Offer alternatives to the car

Car parking costs money. By offering your staff commuting alternatives to the car you can reduce your costs, and help the environment.

A single off-street car parking space can cost a business up to $10,000 p.a. Encouraging riding, carpooling or catching public transport to work, instead of driving (alone) is a great way to save money.

Alternatives to the car are more likely to be successful at workplaces where:

  • there is limited access to free and ample parking spaces.
  • there is access to public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure
  • people travel from similar areas.

It is also important to investigate whether people are willing to change their travel behaviour.

How to do it now!

There are many things most businesses can do to encourage their staff to leave the car at home.

Understand your staff’s transport profile and your parking costs

The best starting point is to clearly understand the cost and use of your current parking arrangements.

  • Can you “realize” gains in staff use of alternatives by dropping a off street car parking spot?
  • And how much money would this save p.a.?

This provides a guideline to the financial benefit of reduce parking to your business.

Next, ask your staff if they would be interested in one (or several) of the following alternatives to driving:

  1. Riding
  2. Carpooling
  3. Public transport

Demand and willingness to participate should be assessed based on the incentives and benefits that the organisation is willing to provide. If the organization will save money by reducing their need for parking, it makes sense to direct a portion of these savings toward offering staff incentives to leave their cars at home.

Engaging your staff in a discussion about how they travel to the workplace and their travel preferences can be an effective way of gauging which option is the preferred option – and what incentives, if any, may be required.

This can be done informally or through a formal process. Once you have a sense of which option is preferred the proceeding with one (or several) of the following programs would start the migration away from driving:

Encourage riding to work – to encourage your staff to ride to and from work you will need lockable undercover bike racks and change rooms.

Incentives to encourage staff to ride to work

  • Business support for quarterly ride to work days where riders are rewarded with a free breakfast
  • Business sponsorship for a staff riding team in local competitions,
  • Business support for fund raising rides and
  • participation in the annual ride2work day.
  • Other business Incentives might include bikes and cycle gear.

The Bicycle Network site offers great information and tips to encourage bike use, bike parking equipment, etc…

Encourage public transport use to work – Public transport, if available, is a easy alternative to the car. When encouraging staff to use public transport understand any barriers to their uptake, and if possible assist the solution. For example, allowing some staff to start and finish work early to make commuting via Public transport easier.

Incentives to encourage staff to use public transport to work

  • Business contribution toward staff tickets
  • Business support for quarterly Public Transport to work days where “Public transporters” are rewarded with a free breakfast.

Encourage carpooling to work – Given many SMEs are small, it is often easiest to have staff email “all staff” their interest in participating in carpooling and location they are travelling to work from.

Alternatively, there are several online carpooling database sites that have many members, increasing the likelihood of finding a car of people traveling to and from similar locations.

There are a number of online resources to help you find your ideal car-pooling team:

Incentives to encourage staff to car pool

  • Business paying for the staff members’ membership to a carpooling site
  • Business provides a “priority” parking space for the “carpoolers” car.

A key in reducing the number of cars driving and parking at our workplace every day is to allocate a portion of the savings (resulting from your business paying for fewer car parking spots) back as incentives to any staff who are not driving alone to work.

Further Information

  • Bike Parking Experts – specialise in bicycle fixing rails and associated metal work for the building and construction industry.

Why is this action important?

Sustainable living guide