. During 2007, 172 million days were lost to the British economy due to sickness at a cost of £20 billion to the business and public sector. Currently only 40% of men and 28% of women are reasonably active.
The toolkit - which can be ordered or downloaded at www.activetravel.org.uk/toolkit - sets out how other organisations have encouraged staff to travel actively to work including Leeds University, Singleton Hospital, Stirling Council and B&Q.
Further information about Sustrans, including other news releases and detailed online route mapping, is available through our website: www.sustrans.org.uk
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.