The Smarter Travel Mark was launched today by Minister Eamon Ryan and is one of the 35 Pathfinder projects that are being developed nationwide. The Smarter Travel Mark is a certification that recognises and celebrates organisations that support active and sustainable travel and a reduction in single-person car usage amongst their staff, students and visitors. Any size employer from the private or public sectors can apply for the Smarter Travel Mark.
The operation of the Mark is fully funded by the Department of Transport and managed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) so there is no fee for businesses to apply for the mark.
Minister Eamon Ryan said: “The Pathfinder Programme is focused on demonstrating the wide range of benefits that come from sustainable and active transport projects – benefits to individuals, communities, businesses, public spaces and society – through improved safety, accessibility, air quality and health. They are innovative, ambitious and will be delivered at speed. Decarbonising transport presents an enormous challenge, one which requires a fundamental change in how we travel including a shift in our mindset and choices. The Smarter Travel Mark will recognise organisations that facilitate and encourage behaviour change amongst their staff, visitors, customers, service users and students towards sustainable and active travel. This change will lead to reduced car parking requirements, an increase in uptake of the Cycle to Work Scheme and an increase in carpooling.”
The Minister added “I’m particularly keen that public sector bodies strive to attain the Mark. The recent Climate Action Plan encourages them to do so and to lead on the provision of sustainable mobility hubs in the workplace and all mechanisms to support a reduction in car-based commuting where possible. The public sector can be the champions for this change in this area.”
Minister of State Jack Chambers said: “I would encourage organisations to work towards this new and important certification which will help support their staff and customers to make the shift towards sustainable travel. The Smarter Travel Mark is open to organisations of all sizes who can demonstrate a real commitment to enabling their staff to use public transport, walk and cycle. If we are to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, then we all have to take action and this is a simple measure which employers can take which will have a widespread impact.”
Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer at the NTA said: “The continued delivery of key transport projects such as Active Travel infrastructure, BusConnects and Connecting Ireland are helping to increase active and sustainable travel and lowering carbon emissions. Employer led sustainable travel initiatives are essential to reducing the impact of our collective dependence on the car as a mode of travel. Reducing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion is a priority. Part of the solution is to change behaviours regarding walking, cycling, public transport usage and carpooling on the commute and beyond.
Workplaces and campuses can be part of the solution by implementing measures that facilitate, support and encourage sustainable travel options for their workforce, students and visitors. The Smarter Travel Mark will award and recognise organisations that are committed to doing this.”
Siobhán Hamilton, Smarter Travel Programme Manager at the NTA said: “The Smarter Travel Mark will be available to organisations of all sizes that can demonstrate a commitment to active and sustainable travel. Many adults who are not attracted to sports and other leisure time physical activities, may be motivated to integrate physical activity into their everyday lives, be that by self-powering their commute or walking/cycling to public transport. Where a site is not served by public transport and where active travel infrastructure is not in place, carpooling can be part of the solution. Where feasible, organisations will be encouraged to unlock car drivers’ habits by rewarding staff for giving up car parking spaces and thus reducing the amount of space needed for car parking at their site.”
To register your organisation’s interest in applying for the Smarter Travel Mark, please visit www.smartertravelmark.ie