Pleased but sad to say our Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) project for South Dublin County Council has just been completed. It was a really exciting project to work on, being the first of its kind in Ireland (apart from a pilot in Adamstown in 2010). PTP has been implemented successfully in the UK and Europe, and it was interesting to see best practice being transferred to Ireland.
Our team of Travel Advisors were specially trained and intensively briefed. From our base in Bawnogue Enterprise Centre, they developed expert knowledge of the travel options in the area and engaged with residents on a one-to-one basis, offering them advice, information leaflets and maps, encouraging them to try out more ‘sustainable’ forms of transport. This included using public transport where normally they would have taken the car, getting the bikes out and trying out the many cycles lanes in the area, walking to the shops, or car-sharing if there was no other alternative.
The Travel Advisors also challenged people to take part in the competitions organised by South Dublin County Council Travel Smart Communities, such as logging the number of journeys by non-car modes, or the number of steps taken every day, or cycling. If they signed up to a challenge they got a pedometer, or a slap band for cycling, or bus tickets and Leap Cards for trying out public transport.
Wearing their light blue Travel Smart Communities t-shirts (or more often their fleeces), our team soon became recognisable and were welcomed by residents.
‘I was very pleased with the Travel Advisor and happy to gain something in return. Very useful service – opening my door usually means I have to help out a charity or buy something. I am extremely happy I opened my door and your team are very good and helpful’
In a follow-up survey, 96% of residents said they felt the initiative was a good idea and a worthwhile activity for the Council to be involved in. 89% said it prompted them to think about their travel behaviour and just over 50% say they changed their behaviour as a result.
‘A wonderful encouraging initiative – very positive influence on my family. Definitely walking and cycling much more. Delighted to know about the green way canal walk. Thanks for the pack especially the hi-vis vest and bags’
We targeted almost 4000 households and managed to engage with over 40% of them. In total, almost 2000 individuals participated in the programme in one way or another – either by agreeing to take a pack of information, take part in a challenge or try out new ways of travelling.
The lasting impact of the initiative will be evaluated in October; a survey of residents’ travel behaviour will be compared to one conducted earlier this year. We will find out if travel patterns have changed across the area and evaluate the impact of PTP for the first time in Ireland.