PLEASE NOTE: This page was published on the 5th of January 2022. The content of this page was correct at the time of writing.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the landscape of work forever and travel habits have been greatly disrupted since the start of COVID restrictions. Although we are currently encouraged to work from home as much as possible, now is a good time to look ahead and think about how you can support your staff to make positive changes to how they travel across 2022 and beyond.

#ActiveTravel resolution campaign

As part of our #ActiveTravel resolution campaign, we will be sharing with you all the reasons why investing in active travel at your workplace is a good idea and how you can take some first, simple steps towards encouraging active travel to your site. We will be running active travel challenges and publishing resources to help you engage your staff with active travel.

This blog is the first in a series of four to help you kickstart your journey to active travel. Read on to find out how active travel can benefit your business and staff and how your business can be involved in our #ActiveTravel resolution campaign and set a positive example for other businesses in Devon.

The business case for active travel

Encouraging and enabling active travel has benefits for staff and your business, as well as our communities in Devon.

Reduce your travel related carbon emissions

In their Interim Devon Carbon Plan, the Devon Climate Emergency Task Force state that transport accounts for 31% of Devon’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The sector is the single largest emitter of GHG across The County.

The Task Force recommends a hierarchy of action, starting with reducing the need to travel and then shifting towards active travel, followed by mass/shared transit (low/no emissions), and taxi (e.g. first/last-mile use).

This highlights how, despite the pandemic increasing the number of people and days we are working from home, it is still important that we choose the most sustainable mode possible as and when we travel.

Improve productivity

Active travel can help you save your business money through helping to reduce absenteeism, reduced efficiency and performance at work due to stress or poor health and increase productivity.

The British Heart Foundation in their Health at Work – Business Case Infographics state that low levels of physical activity are leading to poor health and wellbeing among staff, costing UK businesses billions through productivity loss, sickness absence and presenteeism.

Active travel can help reduce the level and impact these factors are having on your bottom line. In their Active Travel and Economic Performance report (p6), Sustrans explain that:

  • Workers that undertake physical activity take 27% fewer sick days
  • Employees who cycle regularly to work are less frequently ill and are one less day absent than colleagues who do not cycle to work
  • Physical activity has been suggested to benefit levels of reduced efficiency and performance at work due to stress or poor health in the workplace

Create a happier and healthier workplace

Active travel can help create healthier and happier workplaces. Some studies include:

  • According to the NHS, there is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help people lead healthier and happier lives.
  • A five-year study carried out by the British Medical Journal found that commuting by cycling was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and adverse CVD and cancer outcomes. Walking as a commute was associated with lower risk of CVD incidence and mortality.
  • According to Sustrans, well-designed employee health promotion programmes can increase employee job satisfaction by between 10% and 25%.

Set an active travel resolution for 2022

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits that active travel can have for your organisation, setting yourself an #ActiveTravel resolution to support your staff to travel more actively in 2022 and beyond, is a great way to start!

Follow Travel Devon on Facebook or Twitter to stay in the know about future blogs, support offers and resources for you and your staff and news about our walking and cycling challenges.

Want to help create momentum for active travel in Devon? Inspire other businesses to set an active travel resolution by making a public pledge on social media. Simply retweet or share a Travel Devon #ActiveTravel resolution post from Facebook or Twitter and tell others about your plans for positive change at your workplace.

More information & COVID-19

For more information or with any questions, please get in touch with us at traveldevon@devon.gov.uk. For general information on how to get around in Devon, please visit our Travel Devon website.

Visit the Devon County Council website for Coronavirus advice in Devon. Please also refer to the government guidance for safer travel.