Section 1: Methodology
In this section we are going to introduce you to the methodology of mobility plan making. Please, keep in mind that we are speaking of the workplace mobility plan. Further methodology can be also found in the section online documents.
|Stage||Included activities||Interested parties*||Outcomes|
|Preparation||Mobility team set up, introductory meeting||Mobility coordinator/manager, other (according to the local circumstances)||Defining the main targets of MP and evaluation of its indicators|
|Informative campaign for the employees||Mobility team, all employees||Familiarizing employees with sustainable mobility principles and objectives of the MP|
|Analytical||Travel staff survey||Mobility team, all employees||Data from the questionnaire|
|Gathering the information about internal and external situation at the institution||Mobility team||Data about accessibility, infrastructure, regulations and overall situation at the municipality|
|Analysing the data from the research||Mobility team||Basic indicators set up|
|Proposal & Implementation||Action plan proposal||Mobility team||Action plan proposal|
|Commenting on the action plan proposal||Mobility team, all employees||Finalized action plan|
|Gradual implementation of the measures proposed by action plan||Mobility team, external services||Measures implemented|
|Evaluation||Evaluation travel staff survey||Mobility team, all employees||Data from the questionnaire|
*stakeholders can be involved in the whole process of mobility planning (Stakeholders identified within the MOVECIT project are presented in D.T1.5.1. which is available at project website.)
Mobility team set up, introductory meeting
The key to a successful realization of the mobility plan for the city hall or institution is intentional and directed support from the management and administration. Institutions and city halls in cities whose political representations declare their support of sustainable mobility have a stronger position already. It is also very desirable to establish a position of mobility manager or mobility coordinator in the institution that is responsible for bettering the accessibility of the site.
When the intention of mobility plan creation is supported and authorized, it is necessary to assemble mobility team (sometimes known as working group) which will be responsible for the mobility planning process. The members of this group should be the mobility manager or other internal or external mobility experts, transport engineers, building manager, deputy of the institutional management, HR/PR (responsible for communication within the institution and with public) and workers of the relevant departments or teams (e.g. development, investment, transportation etc.). An enthusiast such as influencers among employees can also be a huge asset to the group.
The mobility team can also have two parallel forms:
- Narrow team can consist of 2-5 most important executives. Meets regularly and often.
- Wider team can hold up to 15 members (depends on local circumstances). The wider team can be consisted of members who mostly provide input and information throughout the process. The focus groups members and stakeholders are welcome as well since they can cover the whole wider area of the municipality and can influence commuters’ habits.
The mobility team should define the main problems and issues in the area of mobility and set up the basic goals of MP on their first meeting. It is necessary to define the issues which need to be dealt with and improved by MP. The goals should be SMART - specific, measurable achievable realistic and time-bound. It is also crucial to find out about all activities bound with the topic which are already in motion, happened or are planned. It is very hard to begin with nothing in your hands. Much more practical is to connect future activities to successful ones which took place in a past.
Involve the stakeholders
It is necessary to incorporate several stakeholders in order to gather information from various viewpoints and receive different needs. This helps making workplace mobility plans more effective and reducing problems during the implementation.
Stakeholder involvement can be defined on different levels. First of all those stakeholders of regional level must be involved, who are concerned with regional development plans, regulation as well as the current situation of economy, tourism and energy sectors. Secondly the municipality level has to be considered, typically municipalities and related organizations/institutions. Thirdly representatives of the local neighbourhood level (e.g. citizens) are required. This level should not be underestimated during the planning processes, as direct traveller experiences reflect the current mobility problems. Finally the involvement of stakeholders from the hinterland is also an important issue, as their experiences might be very beneficial for general planning.
But before contacting stakeholders concerning workplace mobility planning, some important preparatory tasks must be fulfilled (see also D.T1.5.1 of MOVECIT project for more information):
- revealing main problems related to workplace mobility in the region;
- identifying local and regional stakeholders and their interests;
- developing a strategy for citizen and stakeholder engagement;
- determining methods of involvement;
- creating plans for managing participation.
After the preparatory phase all relevant actors must be contacted and invited to contribute for workplace mobility planning. Main partners who should be considered during the stakeholder involvement process are:
- representatives from municipalities;
- citizens, employees;
- transportation companies, transport service providers;
- non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- public institutions (e.g. schools);
- private companies which induce significant workplace travels in the region;
- external experts;
- public media and regional media.
Main steps of stakeholder involvement are as follows:
- decide and finalize the range of participants;
- make a proper strategy for the participation activities;
- do not exclude any relevant actor from the involvement process;
- define efficient consultation methods (public forum, online survey, social networks, personal request);
- make clear and concise documentation concerning the results of participation process;
- deduce the main conclusions of consultations;
- consider the results of the stakeholder involvement in the planning process.
