Switch employee modes of transport

Transport accounts for over a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions – the majority of which are produced by trips in private cars and taxis.

By using vehicles less for commuting your business can reduce its impact, save money and improve employee well-being.

If you use logistics services, visit our section on supply chains for guidance on using green providers.

Contents

  1. Get benefits from reduced driving
  2. Survey employees
  3. Make a workplace travel plan
  4. Get finance and support

Get benefits from reduced driving

Reducing the need for employees to drive to work has a number of business benefits.

For employees working on site, encourage other modes of transport to:

  • reduce the costs of maintaining parking spaces
  • relieve pressure on parking spots
  • decrease maintenance and depreciation of business vehicles
  • decarbonise your operations
  • improve employee mental health and well-being

To get these benefits you need to understand the transport needs of your workforce and figure out what non-driving options work best.

Visit our ‘Reduce business travel’ page for advice on employee transport for work purposes.

Survey employees

To work out what’s best for your workforce, survey your employees to better understand their travel choices.

Find out why employees are not walking, cycling, using public transport or car-sharing to work.

This will help you to get an idea of how accessible your workplace is for those interested in different modes of transport. It will also provide a baseline for transport data you can measure against later on.

From there you can gather employee feedback on ways to make improvements.

Make a workplace travel plan

Once you have an idea of what works best for employees, make walking, cycling and using public transport easier for those working on site.

You can start for no or low cost by:

  • displaying walking, cycling and public transport routes
  • organising a liftshare system between employees – visit Traveline to plan journeys in the UK
  • organising ‘challenges’ to reduce driving and engage employees
  • organising car clubs for commuting and business travel – visit CoMoUK for car club car options
  • inviting a mechanic to check staff bikes and teach maintenance
  • running an employee pledge scheme such as Do Nation to encourage your employees to make small lifestyle changes

You may consider setting up a company car scheme. Visit GOV.UK to find out about expenses and benefits.

You can also decrease your impact by reducing business travel and installing charge points for employees’ electric vehicles.

Visit the Sustrans website for more travel plan ideas.

Offer work from home options

It also makes sense to offer work from home where possible. Research by Stanford University has shown that work from home can:

  • increase productivity and economic growth up to 5%
  • improve employee retention up to 35%
  • help recruit a more diverse and inclusive workforce
  • offer flexible working hours so that employees can use public transport when it is less busy and/or times that better meet their schedule

According to this research the most popular option is a hybrid system where employees can work from home and on site.

Offer a cycle to work scheme

Employers and employees can also benefit financially by offering a cycle to work scheme. These allow an employer to provide bikes to their employees for the purpose of work trips.

Employees can deduct the costs from their before-tax income, and employers can reduce their National Insurance Contributions.

It is estimated that employers can save £25 to £80/month for each bike that’s registered with the scheme.

You can administer a scheme yourself or Cycle to Work scheme providers who can run a scheme for you. Scheme providers will normally:

  • ensure the scheme is fully compliant with legislation
  • administer the scheme for you, reducing complexity
  • advise you on salary sacrifice arrangements
  • help you promote the scheme to your employees

Visit GOV.UK for full guidance on cycle to work schemes.

Invest in different modes of transport

Once you have considered no or low cost options, there are a number of investments you can make to boost your workplace travel plan.

These include:

  • providing secure bike parking, change facilities and showers for cyclists
  • renting a pool of e-bikes for your employees to try out and use
  • subsidising public transit passes
  • offering to pay taxi fares for urgent trips
  • electrifying your company fleet

Get finance and support

In England there are no current national-level funding programmes for switching employee modes of transport.

The ‘Making cycling e-asier’ scheme has plans to expand nationwide but is currently only available in Manchester.

If you live in Scotland, the interest-free eBike Loan is available on a 4-year repayment period.

Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Transport for funding for businesses and local authorities’ to find out about the low carbon transport grants and loans available in the UK and Scotland.

Use our ‘Find support and funding’ page to find regional programmes that can help switch modes of transport.

Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census
Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census