Car pooling is often regarded by staff who regularly drive to work alone as the easiest and most convenient way for them to shift to a more sustainable form of transport.
People may be reluctant to give up the flexibility afforded by driving and so are more willing to either drive others or travel as a passenger occasionally, rather than make a leap to a completely different transport mode.
For an employer, this can have an immediate impact upon demand for parking spaces and can be linked to real incentives. However, for it to function successfully at your workplace, it does need some support.
The following ideas have all proven to be important in supporting car pooling.
Guaranteeing a ride home
Staff who might consider car pooling, often fear that they may be stranded if their driver becomes unexpectedly unavailable. For example, a driver may have to stay late for an unplanned meeting or leave early to take care of a sick child.
In these instances, employers should be prepared to back their staff by providing a free guaranteed ride home. This doesn't cost as much as you might think.
For example, Boots, a major chemist in the UK, offered a guaranteed ride home to induce staff at its headquarters in Nottingham to car pool. From a staff of 7500 people, the backup of a guaranteed ride home was only used six times a year.
Preferential car parking spaces
This can be a strong inducement if there is daily competition for car parking spaces. The spaces can be clearly marked and if they are located close to the main entrance, the spaces will be an extra reward for those willing to car pool.
Car pooling database
A lot of car pooling is organised on an informal basis between staff members or neighbours who already know each other. However, a car pooling database can help potential car poolers from different buildings or departments to get in touch with one another.
If you have a work intranet, you can easily set up a forum where car poolers can keep in touch with each other. The forum will also provide an opportunity for you to promote and reinforce the benefits of car pooling.
Think of inventive ways to get people together, for example, have a meeting or a lunch where people come together and can find out who lives nearby. Think about ways you might want to advertise car pooling to your staff.
Inventive ways to promote the activity can include putting leaflets under the windscreen wipers of cars in the carpark.
Security can be a key concern for staff thinking about car pooling and an event is a good way for them to meet other potential car poolers face-to-face and find out whether they'd like to share the commute.
Provide free car-tuning for car pooling drivers
This is the kind of practical benefit which offers an immediate inducement for potential drivers in a car pool.
Here's a checklist of car pooling ideas you can include in an access plan.
- set up a car sharing database
- organise postcode coffee mornings
- allocate priority parking spaces for car sharers
- provide a guaranteed ride home for car sharers.