Today a work colleague sent me something that pointed to some research by our (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures on Green Travel Planning. They are looking for support and potential participants for projects they are developing: one on car-sharing in multi-residential developments and the other is a course on travel planning for professionals engaged in planning relevant new developments for 2011.
They say the initiative to plan travel for workplaces can result in substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced traffic congestion for workplaces like university campuses, industrial parks, hospitals, office precincts and multi-residential developments. That, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try to do something along the same lines in smaller institutions like libraries. We should certainly incorporate a green travel plan as a design consideration for our Library of the Future which is in its very early planning stages. Maybe we could also make a realistic contribution now just by setting an example for others to follow.
Perhaps it is too late in an existing institution to incorporate much that involves substantial investment in facilities or even additional construction, but there might be other steps we can take that could make a realistic, if small scale contribution. We could for example:
- raise awareness among our staff and encourage the use of alternative forms of transport that are more environmentally friendly (public transport, cycling and walking where feasible);
- encourage and perhaps facilitate car sharing or pooling arrangements;
- lobby for cycling or public transport subsidies instead of salary packaging for cars;
- improve and encourage the use of end-of-trip cycling and running amenities like showers and lockers;
- seek funds and/or equipment to improve video or online-conferencing facilities in our workplaces (vice long-distance air travel);
- arrange bike maintenance classes for staff and provide basic shared repair facilities at work;
- look more closely at flexible work arrangements that encourage working from home where appropriate or travel during non-peak periods;
- highlight and profile those of our colleagues who make the effort to use more sustainable forms of transport as examples for others to follow;
- run and celebrate regular voluntary Car Free days; and
- try some schemes that offer incentives to car poolers, bikers, runners, walkers or public transport users.
The implementation of some sustainability initiatives in our library is now on our strategic plan for the coming year after it was suggested by staff at our planning days. Maybe working up our own Green Travel Plan is a good start. What are you doing in your workplace?
The image is one of my bikes in my office at work.