The TFI Smarter Travel Programme has had a successful year with the launch of several new programmes and the continuation of others. Here are some of the highlights and an overview of what we got up to during 2023. A huge thank you to all of our partner organisations who participated in each of these programmes.
Step Challenges (Marchathon and Walktober)
Marchathon and Walktober are fun team Step Challenges which take place in March and October each year. They are open to staff and students of workplaces and third level campuses who are partners of the Smarter Travel programme. The aim of the step challenges are to encourage behaviour change towards walking on the commute and beyond.
The numbers taking part in the Step Challenges have been growing year on year. During Marchathon this year we had 105 organisations registered comprising 1,438 teams and 7,335 participants. This was topped in Walktober with 1,532 teams and 7,762 participants taking part.
Here’s what one of our recent participants had to say:
Having participated in previous step challenges I’ve continued the habit of walking part of my commute
– Walktober Step Challenge Participant, 2023
There were lots of competitions and prizes awarded during the step challenges. As well as prizes for the top teams, best coordinators, and best small and large workplaces there were weekly competitions and prize draws. We gave away some fantastic prizes and Step Challenge Goodie packs.
During the Step Challenges participants were able to follow us on social media for regular updates and tips on the Step Challenge, and of course to see who was in the lead!
Check out www.stepchallenge.ie for more information.
Smarter Travel Student Awards
The Smarter Travel Student Awards invite students from Smarter Travel Campus partners to develop projects that support, facilitate or enable smarter travel choices, ideally as part of their coursework. The Student Awards underwent several changes including category changes and more in person student briefings.
The 2023 ceremony took place on April 27th where all finalist projects were showcased with the winners being announced on the day, following reviews by our expert panel of judges. Students once again succeeded in showcasing their inventive, creative and innovative ideas supporting sustainable and active travel to, from, and on campus.
In total we had over 200 entries from 13 different campuses. The Student Awards are open for the 23/24 academic year and we are expecting it to grow even more, and to include new courses and disciplines ready to compete and win next April.
Here is what one student had to say:
This was a really fun experience and I will be telling future participants to give their full effort into entering the competition
To find out more, take a look at our website: smartertravelstudentawards.ie
Ready, Set, Cycle
The Ready, Set, Cycle programme was successfully piloted to partner organisations in March of 2023. This programme ran over a 10-week period, with each week focusing on a different aspect of cycling. The aim was to address barriers to entry for cycling as a form of active travel on the commute and beyond. Thirty organisations participated in inviting existing cyclists to get involved, but also focused on encouraging new and returning cyclists take part. Participants were taken step by step from initial bike purchase if required, to active and regular cycling on the commute and beyond.
The programme was a success and the Smarter Travel Team has devised a new format for the programme to deliver to partners in April of 2024 meaning that even more can take part and reap the benefits of cycling as a form of active travel.
Here is what one participant had to say:
The programme was great. As a beginner, the parts I could participate in were very beneficial and gave me the confidence to start cycling. Thank you.
A two week “Getting Winter Ready” refresher campaign was rolled out in November, which saw 22 organisations and campuses encourage staff and students to saddle up and embrace cycling in more challenging weather conditions.
For more information, you can visit our webpage here
Bike Week which took place from Saturday the 13th of May to Sunday the 21st of May this year, is an annual celebration and promotion of the benefits of cycling. Hundreds of free events took place right across the Country.
Events included Greenway Cycles, Family Fun Cycles, Inclusive Cycle Come and Try events, Bike Parades and Bike Festivals, Spin & Dip cycles, Street Art Tours, Heritage Cycles, Maintenance Workshops, Learn-to-Cycle events, Bird Song By Bike, Vintage Bike Fun Cycles, Bike Treasure Hunts, Bike to Work Day and lots more.
Many of our Smarter Travel Partners took the opportunity during Bike Week to promote and encourage cycling in their workplaces. Bike-to-Work Day, Photo competitions, Bike for your Breakfast, Bike Maintenance workshops were just some of the events which our Smarter Travel Partners organised and it was great to see so many of partners sharing their Bike Week photos and posts on social media.
Check out www.bikeweek.ie for more information and a list of events which took place during Bike Week 2023.
Smarter Travel Mark
The Smarter Travel Mark in one of the Department of Transport Pathfinder Projects which sets out the government’s plan to meet Ireland’s requirement to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in the transport sector.
Congratulations to the 25 organisations and campuses across Ireland that have been awarded the Smarter Travel Mark to-date. The Smarter Travel Mark is a three-tier certification that recognises and celebrates organisations that support active and sustainable travel on the commute and beyond, resulting in reductions in single-person car usage. In doing so, these organisations and campuses have demonstrated their commitment to changing attitudes and behaviours regarding walking, cycling, public transport usage and carpooling, by implementing measures that facilitate and encourage sustainable travel options for their workforce, students, and visitors. We look forward to awarding many more organisations in 2024.
For more information, visit our website at smartertravekmark.ie
European Mobility Week
European Mobility Week took place from September 16th – 22nd. It ended with Car Free Day on September 22nd. The theme for 2023 was ‘Save Energy’.
In Ireland eight towns/cities registered for EMW for 2023. These were:
An information pack was issued to Workplace and Campus partners and Local Authorities nationwide. This pack included information slides and guides to assist with any internal promotion. A quiz was also issued to partners during the week and 483 people took part.
For more information, you can visit the website at: mobilityweek.eu
Light Up Your Life
Light Up Your Life is our annual campaign aimed at reminding cyclists to ‘Light Up’ as the darker evenings approach when the clock falls back in October.
Workplaces and Campuses are encouraged to highlight the importance of lighting up safely to their staff and students by promoting the campaign throughout November using PDF posters and bike lights provided by the National Transport Authority. Partners are also reminded that safety is a priority and the bike lights provided should be only used as a supplement to the primary bike light.
In total 55 Smarter Travel partner organisations registered to take part in the campaign and 15,000 lights were distributed. 30 organisations outlined their promotional plans for the campaign.
Social Media posts were scheduled on Twitter and Instagram on the three days up to October 29th when the clocks went back.
Partner Seminars and Roundtables
The Smarter Travel National annual webinar was held in May. The purpose of the event was to bring together partner workplaces and campuses to learn about the NTA’s public transport investment, customer satisfaction survey results, Active Travel developments and to introduce the Smarter Travel Mark.
Smarter Travel Hospital partners attended a roundtable in November presenting an opportunity for partners to network, share ideas, successes and challenges regarding their smarter travel initiatives. The HSE’s climate action group were invited to inform the group about the HSE’s Sustainable Mobility Work Programme.
ESB hosted a site visit for Smarter Travel Partners in October to showcase their facilities that support active and sustainable travel. With a reduction in the number or car parking spaces, an increase in cycle parking, showers, lockers, drying rooms and supporting communications and policies in place, there was a wealth of information and ideas for event participants to take away.
A Local Authority roundtable took place in December where participants heard from Cork City Council on their path to achieving the Smarter Travel Mark.
We are looking forward to hosting more roundtables in 2024.
And that’s a wrap for 2023! We are already gearing up for 2024 and look forward to continuing to deliver the Smarter Travel Programme for all of our partners.