Suffolk County Council kindly invited us to present at the Travel Planners Forum of Local Authority Travel Plan officers in the East of England on the subject of Delivering Residential Travel Plans on behalf of housing developers. It was a pleasure to meet and talk, face to face, with the officers that are responsible for the monitoring of Travel Plans, secured under Planning Conditions and Section 106 Agreements, to present our experience on the constraints, external influences and opportunities we see whilst promoting sustainable travel to residents.
Initially we set out that current national and local policies and guidance on residential Travel Plans are out of date and not representative for the main type of residential development we see in the East of England, which is small to medium sized developments rather than large new towns. Therefore, further case studies of typical development sizes in the region is needed to help improve best practice and sharing of knowledge in the industry to improve the effectiveness of Travel Plan promotion and monitoring.
Delivering residential Travel Plans also require a significant amount more effort and resource to gain anywhere near the same level of reductions in car travel when compared to workplace Travel Plans. This is due to the many external influences that can affect a residents choice of travel that are outside of the control of the Developer and Travel Plan Coordinator. A further factor that influences the success of Travel Plans is the psychology categories of the residents themselves. Studies show that the target audience that will have any potential for change is quite small and the time window a Travel Plan Coordinator can have maximum influence is very small. A high impact and effective marketing strategy is required to maximise on this small window of time.
We presented our experience on how best to interact and engage with residents with gain their interest and work with them to change their travel habits using marketing and sales techniques whilst considering the demographics of the development.
A discussion was also undertaken on what the future opportunities are for residential Travel Plans by working with Local Authorities on improving data collections methods and consistent guidance across the region to further the industry forward together and improve residential Travel Planning for all.
If we can assist you on any residential Travel Planning scheme, both from a perspective of a Local Authority or a Developer then please get in contact with us and we can work together on developing a Travel Plan marketing strategy that will have the most impact on travel habits.