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blog: A tale of a corporate Liftshare scheme

Author: Lynsey Harris

I've had a healthy interest in the potential for car sharing to reduce carbon, reduce congestion, and increase people’s disposable incomes, since way back in 2004, when ITP led the DfT sponsored research into car sharing, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to work with a number of high profile businesses to plan and launch their corporate car share schemes, in partnership with Liftshare.

The area

Our most recent car sharing project has been in Slough, working with a large pharmaceutical company. In terms of transport connections, Slough is surrounded by no less than three motorways (M25, M4 and M40), has a busy train station, and has developed good cycling links between the town centre and Slough Trading Estate. Vehicular congestion is significant in the peak periods. 

The issue

The pharmaceutical company (‘the business’) was experiencing employee parking issues at their site - a classic supply and demand issue. With plans for future growth, ensuring all employees could get to work was a key issue to address and the main aim of the car sharing scheme was to reduce the number of single occupancy cars arriving at the site. Slough Borough Council encouraged the business to approach Liftshare to provide a corporate Liftshare scheme. 

Car Park Cropped

Preparation (We don’t do failure!)

Working alongside Liftshare, ITP provided the business with external expert support to plan and execute the successful launch of their Liftshare scheme. We also promoted active travel modes, building on the existing strong cycling culture at the business. A summertime project start provided us with the opportunity to take full advantage of Cycle to Work Day in August, and together with Slough Borough Council we began by organising a full day of cycling events, including:

  • A tasty cyclist breakfast
  • A Dr Bike session
  • Electric and pedal bike try-outs (my experience is that everyone loves an e-bike once they have that first ride under their belt!)
  • Browsing various cycling accessories on the market
  • A Rollapaluza to get the competitive juices flowing amongst employees.

A staff travel survey was issued to help us get a feel for how employees currently travelled to work, where they were travelling from, what would encourage them to cycle, use public transport etc, and most importantly in this case, what would encourage them to car share.

Lonza Mode Share
Encouraging Car Sharing

The survey results helped us to shape the key measures required to launch the corporate Liftshare platform including:

  • An Emergency Ride Home policy
  • Dedicated Liftshare bays
  • £50 voucher for each person who authenticated their car share trip 10 times within 10 weeks.

We also shared key messages about the reasons for introducing Liftshare and the benefits of car sharing to staff.

The launch

A Communication and Engagement Strategy really is key to encouraging buy-in and support from employees. We chose to hold a series of employee presentations, working with the Liftshare Campaigns Team, to launch the car share scheme. Presentations offer an opportunity to directly engage with staff, build consensus around the current issues faced by the business and its employees, and guide people through the information that has led to the decision to introduce the car share scheme. We also included GIS postcode analysis to provide very persuasive visuals, and when you add numbers to the visuals, for example, over a third of staff based at this site live within 3 miles, people’s faces are always a picture! 

The presentations also provided the chance to outline the car sharing solution to staff, showing them exactly how the platform works, what will be in it for them and offers an opportunity for people to ask questions or comment. Employees can also sign up to the Liftshare scheme there and then, which is a useful way to convert people’s initial enthusiasm into solid action. 

Liftshare Poster

We delivered 20 presentations over four days providing plenty of opportunity for employees to learn about the solutions the business was implementing to address the parking issue. During this time, the building was covered with Liftshare marketing materials – pop up banners were located in heavily trafficked areas, posters adorned all communal noticeboards and leaflets were placed on every table in every communal space. Covering the site in Liftshare marketing materials really helped to get Liftshare into people’s consciousness!

We also produced supporting written information for use on the intranet, focussed on the car share scheme, as well as other travel information relating to active travel and public transport. This saved people having to search for information themselves and helped signpost them to the best sources of information.

To support employees following the presentations, we held six lunchtime drop in sessions over three weeks so employees could raise questions, sign up to the scheme, and ask about other options for their commute. I always really enjoy these sessions; most interactions are positive, and it feels good when you can see that you have eased someone’s concern. At this business, there was the very real issue of more cars arriving to site than parking spaces available and I got to use my favourite line a number of times ‘As much as I’d love to, we can’t create parking spaces out of thin air and so we need to reduce the number of vehicles arriving to the site and that’s what the car share scheme can help to achieve’, obviously delivered with a smile.    

So, did it work?

The Liftshare scheme launched at the end of November and it appears to have been a very successful launch indeed. By mid-January, the initial Liftshare bays were full most days, so the business has increased the number of Liftshare parking bays by 50%.

Over half of the employees who signed up have formed a Liftshare Team and there are c.150 Liftshare Teams in February 2020. Not every one of those Teams will share everyday but as the Tesco slogan goes, “Every little helps!”.

Things people say

  • The most organised thing I heard on site?“We’ve put together a spreadsheet of who can share and when.” I was seriously impressed.
  • The most heart-warming thing I heard on site? “I don’t mind getting the bus as I get to catch up with my teenage daughter on the walk down to the bus stop.” (He also liked that he could start planning his day and checking/sending emails whilst on his way into work).
  • The best thing I heard?“Looks like it’s working.”

If you are interested in learning more about the expert support ITP can provide to introduce car sharing initiatives and/or wider workplace travel planning initiatives at your site, please get in touch

To learn more about the Liftshare suite of products please get in touch with the Liftshare business development team.


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