About the DVLA
The DVLA is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT), with offices at three sites North of Swansea city centre. The agency has a Biodiversity and Sustainability Officer, with a key role in encouraging the 5,500 staff to use sustainable options for their travel to work plans. The DVLA is a major local employer that values sustainability and the wellbeing of staff and needs to manage the practicalities of having staffing levels that exceed the available car parking space.
The company’s travel plan offers a number of alternatives to single occupancy car travel, promoting cycling and walking as an integral part of the offer.
How does the DVLA promote and support people to cycle to work?
The DVLA aim to remove any barriers that could prevent people from cycling as a travel option and improve the physical facilities in place to support cycle commuters.
Here’s what they did
- Started a cycling group: this started initially as a local interest group but then evolved to have a Coordinator and Management role and now has around 70 members.
- Asked staff what they needed: the DVLA worked with the cycle group and Travel Champion Network to provide regular feedback on facilities.
- Listened to the feedback: as a result of the feedback received, they have introduced a number of improvements to the facilities at the main site.
The physical improvements include the installation of a new fully enclosed and secure bicycle shelter with a solar light, new, larger lockers and drying facilities solely for the use of our sustainable commuters (cyclists, runners and walkers.
Registered users are allocated padlocks for the lockers and the DVLA now has seven bicycle shelters across their three sites in Swansea and each location has at least one changing facility.
What was challenging for the DVLA?
The DVLA’s location creates some travel challenges. The main site is located at the top of a large hill and the area experiences heavy traffic with a lack of safe routes to cycle.
The agency overcame this by identifying that another one of their nearby sites, is conveniently located on the National Cycle Network route 43 linking Swansea city centre to Builth Wells via the Swansea Valley.
A bus shuttle service now operates between this site and the main site, so that as part of the wider travel plan they can encourage the use of this service by cyclists to cover the last leg of their journey.
What about people who have never considered cycling?
The DVLA’s wider plan to encourage sustainable commuting covers a number of other activities and schemes, including:
- A salary advance scheme to assist with the purchase of bicycles for travelling between home and the office.
- An employee benefits scheme, offering staff discounts at a variety of stores including cycling outlets.
- Targeted communications aimed at promoting sustainable commuting to staff.
- This year, the agency ran a ‘Find your way’ campaign which included an intranet page detailing alternative options for commuting, with roadshows across the three sites promoting the campaign with help from local sustainable travel organisations and incentives and prizes for Sustainable commuters over a four week period. Local cycling route maps and discounts at local cycle stores were also distributed to staff.
- Participation in regular sustainable travel challenges, including the Cymru Travel Challenge.
- Promotion of cycling through social media fitness platforms. Strava and Yammer are used to create DVLA groups which then enable the organisation of collective cycle rides to work and analysis of the most popular commuter routes via GPS capability. Social media networks have also been used to request help from other members in the case of a bicycle breakdown.
- Regular monitoring of the use of facilities ensures that the agency is on the right track – and feedback from staff supports the view that the agency’s efforts to promote sustainable promoting have been a success.