In keeping with the day's topic, the event took place on board a boat in Bristol – reached by ferry from the train station. Fit for the Future members from organisations including Historic Royal Palaces, English Heritage, Peak District National Park, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Zero Carbon World and the National Trust came along to learn about practical actions that will encourage sustainable visitor travel.
The event was led by Nat Taplin of Good Journey, who has worked in sustainable transport and tourism for the past twenty years for organisations including Campaign for Better Transport, the Centre for Alternative Technology and New Forest National Park. The group discussed challenges, opportunities and ways to improve travel choices for visitors. Some key points from the day included:
3 questions for visitor attractions and venues
Do you put public transport information before car information on your website?
Do you offer a discount for car-free visitors?
Do you ‘own’ visitor travel as part of your carbon footprint?
3 way sustainable travel can help your organisation
- Reducing traffic/parking problems – and the cost of making more car parking
- Reaching out to the 25% of people in the UK who don’t own a car – increasing participation and income
- Reducing your carbon footprint – around 2/3 of your CO2 emissions are likely to come from visitor cars
Challenges and Opportunities
Practitioners highlighted challenges including accessibility, car-culture and convenience. Whilst it was agreed that some of the challenges are part of a wider cultural context and are more difficult to address, the group also identified some key opportunities which included:
- Incentives: Combining ticket offers so that transport is included in the ticket price, or offering discounts for those who travel car-free
- Communication: Rewording website information to ensure it is positive and empowering. Prioritising public transport and walking/ cycling information on 'getting here' pages. Communicating the health, nature and air quality benefits
- Electrical vehicles: both use on-site and providing infrastructure for free EV charging. Since all new cars in the UK will be effectively zero emission by 2040 under plans to tackle air pollution, this is a key opportunity
- Leisure benefits: Making the journey part of the day out- promoting the leisure aspects such as lunch on train, games, spending time together without having to be behind the wheel and enjoying exercise and scenery if cycling or walking. Promote the journey as part of the day's activities
- Joining the dots: Linking up with the local community public transport services already in place. Providing easy to access and comprehensive information on cycle/ walking routes and public transport options
- Making it easy: Provide additional services for those going car free such as good cycle storage and luggage hold, route maps and even bike hire facilities
Case Study:Blenheim Palace
After joining Good Journey in 2018, Fit for the Future members Blenheim Palace offer a 30% discount with a bus or train ticket and have added a prominent link on their website to travel information on Good Journey.
The number of car-free visitors has increased by almost 300%, from 3048 in 2017 to 9312 already in 2018 (as at 31/8/18)
If you are a member and would like to know more about the event or link-up with the practitioners involved to discuss challenges and solutions, contact Fergus. You can also find further information about car free travel on the Good Journey website.
We are currently planning our programme of events for members during 2019- keep an eye on the events page for updates and to register on events