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blog: Meet the people behind our Smarter Travel blogs

Author: Laura Marshall

What's your favourite Smarter Travel project that you've worked on?

Rachel: One project I particularly enjoyed working on was Derby City Council's Local Sustainable Transport Funded behavioural change programme called ‘Connected’. The aim of the programme was to advise and support people to make more trips by walking, cycling, car sharing, and using public transport, and we did this by delivering the Travel Advice Service (TAS). I really enjoyed being part of the team and I learnt a lot from colleagues and clients over the course of the project. It was great to see that the advice and information we were providing was making a positive difference to people’s lives.

LynseyI really enjoyed working on the DfT sponsored research projects into car sharing and personalised travel planning early on in my career and it’s been great to be able to convert that knowledge into practice through our partnerships with Liftshare, and with AECOM on our joint PTP projects.

StephI think it would have to be the Lowestoft Local Links project that we delivered with Suffolk County Council. It was the first behavioural change project that I’d worked on and we were working with a really great team of delivery partners and stakeholders to support 150+ businesses to promote sustainable travel to their employees. It meant monthly trips to the seaside! The project won the CIHT Award in 2013 and was highlight commended at the National Transport Awards in 2015.

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What role do you think Smarter Travel has in addressing the climate change emergency?

JimIt has a significant one but will not achieve transport related climate emergency objectives in isolation without being supported by robust demand management interventions (e.g. road pricing) and significant investment in infrastructure supporting the use of non-car modes.

Sian: A crucial one! How we travel directly impacts the climate, and can encourage us to think about other aspects of our lives, so integrating better travel choices, and being open to trying new options is key. 

KirstyI think Smarter Travel has an extremely important role, by encouraging people to travel more sustainably for work and leisure we can have a big impact on reducing emissions and improving air quality.

RachelSmarter Travel projects play an important role in delivering the right kind of information, incentives and motivation to individuals to encourage people to make a shift away from choosing the car and can help encourage them to make more sustainable choices which have reduced impacts on the environment. Marketing campaigns play a key role within Smarter Travel projects and there is evidence that people are more likely to be willing to reduce their car use if they feel this is a good thing to do, if they believe that they can and that others will approve.  

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What is the most challenging thing about encouraging people to switch to sustainable transport and what do we do to overcome that?

Georgia: The first step is always the hardest. Trying something new for the first time is always daunting. I think we need to recognise that behaviour change is a process, not an event, and that patience and perseverance are the tools we need to inspire real change. It helps to be as flexible as possible and acknowledge small steps in the right direction, remembering that 10 people travelling sustainably one day per week has a greater impact than 1 person travelling sustainably seven days per week. 

Sandy: Driving is as normal as eating breakfast. This has fed over the years, built up expectations and created a dependency. Overcoming this requires significant funding and decision making powers to make the alternatives far more attractive than driving. 

StephPeople often travel the same way every day, especially for the commute. It’s easy to do that, it doesn’t need any thinking-time and with everyone rushing round juggling work, home, and childcare commitments, trying to think about changing travel habits can be just a bit too much trouble, even if they know it’s good for them, so they carry on as before. Our role in behaviour change programmes is to break down those barriers and help people explore their travel options. Rather than expecting people to go online and find out this information themselves, we take the information to them and troubleshoot common worries.

Sian: Sometimes people need to give something a try to see how it might be better, and it's encouraging them to make that initial step that can be the hardest part. Our role is to encourage people to switch from their habits and what they know works well for them, and to see that there are other options which can be better for their mind, body and pocket. 

LynseyWider barriers include planning policy and locations of new housing allocations. Overcoming the convenience of car use, particularly in areas outside of cities is a real challenge. We need to encourage people to think about their choices, reimagine their time and their health – instead of going to the gym, how about cycling to work? How about walking or running to work and listening to music or a book at the same time on the way – same goes for public transport. 

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How do you like to spend your time outside of the office?

SandyMixing it up regularly between cycling around the hills around Bristol, heading to the theatre, or being engaged in an immersive music experience. I love a museum too (the latest being the Design Museum, London - highly recommended).

KirstyYou can often find me watching Liverpool matches or at the weekly pub quiz. I attempt to run a little bit too and am currently in the midst of wedding planning.

StephIt used to be running, cycling and swimming, but now it’s more like DIY, DIY, and DIY!

GeorgiaAerial sports and acrobatics, exploring foreign cities, and learning new languages.

LynseyI enjoy gym classes, particularly Body Pump and Barre, cycling in the summer, spending time with my partner and good friends, ensuring my cats continue to live in the luxurious lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to and I Iove a good holiday to snowy mountains and sandy beaches to get away from it all.

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Can you tell us something that not many people know about you?

Sian: I have 3 Blue Peter badges!

JimI passed my Grade 8 on the cornet at the age of 14 (I was a child prodigy – think of Mozart with a Brummie accent).

KirstyI’m an award-winning football blogger with over 11,000 Twitter followers.

SandyI have been bowled by some of the world's best cricket players...but equally have a few international scalps playing for a local team from back in the day!

Georgia: I've achieved grade A* in Japanese at GCSE

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Do you have any guilty pleasures?


LynseyBinge watching cheesy tv programmes, Chesapeake Shores anyone?

Kirsty: Pork scratchings...

Georgia: Chocolate after breakfast, always!

SianI love sitting on the sofa, in front of the fire, watching (slightly) awful TV such as Love island, Made in Chelsea and Love is Blind.


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