WestTrans - Planning Transport Together
West London Partnership

Diary of a Travel Planner - NHS Ealing



WestTrans Travel Plan Co-ordinators are stepping into your workplace! To broaden our knowledge of the challenges and pitfalls faced by Travel Plan Co-ordinators "on the field" and to help re-invigorate travel plans across West London, we offered organisations the chance to "Loan a WestTrans Coordinator" for up to two weeks. During the Work Placements we will be keeping a Travel Plan Diary so you keep track of how we're getting on. Maybe you'd like a WestTrans Work Placement at your site? Contact us at westtranstravelplans@ealing.gov.uk  

Agent: Caroline Hodges

Site: NHS Ealing (formerly Ealing Primary Care Trust)

Site Travel Plan Co-ordinator: Aziza White, Human Resources Advisor
Mission: Re-survey travel plan, communication plan for 2010, cycling strategy 2010, production of Car-Sharing pack



DAY 1 


Scoping Meeting

Met with Aziza to discuss the objectives of the workplacement.  With just two weeks worth of time we need to plan carefully.  Started by asking her the key things she wanted to achieve this year, and in particular in the time I would be working with NHS Ealing on site.  The key prioroties of the NHS Ealing travel plan are to promote Car-Sharing in the Winter months and Cycling during Spring and Summer.  The site is also due a re-survey and is looking to lay out a communication plan for 2010.


Key objectives

  • Re-survey - set up the organisation to re-survey online.  We will be using the iTRACE snapshot survey to discover if the travel plan has made a reduction in single occupancy vehicle use to and from the site.  We'll be using prizes as an incentive to encourage staff to take part in the survey - £25 vouchers and a £10 Oystercard for 3 lucky people!
  • Communication Plan 2010 - to include events calendar, newsletters, intranet
  • Promotion of Car Sharing - Key actions will include:
  1. Production of a "Car-Sharing Pack" which will contain things like Car-Sharing FAQ's, information and tips which will be compact enough to keep in a car glove compartment. 
  2. Production of a post code map for the staff areas so employees can physically see potential car-share partners living close to them.
  3. Promotion of the NHS Ealing Car-Share website within the organisation - intranet, internal newsletters etc
  • Promotion of Cycling - Key actions will include:
  1. A Cycling Strategy including setting up a BUG (Bicycle User Group) forum.
  2. Organisation of Dr Bike session in June
  3. Plan to take part in this year's Bike Week.

 We then set some days over a couple of months for me to come and work on site.  When I got back to the WestTrans office, I set up the organisation to re-survey and emailed the link to Aziza.  She promptly drafted an email to staff with the survey link ready to email out. 


As WestTrans Coordinators we very rarely get to do things 'on-the-ground', so this should be an interesting experience going forward!



Blue Seperator line





Aziza and I decided to start with the plan for this year.  We shortlisted the key events the PCT want to take part in this year - Bike Week in June and Car-Free Day in September to  link with their main objectives of promoting car-sharing and cycling.


We then drew up the plan including timescales for producing the postcode map, Car-Sharing pack, some promotional car-sharing posters and booking some cycle training sessions just before Bike Week. 


The PCT has an internal magazine for staff published every two months.  Aziza regularly uses this to publicise the travel plan and for the next issue we decide it might be good to use an interview type article with one of the PCT's success stories - Chi.  Chi took part in the cycle training last year and then went on to buy a bike through the organisations Cycle to Work scheme.  She now cycles on a regular basis to and from work.  I book a time for the interview with Chi during the next time I'm due to come to the PCT and then set about writing some potential questions.  I'm sure the conversation will digress a bit, but these will give me something to come back to when I'm stuck!  The idea is, if people read about another staff members' positive experience with trying cycling, they may be more willing to embrace it themselves.


The PCT has real issues promoting their Car-Share scheme.  Difficult at the best of times with organisations without thousands of staff, the employees at NHS Ealing are particularly reluctant to share their personal space (car!) with others - even if they are other staff members.  We think they're also suffering from the common preconception that there will be no one living in close proximity to share with.  This is the basis for which we are producing the post-code map  - so staff can visually see where they live and the amount of other people living close to them!  Aziza goes to ask a member of Human Resources to produce a list of postcodes of all those working at Armstrong Way and the other NHS Ealing sites.  Once we have those, I will have them plotted on a map of the local area which can then be hung in staff areas such as the canteen.


