Headlines: November 12th, 2007

Business travellers rely on their cars because they believe public transport is not fit for purpose, according to a study launched today by the RAC Foundation and the British Chambers of Commerce. They have set out a number of steps they want to see, including a call for councils to take the needs of smaller businesses into account in transport planning.

The study, “Business Travel: Choice or Necessity”, is the first to focus on journeys made as part of the business day rather than on trips to and from work. In spite of a reliance on the car, the report says small firms are leading the way in trying to make business travel greener.

The findings published today are based on surveys of Chamber of Commerce members and in-depth research in Greater Manchester and in Hereford and Worcester. It shows that 86 per cent of businesses believe road congestion affects them locally, regionally and nationally and that as a country we are travelling 20 per cent further for business than 13 years ago. Seventy per cent of those questioned say public transport in its present form is unfit for purpose. Even so, one in five businesses have taken steps to increase their use of public transport, but they see unreliability and unpredictable travel times as barriers to increased business use of buses and trains.

The report sets out a number of measures to tackle unnecessary business travel and calls on central and local government to be more flexible in supporting green business travel pioneers rather than adopting the rigid view that public transport is the solution to all travel needs. Specifically it wants local councils to take the needs of business into account and to ensure that the business travel plan process is inclusive of Small and Medium Enterprises.