Sustrans has been working with different public sector organisations in Wales that have signed up to the Public Health Wales Healthy Travel Charter. So far, the charity has been supporting organisations in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Gwent, and Swansea Bay, helping their employees find their feet with active and sustainable travel.
Sustrans has been working with public sector organisations to support and encourage staff to travel actively and sustainably. Credit: Steve Chantrell/Sustrans.
Sustrans is passionate about delivering projects that help communities come to life, and that extends to the professional world as well.
We’ve been working with different organisations that are signatories to the Public Health Wales Healthy Travel Charters in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Gwent, and Swansea Bay.
The aim has been to support them to make meaningful change in the way their employees travel to and for work.
The Healthy Travel Charters are agreements between public sector organisations and Public Health Wales to collaborate to ensure future travel for employees becomes more sustainable.
The idea, at its core, is to make travel options more sustainable and place a greater focus on the health and wellbeing of the individual.
Why is healthy travel important?
Modern life and a car-centric society have contributed to declining levels of physical activity.
This too has led to an increase in health-related problems associated with a lack of exercise.
Factor in widespread air pollution, social isolation, and severe health inequalities along with a worsening climate crisis that’s being felt across the world, this has all highlighted the need for change.
That’s why, here in Wales, there’s a radical new approach being adopted in how we travel.
What’s being done in Gwent, Swansea Bay, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan?
Organisations across Wales are showing their commitment to healthier and more sustainable forms of transport, by publicly signing a Healthy Travel Charter.
Each Charter contains a series of commitments the organisation will make over two or three years to support their staff and visitors to walk and cycle more, take public transport, and switch to electric vehicles.
To complement this, Sustrans has been sharing its knowledge and experience of walking, wheeling, and cycling, giving employees support with different travel options.
For many, the biggest barrier is the lack of experience or confidence in swapping the car for travelling actively.
To help, Sustrans has set up bike libraries stocking a variety of e-bikes, standard bikes, and scooters that are available to loan free of charge by employees of Healthy Travel Charter signatory organisations.
The hope is that, by making these available to employees for free, they will feel encouraged and empowered to make changes to how they travel to and during work.
Steven Chantrell, Gwent Healthy Travel Officer for Sustrans Cymru, said:
“There are so many people that want to change the way they travel to work, but don’t know where to start or what options are available to them.
“By giving people the opportunity to try an e-bike from the bike libraries and informing them about the purchase options available through Cycle to Work schemes, we’re helping people make informed choices around sustainable travel and removing existing barriers.”
How Sustrans is taking active travel to the people
With the support of the signatory organisations, Sustrans has been holding a series of events located at their sites.
The aim is to directly introduce walking, wheeling, and cycling and the benefits of swapping car travel for more sustainable methods of travel to employees at their place of work.
Tracey Redwood, the lead for the Healthy Travel Charter in Gwent, said: "The Gwent Bike Library and Bike Loan Scheme are great initiatives that give staff at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board easy access to bikes, e-bikes, and scooters."
"We encourage all our staff to keep active and reduce their carbon footprint wherever possible - the schemes offered by Sustrans are great assets to help them all achieve this.”
Sustrans staff have been running engagement sessions where staff from signatory organisations can safely try out different modes of sustainable transport. Credit: Steve Chantrell/Sustrans.
Fear of bike theft is another significant barrier for those wishing to make the move away from commuting by car.
As well as working with signatories of the Healthy Travel Charters, Sustrans has been working with Gwent and South Wales Police to reduce bike crime via bike registration and marking sessions for the public.
By supporting public sector organisations to make substantial changes and encouraging their staff to travel more sustainably, Sustrans is helping people in Wales to make a real difference.