It is also important to know the main obstacles of successful stakeholder involvements, which are typically:
- lack of political support;
- limited financial and human resources;
- lack of knowledge on how to plan and implement a participatory process;
- missing strategic plan for stakeholder involvement;
- lack of interest and awareness about transport planning among citizens and stakeholders;
- lack of a tradition of participatory.
Travel behaviour survey
Travel behaviour survey (example of which can be found in the toolkit) is a must for every successful mobility survey. It will provide you the answers for following questions:
- how do our employees commute?
- what drives their travel choices?
- what shall be improved to promote sustainable travel?
The main goal of every travel survey is to ascertain a modal split distribution - how particular transport modes (public transport, car, walk, bicycle etc.) contribute to total sum of all work-commuting trips. For example, resulting modal split (split of transport modes) can be 38 % public transport, 32 % car, 25 % walk and 5 % bicycle. Such a finding then constitutes a benchmark for setting future goals improving modal split in favour for sustainable modes of transport. Additionally, using a travel survey you may explore motivations of your employees and obstacles preventing them from sustainable travel.
What do you need to conduct a travel survey?
- A goal of travel survey - The primary goal - finding out a modal split - is described above. However, additional goals may be included, e.g. finding out about business trips, motivations, obstacles, parking availability, preferences, public transport conditions, end of trip facilities etc. The proper discussion about survey goals is necessary in the very beginning, months ahead of date of data collection. It is recommended to bear in a mind to avoid overloading of interviewees by too long questionnaire - do your best to keep it simple and brief. Perhaps you can include different sub-themes aside the primary goal in different years of data collection.
- Survey advocate - Why a survey advocate? There are two reasons - pragmatic one and promotional one. The pragmatic reasons go first. The survey is a small project which has to be organised, the questionnaire must be drafted and distributed, employees shall be reminded, data shall be collected, questions of interviewees shall be answered etc. Survey advocate is the manager of the process. On the other hand, survey advocate explains why is the survey conducted, he or she translates the survey purpose to the employees. Mostly preferably, the survey advocate lends legitimacy to survey - therefore it is desirable that higher-level employee is engaged as a survey advocate.
Questionnaire - The design of questionnaire is a crucial. There is a well-known saying among a data analysts - GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. When there are data of inferior quality in analysis input, then there cannot be a meaningful output at the end of analysis. Questionnaire may be affected by many faults in design in many areas - how items are formulated, what answers are provided, risk of suggestive, double-barrel items etc. Whenever it is possible, seek a professional advice from a trained person (sociologist, sociology student, market research professional).
Questionnaire is provided either as a paper document or an on-line survey. Which one to choose? Optionally, you can combine both ways, paper and on-line survey. Paper questionnare: On-line survey: * when there is a reluctance among employees for use of internet and digital technologies, * employees are “digital natives” - they feel comfortable using digital technologies, * when employees lack a digital competencies, * there is an organization communication culture utilising virtual communication (newsletters, e-mails, virtual project management tools, on-line calendars etc.), * when there are no available communication channels to spread an hyperlink for on-line survey (e.g. newsletter/mailing list, intranet). * there are on-line communication channels available (outlook/google calendar, mailing list, intranet etc.).
- Time period for data collection - There are two questions you need to answer - for how long will be data collection running (1) and when you plan to collect data (2). Data collection timeframe may vary from minimum one week to maximum of three weeks. Two weeks should be usually suitable timeframe. It allows you to concentrate promotion of the survey (see below), to make a several follow-up calls and prevents diffusion of survey awareness due to too long time period. Travel behaviour may be affected by climatic and weather conditions in some places. Not every city is like Amsterdam or Copenhagen where people cycle no matter storms and winds. It is recommended to choose a neutral time period such an April, May or September, when a mild weather with no extremes is expected (at least in most of European countries).
Interviewees - Who shall fill in the survey? Typically, you shall be interested in travel behaviour of all employees who at least occasionally commute to your workplace. Is there a frequent home-office working? Never mind, you can identify home-office workers in the questionnaire (no trip is sustainable travel too). The ultimate goal is to gather as many responses as possible. The final response rate is calculated as a proportion of total number of employees and obtained responses. In some case you can collect data from other persons beside employees too. Are there frequent visitors to your workplace (public office, hospital, clients…) and you wish to promote sustainable travel among them too? Then collect data of their travel behaviour and integrate the measures for sustainable travel of your visitors in a mobility plan. To collect data from visitor it is necessary to employ interviewers, who will approach visitors either with a paper survey or with on-line survey using tablet. Data are then collected directly from visitors.
- Promotion and communications channels to deliver questionnaire - How will you deliver the questionnaire to all employees? What communications channels can you use? How to create an awareness about survey? How to motivate people to participate? You shall answer these questions in order to successfully carry out the survey. Answers will be closely related to the choice of paper or on-line survey.
