AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad ranges of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. As stated in our company Safety, Health and Environment policy statement, “AECOM is committed to protecting and preserving the natural environment in which we operate. We will actively seek to conserve energy, water and natural resources and to reduce and recycle waste where appropriate during the execution of our business activities.”
As part of our Green Office Programme, travel is one of the main areas where we are aiming to minimise environmental impact. Sustainable travel is a well established part of our office culture. This is not surprising considering that planning and design for sustainable transport is a major component of the advisory services we provide to our clients. As such, we first introduced a workplace travel plan for our office in 2008. Since then, the action plan has been reviewed on an annual basis with regular updates to staff and improvement of incentives provided.
At present, AECOM employs 50 staff at our Dublin office on Upper Grand Canal Street. Since AECOM’s merger with Davis Langdon in October 2010, there are a further 65 staff working in the fields of engineering, project management and quantity surveying at 5 additional offices across Ireland.
At our Grand Canal office, the most recent travel survey among staff has shown that car trips to work made up only 15% of all trips in 2014. This is largely a reflection of our central location and proximity to public transport lines including DART. The majority of our employees (54%) use public transport for their commuting trip to work and a further 20% cycle. This high modal share of cycling trips remains consistent throughout the year – despite weather conditions! An additional 10% of our staff cycle on an occasional basis to work and employees regularly cycle to meetings in the city (taking advantage of the Dublin Bikes Station close to the office).
The following summary of measures provides an explanation for the high levels of sustainable travel among our staff:
– Control measures. In demand management terms, these are the ‘sticks’ which control demand for travel such as parking and traffic management. AECOM has a very limited number of car park spaces, with an average of 1 car park space for 20 employees. Some of the available car park spaces are reserved for clients, visitors or business needs. Ultimately, only 4% of employees benefit from a designated parking space in the office premises. This represents a significant saving for the company but has not acted as a barrier in our recruitment processes as 76% of staff are “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied” with their commuting conditions;
– Provision: While ‘sticks’ have an important role to play in managing demand, it is important to acknowledge that there is a need to ensure there is a satisfactory level of provision of alternative modes and facilities. AECOM has implemented a number of actions to facilitate and encourage sustainable travel as follows:
- Incentives are available to employees through the Tax Saver schemes, allowing employees to avoid paying taxes on their commute with public transport or bike. Currently half of the employees avail from Tax Saver schemes.
- For cyclists, improved bike parking was installed in 2013 close to the building entrance. The usage of this facility is very high. Equipment is also available in the office for communal use to support sustainable travel such as bicycle pumps, helmets, padlocks etc. There is a very strong cycling culture in the office with employees regularly sharing information on advisory routes to the office, dangerous junctions and improvements made to the cycling network.
- The office is located close to a number of DublinBike stations. AECOM has subscribed to the scheme with a card for the scheme available for use should it be required for meetings.
- To encourage employees to cycle to meetings, ‘Cycling Mileage’ is available at a rate of 8c per kilometer. This rate is an effort to further incentivise cycling and reduce taxis expenses.
- AECOM also has a subscription for GoCar which has a number of cars located just 150m from the office. This car sharing service allows our staff to avail of a car for meetings without needing to use a hire car or personal car. This means that cars need only be used for the minimum distance required.
– Awareness: To influence travel behaviour there is a fundamental need for a clear and integrated awareness campaign. Employees are made aware and invited to attend to events concerning sustainable transport including Engineers Ireland presentations, National Bike week in June, but also internal campaigns such as health week or participation in challenges organised by the NTA. Last event to date has been the “Winter-ready” campaign held in November 2014. During this day, employees could benefit from a free bike check (including tyre pressure and breaks renewal if necessarily) and were all invited to attend a presentation about cycling and walking safety in winter conditions, and could get some advices about basic bike maintenance. NTA Goodies as flashing lights and reflectors, but also chocolate threats, were offered to all participants to achieve a high participation rate.
– Support: To encourage ongoing travel behaviour change, one employee has taken on the role of Mobility Manager. Responsible to ensure the action plan is delivered, monitored and properly updated, this person benefits from a strong management support and this function is including as part of its business goals.