Aziza also wants some car-sharing posters to put up.  I read recently here that telling people how much they will lose in the upcoming year is more effective than telling them what they lost last year.  So I'm thinking of basing the posters around that as Aziza is already using some figures of average costs saved per year from car-sharing. 



Finished writing my questions for Chi ready for her interview on Friday.  I haven't told her yet but I'm planning on taking a photo too!  Then the interview will be used in the internal magazine and intranet. 


Checked the re-survey on iTRACE and their are currently 48 responses.  Their baseline survey had 77 so not doing too bad after just one week.  Aziza is offering £25 vouchers and a £10 Oystercard as prizes to 5 participants so that should be enough of a draw to get over the baseline - I'd fill it in for those prizes! 


Aziza's been working hard on the intranet pages.  The car-sharing one in particular, which will be useful as we'll need that text for the car-sharing pack we are planning.  The pack will be small enough to keep in a glove compartment and will be a folder with 4 tiered 'fact' cards with Information, FAQs, benefits to car-sharing, sign up information.  There will also be a 'freebie' built into it though we're not sure yet what that will be - probably a branded air freshener that will slot in quite easily!



Blue Seperator line





Just did half a day at NHS Ealing today.  I managed to remember my camera to snap a picture of Chi to go alongside the interview style article to go into the 'Ealing Matters' magazine.  She's didn't like the idea, but I think a picture is important to give the article that 'personal touch' - to show she is a real person with real experiences of cycling.


At around 10.00, Chi came in and we started the interview.  The voice recorder on my Blackberry proved to not be good enough to record both of us from lying on the table so in the end I gave up and just typed as she spoke - good job I can touch type!  The interview went really well, Chi appeared to be a very sociable person and was able to share her experiences in a very believable and charismatic way which I think will be very engaging for anyone reading the article!  Once it's polished off and everyone is okay with it, I will ask if I can publish a copy here.


After that it was just catching up with Aziza on our action plan.  She has put together the text she wants to put in the Car-Sharing pack.  I checked with a design company that the quote they gave NHS Ealing several months ago for the design and print of the pack was still valid.  They said it was though depending what paper type we use, that will add to the cost.  Also need to ensure there's enough space to slot in a useful promotional freebie.  We emailed along the text and gave specifications on the design - NHS Ealing has already developed a logo for their travel plan which has been used on previous literature and promotional items, so they want to ensure cohesivity and really build a recognition of the brand amongst staff so the car-sharing pack must reflect this. 



NHS Ealing Travel Plan Logo


[A word about the logo if anyone is interested - Aziza is like me and believes there is a place for the car in society when used appropriately, as such she wanted the travel plan to be less about insisting people use only modes such as walking and cycling and more about presenting all the options to staff.  I think the logo really reflects this with it's tagline 'Travel Options to Suit You' and then all the modes represented within the circle shape.]


Spent the rest of the morning editing the interview and touching up the picture ready for Aziza to show to Chi for approval then send to Ealing Matters.



Blue Seperator line





Another short day today.  Aziza has managed to get the postcodes for all staff at the organisation from Human Resources.  I then sent these to a colleague in South-East sub-region Seltrans to produce some maps with the postcodes plotted on them.  She was very generous and sent us back about 8 maps in various scales from showing the whole of the UK (would you believe NHS Ealing has some people living as far afield as Sheffield??!) to close up London and Ealing views.  The close up versions are very useful as they had 2 and 5km circles which are ideal for showing the people that are living within walking and cycling distance.


The main reason for the postcode maps was to have a visual aid whereby staff could literally see where they live in relation to other staff members in order to further promote the car-sharing database which has never really hit it off at NHS Ealing.  I think the main issue is people thinking there is no one living near them, and these maps certainly disprove that theory!  There were plenty of clusters of people living near each other who if they would only find each other through the online car-sharing database Aziza had set up, could be saving money and time by sharing a car into work.  There are of course the other issues of people leaving at different times or having children to pick up which I think will always be an issue, but this is a step forward in showing that the organisation is massive and there is nearly always (not sure about the person in Sheffield...) at least two or three people living nearby with whom they could car-share.  

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