Sell Campaign 4: Workplace Engagement - Employees

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

Background and aim

There is a captive audience element of engaging employees in their place of work. The programme centres on encouraging more cycle commuting so what better place than to target workplaces. If employees see their peers or colleagues taking the bike to work they are more likely to consider changing how they travel.

Target audience

Primary audience: those people who occasionally cycle or are interested in increasing cycling to work.


  • Staff time
  • Information and promotional materials aimed at commuters
  • Online Active Travel Challenge
  • Incentives for travel challenges and events
  • Retailer reward scheme
  • Training for workplace Active Travel Champion
  • Bike hire for cycle training, bike information sessions and e-bike loan
  • Bike maintenance session
  • Ride leader training for travel champions and others.

Outputs and impact

  • A branded workplace toolkit with “how to” guidesheets for various aspects within the campaign e.g. how to train workplace champions or develop an annual plan around promoting cycling.
  • Sharing links to maps and routes.
  • Promotion of cycling for all, not just for the fit and active
  • Increase in number of employees using more sustainable travel to work
  • Employees taking part in workplace and regional/national initiatives.

Examples of activities

  • Bike loan scheme (including e-bikes)
  • Provision of on-road cycle training
  • Development of workplace engagement plan
  • Active Travel Champion
  • Online cycle challenge
  • Promotional events and activities
  • Led rides or walks, bike bus, bike buddy schemes.
  • Health checks and information for bikes and people
  • Route planning workshops
  • Staff forum to identify travel related issues (see Campaign 10)

Plan of action

Step 1: Identify workplaces

Working with organisations which are involved with Campaign 3 (and preferably also 6) identify the benefits to employees of taking part in more active travel and use the activities suggested to promote sustainable/active travel.

Identify staff in the workplace to liaise with to carry forward initiatives. This will need a mixture of higher level management who can make decisions and will work with Sustrans (or partner organisation) and with the travel champion in the workplace. This is the bridge between Campaigns 3 and 4. These individuals do not have to be already cycling to work but show an interest and enthusiasm to be role models.

Step 2: Develop travel plans

Working in partnership with the workplace,develop plans to offer employees to encourage more sustainable travel, especially cycling.

Carry out workplace survey – develop planning around barriers to cycling.

Example Barriers – based on Belfast findings

  • I feel exposed and vulnerable to roads and motorised traffic
  • Too many cars on the road
  • Drivers are erratic & intimidating
  • Cycle path and road surfaces are too dangerous
  • I can’t combine cycling with pre- or post-work activity
  • Lack of lighting on cycle paths

Develop Active Travel Champions in the workplace. These people will be offered support from Sustrans/partner organisation to develop plans, run activities, the chance to network with champions in other organisations and training.

Step 3: Deliver activities

Deliver activities (listed above) as agreed with the workplaces, such as information sessions and Champion training, based on the annual plan developed. 


Delivery of interventions/activities should be trialled and evaluated.

  • 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)
  • Increased confidence in cycling – could be shown by number of bike buddies in the workplace.

Evidence base for Employees

In Northern Ireland 29 per cent of total carbon emissions are from road transport, with cars providing over half of this figure. At current rates of change, in a few years transport will become the largest source of greenhouse gases.

Whether you are commuting to school or to work, cycling can get you there up to twice as fast when compared to travelling by car in rush hour traffic

Apart from other health benefits cycling is a low impact activity making it one of the safest ways to exercise without putting strain on your muscles or joints.

Walking or cycling burns calories, gets your heart pumping and works your legs and abdominal muscles. It can also lift your mood, put a smile on your face and improve your general health and wellbeing.

In addition, see evidence set out in Campaign 3

Case studies

The Wellhub website pictured on right, is for employees in Belfast used by a number of employers to promote health and wellbeing. Sustrans monthly led rides for commuters are promoted on Wellhub. 

My beautiful commute: encourage people to think about their commute and share pictures on social media and company intranet sites or staff newsletters.

Encourage the idea of ‘normal people’ cycling, anyone can do it – use case studies from other cyclists (Campaign 8) and buddy cyclists.

Sustrans case study “Cycle training gave me the confidence to cycle to work”

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