Increasing business productivity through sustainable travel at the Cobalt Business Park

Women with bikes outside offices

North Tyneside Council employees attending a cycling session

Cycle parking facilities at cobalt

Safe cycle parking is available at most sites on Cobalt Business Park

Sustrans worked over a three year period with Cobalt Business Park in the North East of England to remove the barriers to sustainable commuting, reduce congestion and increase workplace health and productivity.

The project achieved 520 fewer sick days per year, equating to £125,320 of accumulative savings for the business park per year.

Tackling sickness absence

In 2011, around 131 million days were lost through absences due to sickness or injury in the UK [1]. The average worker takes 4.5 sick days each year. The impact on UK employers is significant, with absenteeism costing employers £258 per worker per day [2].

Employees who travel to work actively are fitter, healthier and happier. This is supported by a range of recent research showing that regular cyclists take less sick days than non-cyclists [3].

Employee engagement activities

Activities and events included:

  • volunteer training
  • adult cycle skills training
  • weekly lunchtime walk group
  • evening guided cycle rides
  • co-ordination of a cycle buddy system
  • bike user group
  • workshops e.g. how to fix a puncture
  • awareness events
  • information and advice sessions.

Outstanding results

The Cobalt Business Park active travel project resulted in:

  • 520 fewer sick days per year
  • £125,320 of accumulative savings for the business park per year or £0.5 million over four years
  • 43% of people with access to a car reduced the amount they drove by at least one mile per day
  • 50% increase in the number of people achieving 30 minutes of physical activity on seven days per week
  • 76% increase in the number of people travelling actively for 10 minutes or more on five or more days per week

[1] ONS, April 2012 Sickness Absence in the Labour Market

[2] The average cost of a day’s absence from work is £258.10 and is calculated using DfT’s transport appraisal guidance (WebTAG 3.5.6)

[3] LSE, 2013 ‘Gross Cycling Product’ Report

For more information on this project email Kevin Mccann Head of Partnerships in the North of England or call 0161 923 6050.

If you'd like to work with us elsewhere in the UK please contact your local Sustrans team.