Abstracts: December 13th, 2011

The Department for Transport has set plans for taking forward the alternative transport initiative.

Using alternatives to travel can make good sense for all organisations. They can help to reduce congestion and increase productivity, contributing to economic growth, and can help reduce business travel, saving businesses money. They can help to reduce stress and absenteeism and have the potential to provide a boost to local economies and rural areas. Increased uptake of alternatives to travel can also help reduce carbon by reducing the need for business-related travel.

The report concludes that the role of the workplace in Government needs to change. Developments in technology, combined with an increasingly distributed workforce, are challenging the traditional concepts of the workplace – including how and where civil servants work. People, technology, and the workspace need to complement each other so that optimum flexibility in working practices can be achieved.

Broadband delivery is recognised as an important factor. The Government has committed to delivering superfast broadband (at least 25 mega-bits per second) to 90% of households in the UK by 2015, and has made £530m available during the lifetime of the current Parliament to facilitate this.

In recent months, Government has worked with existing suppliers to develop a series of business travel policy principles, which have been disseminated to Central Government Departments to incorporate into their own travel policies. These seek to standardise central Government Departmental travel management to drive efficiencies. Although these are not mandated, they should be seen as target values which departments should work towards.

In February 2011 the Government launched a set of commitments for greening its operations and procurement. Key outcomes for the commitments include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from a 2009/10 baseline from the whole estate and business-related transport, with a specific commitment to cutting domestic business travel flights by 20% by 2015 from a 2009/10 baseline. This target, along with the travel principles described above, should lead to an increase in alternatives to travel measures as departments make greater use of technologies for meetings.

The report is available from the Department for Transport