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New Plymouth CBD workers keen on sustainable transport

By : Voxy.co.nz|Updated: 2011-11-18

Many workers in New Plymouth's CBD travel to work by bike or by walking - and there is plenty of room to develop this 'active travel' culture.

New Plymouth District Council has completed a survey of those who work in New Plymouth's CBD, as a first step to helping smaller businesses develop travel plans for their employees.

The aim is to enable businesses to identify how to encourage workers out of personal cars and onto buses, bikes, rideshare, or to walk or jog.

"Some larger organisations are already working on travel plans but it can be difficult for smaller businesses to put in the resources to make this planning worthwhile," says Let's Go Travel Planner Liz Beck.

"This survey gives all CBD businesses the information they need on what is happening now among workers, and encourages them to work together - and alongside the Council - to develop a culture of active transport.

"If we can encourage people to take up a different form of travel just one day a week, then they're starting a new habit which can be the basis for long-term change."

The survey had 56 responses. Of those, 40 per cent of respondents travel to work either actively (e.g. cycling or walking) or by ridesharing. Of those who drive to work, 62 per cent travel less than 15 minutes. "That's close enough to walk or cycle, which is a good opportunity to reduce the number of cars heading into the central city each morning," says Ms Beck.

"Even better is the positive attitude toward change among the respondents: 87 per cent are keen to look at using more sustainable means of transport from time to time."

When deciding on their mode of transport, the most important factors were safety on the roads, general fitness, increasing fuel prices and reliance on a vehicle.

Respondents would be more likely to switch to an active mode of transport if the streets were safer, workplaces had better cycling and walking facilities, there were better on-road walking and cycling facilities, and free public transport passes were available.

Through Let's Go, the Council is already working with relevant agencies to improve safety on the roads. Also, the first bike pod for the central city will be installed in mid-December.

Ms Beck says the next stage is for a group of CBD representatives to discuss the findings and disseminate them among all businesses.

"Once that is established, we'll meet with them to discuss where to from here," she says.

Source: Voxy.co.nz