Wednesday, April 17th 2013 at 11:30am
O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin
I am delighted to be here in University College Dublin this afternoon to formally launch the Smarter Travel Campus Programme. Since becoming a Minister, I have enthusiastically championed campus specific initiatives. The third level sector represents a great positive opportunity to influence transport behaviour, you have a captive audience of young people, some with cars but many, let’s be honest about it – doing as much as they can ‘on the cheap’ This builds on much of our other work in this field in empowering people to make more sustainable transport choices which will ease the burden on the taxpayer, keep more money in commuters’ and students’ pockets and alleviate pollution measures.
This new programme is being implemented by the National Transport Authority with funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and builds on the success of the Smarter Travel Workplaces programme, in which I believe many of you here today are involved.
Smarter Travel Workplaces was launched in 2009. It targets large employers and encourages their participation in a programme to develop and implement workplace travel plans to reduce work-related car use. The results of this programme are very promising; more than 100 Partner workplaces are currently engaged, with an accumulated employee and student base of almost 250,000 people.
The Smarter Travel Workplaces programme has achieved great success to date. For example, of 25 workplaces with established workplace travel plans, 76% reported a reduction in car driver trips. Of this surveyed group, an average reduction in car driver trips of 18% was reported, with 7 workplaces achieving more than a 20% reduction in car driver trips. Cycling also increased in the majority of workplaces that were surveyed, with an average increase of an astounding 156%. These results are very encouraging and the Smarter Travel Campus Programme aims to build on these successes and the vast learning of the Smarter Travel Workplaces Programme.
Third level campuses are unique workplaces - particularly the larger institutions where the population equivalent of a small town travels on site over the course of the semester.
Compared to another workplace, the volume of students, employees and visitors travelling to a campus during the academic year makes campus travel planning both a unique challenge and opportunity.
The Smarter Travel Campus programme offers your Third Level Institution the opportunity to achieve your own successes, through this free, voluntary package which will assist your Institution with issues relating to access to, or movement through, your campus, through the promotion of walking, cycling, public transport and carsharing.
You will hear from a number speakers here today who have vast experience implementing workplace travel plans within their Institution. They will outline their successes promoting walking, cycling, public transport and carsharing as alternatives to the car on the commute to campus and I’m sure they will also highlight some of the challenges that they encountered and overcame during the process!
Twenty-one Third Level Institutions have been involved in the Smarter Travel Workplaces Programme to date. Now through the Smarter Travel Campus programme we will place greater emphasis on the needs of students and focus on how we will encourage and support them in choosing Smarter Travel. I hope that after today you will all continue in your efforts to work towards the ambitious targets to reduce the need to travel, to reduce journeys by car and to encourage more sustainable modes of transport as set out in Government Policy Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future by signing up to the Smarter Travel Campus Programme. I have every confidence that together we can achieve these targets and I wish you every success in your work.