Sell Campaign 3: Workplace Engagement - Employers

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Background and aim

Staff and manager from chemist Boots with Travel sign Sustrans staff surveyed and worked with Boots the retail chain and other large employers in east Belfast corridor, near...

The aim of this campaign is to work with employers along the route. Engaging workplaces and their senior management will enable the project to target large numbers of potential commuters.

The campaign aims to increase the number of individuals commuting by bike and specifically increase usage of the cycle highway. The campaign will work with employers, active travel champions and local stakeholders to develop local innovative solutions to:

  • Increase knowledge and awareness of the cycle highway
  • Improve provision/facilities for cyclists at workplaces
  • Use internal communication methods within workplaces to target commuters with information, motivation and support to cycle on the cycle highway
  • Use peer support through buddy system to normalise cycling

Target audience

Primary audience: Employers along the greenway

Secondary audience: Employees at the workplaces


  • Staff time
  • Information on employers and workplaces along corridor
  • Template and process for development of employee mobility plan
  • Template and process for audit of infrastructure in workplace
  • Information and promotional materials aimed at commuters
  • Staff to deliver additional sessions such as bike maintenance and cycle training
  • Bikes and system for bike loan scheme [optional]
  • Toolkit with ‘how to’ guidesheets to help deliver interventions e.g. active travel champions

Outputs and impact

  • Employee-led mobility plan which includes ‘action plan goals’
  • Audit of infrastructure in workplace – parking, showers, changing facilities, access to workplace (cycle routes/cycle friendly entrance)
  • Workplace champions recruited, trained and supported
  • Delivery of local measures (listed in interventions)
  • Number of workplaces engaged
  • Increased knowledge and awareness of the cycle highway
  • Number of people engaged in activities
  • Modal shift to walking and cycling
  • Number of workplaces gaining accreditation

Examples of interventions

  • Bike loan scheme (including e-bikes)
  • Provision of on-road cycle training
  • Development of workplace engagement plan
  • Development of policies in the workplace
  • Active Travel Champion
  • Online cycle challenge
  • Promotional events and activities
  • Workplace cycle-friendly accreditation

Plan of Action

Step 1: Map employers

  • Identify workplaces in the cycle highway area, including existing relationships.
  • Approach workplaces and agree objectives.
  • Develop relationship with key contacts in the organisation.
  • Assess current provision for cycling at key workplaces.


Step 2: Develop travel plans

  • Develop interventions with champions and stakeholders to be run with employees in the workplace, encourage workplace to promote these.
  • Meet with organisations and share campaign outlines and suite of workplace activities.
  • Gain commitment from organisation to promote active travel, encourage them to take part in workplace accreditation scheme (see Campaign 6).


Step 3: Deliver activities

  • Deliver activities as developed with workplaces, champions and other stakeholders.
  • Delivery of interventions should be trialled and evaluated.



  • Number of workplaces actively engaged (use accreditation system to measure)
  • Number of people engaged in activities
  • Increase in number of employees using bikes/active travel to commute
  • Development of travel plans/mobility plans (use accreditation system to measure)

Evidence base for employers

Workplaces will primarily be interested in the benefits of the project to them and their employees.

The benefits to a workplace in promoting cycling and use of the cycle highway are:

  • Improved levels of physical activity in staff which can lead to:
    • reduced employee absenteeism & improved employee productivity
    • improved staff morale and mental well-being in the workplace
  • reduced car parking burden
  • reliable method of transport, staff are more likely to be able to arrive on time and ready for work
  • reduced carbon emissions.

Five key benefits gained by organisations that encourage active travel:

1. Healthier, more productive staff

Employees who cycle to work are fitter, healthier, happier, and less likely to take sick days.

Our survey of people who cycle on the National Cycle Network found they take nearly half as many sick days as the average UK worker. 

2. Reduced costs

Employers involved in the Bikes for Business scheme estimated the average savings to the organisation at £25-80 per month per bike. 

GlaxoSmithKline found that investing in those willing to give up their cars enabled them to make an annual saving of £2,000 per car parking space reduced. 

Transport for London has estimated that removing one car parking space could save up to £2,000 per year in high-density urban areas. 

3. Less congestion

Rush-hour congestion can have an impact on the economy by preventing the movement of goods and services. Congestion on England’s roads cost the economy over £10 billion a year in urban areas alone in 2009 and could rise to £22 billion by 2025. 

4. Reduced carbon emissions

The total cost of the carbon emissions for car trips made in the UK each year is £3.98 billion. 

If the journeys made on the National Cycle Network during 2012 had been by car the potential CO2 emitted during the year would have been 883,904 tonnes, at a cost of £51.2 million. 

5. Attracting and retaining talent

The ‘millennials’ (those born after 1983) will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. They think that their employer should be doing more to reduce their impact on the environment, particularly in terms of reducing resource scarcity and combatting climate change. 

Case studies

Active travel champions

Chief executive of large Belfast employer AllState NI, John Healy is an Active Travel Champion at a very senior level in a workplace. Watch his testimony.

Active travel activities in Titanic Quarter

A list of active travel activities was created for employees at workplaces in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, including The Odyssey arena, Public Records (PRONI), and Titanic Quarter Ltd. See leaflet from campaign in the gallery.

Tilberg, Netherlands

The main focus in Tilberg has been on the employers. Companies along the cycle highway are contacted. They are then visited by the regional mobility-advisor to talk about and come up with a plan on how to facilitate and stimulate the employees to cycle to work. The governments involved with the cycle highway are working on their own stimulating program for employees to give a good example for other companies in the region. For this approach we also take younger people (going to school) and tourism/leisure into account (attachment 3: cycling stimulate approach for employer)

Part of this campaign are promotional events, some of which focus on cycling. For example TilburgFietst (for all citizens) and ‘Try an e-bike’.

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