How to promote on-line survey: How to promote both on-line and paper survey: * use direct mail, * using organizational bulletin or internal magazine, * intranet welcome message promoting survey, * posters in common areas - kitchen, meeting rooms, entrance, parking lot etc., * re their social media channels used for internal communications (e.g. closed Facebook group)? Use them too! * direct communication - deliver questionnaires (paper) or promotion leaflet directly on employees’ desks/lockers/working spaces, * posters/leaflets with QR code link to survey, * call general meeting, where survey is briefly introduced by high-ranking employee (manager, CEO etc.) and possible paper surveys are distributed. * monitor response rate and do follow-up calls (2nd, 3rd and when necessary even 4th call).
Analysing the data from the research
The goal of an analysis is to describe commuting modal split of the employees (and visitors, when necessary). Modal split is a basic indicator of travel behaviour, and primary measure for evaluation of implemented actions.
For simple travel behaviour survey there is no need for advanced methods of statistical analysis, satisfactory operation on data includes first level and second level statistics:
- level - frequencies and shares (percentages) for single items in questionnaire,
- level - cross tabs (contingency tables) showing distributions of two variables, e.g. modal split and sex.
There may be necessary some data transformation operations depending on a chosen measure for modal split. The process of modal split calculation will differ when a travel diary is employed (e.g. trips for whole week are considered) contrasting to most simple measure when you collect data about a single commuting day.
The help of experienced analyst may be required for data analysis, in most cases an assistance of sociology undergraduate with basic statistical and methodological training should suffice.
Setting up the goals and measures
Goals can help us achieve the results which are desired from the beginning of the mobility planning process. It is important to derive the goals according to defined vision which should be developed in cooperation with the employees or at least wider mobility team at the beginning of the process. Specific measures which will lead to meeting the targets and goals need to be drafted in the proposal stage. You can read about measures which can be used to achieve certain goals in the next chapter. The need to rationalize the car use comes from the core of the document itself and methods it uses. This need makes the downsizing the numbers of cars and preferred usage of the sustainable transportation modes often goals of mobility plans.
Let’s focus on focus groups! In order to find the right goals and subsequently measures that correspond with them, it is possible to set a pillars which should reflect the main areas or issues which needs to be addressed. The pillars usually correspond with specific modes of transportation but that is not a rule. It is also possible to build a focus group for each pillar. This focus group can have a several meetings or workshops and contribute by its input to the goals set, measures or even a vision itself.
The specific objectives can be for example:
- Higher share of employees commuting by public transportation / bike / feet / carpooling
- Lowering the need of parking spaces usage
- Lowering the number of late arrivals caused by traffic situation
- Better accessibility of the working site
- Lowering the absenteeism of the employees for health reasons
- Lowering the costs of business trips
Action plan proposal
The key document created in this phase is the action plan. This tool describes in detail following steps of the whole process of implementation. The specific goals, targets, responsibilities, financial sources and measures itself along with the timeline of the process are included. The indicators which help us control the success should be part of the action plan as well. The overview of the most usual problems and following solutions can be found in the next chapter.
GOAL: Share of cyclist transportation will reach 5 % of the modal split
|Indicator||Measure||Implementation term||Financed by||Responsibility|
|Modal split||Building a covered bicycle shelter||to 30.3.2018||City hall budget||Mobility coordinator|
|Purchase of 5 e-bikes||to 1.5.2018||Regional funds||Head of investment department|
|Introducing a service day for cyclists (a free bicycle service will be available this day)||1.5.2018||ESF||Manager of the buildings|
|1.7.2018||ESF||Manager of the buildings|
|1.9.2018||ESF||Manager of the buildings|
Evaluation travel staff survey
It is crucial to accept obligatory rules for monitoring and evaluation of all activities in order to see if the goals set in the action plan has reached their targets. Monitoring and evaluation are long-term activities ongoing during the whole mobility planning process. These activities should take place in regular intervals which are set in advance. The mobility plan is re-evaluated and updated according to results of these monitoring actions. Constant monitoring can also help to find and fix possible mistakes, errors or incorrect assumption which could have been incorporated to the action plan.
Questionnaire survey is one of the most common way how to obtain data for monitoring and evaluation. This survey has the advantage of gaining the information directly from the users of the mobility plan - employees, clients or citizens. The objective of the first survey is to gain the knowledge about the default situation before the mobility plan as a document is created and it is usually made during the analytical phase. It is important to gather the data before any measures are applied for comparison and getting to know how big progress has been made or in which direction the changes are going.
Indicators can help
The mobility team should be responsible for setting up the indicators which will monitor the situation and its development. These indicators need to be monitored regularly and in ideal case for a long period of time.
Indicators which can help us can be for example:
- Modal split (Share of certain modes of transportation used for commuting)
- Usual time which the employee spends by finding a vacant parking space
- The number of late arrivals to work caused by transportation
- Number of awareness raising events (or their attendance)
- And much more
After each monitoring period the action plan can be revised according to the results and successes. In case the change is very small, more strict measures can be applied or otherwise adjusted.