We talked to transport planners and car sharing specialists, RGP, about car clubs, sustainability and making small business more efficient.
We’ve all heard of Cycleways, the Congestion Charge and ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) –examples of environmentally friendly transport initiatives. But few of us realise that car clubs also play a vital role in making cities greener. And, with the increasing availability of car clubs and sharing services, small businesses are able to also boost staff wellbeing levels and lower costs – so it’s not just the environment that benefits.
RGP Transport Planners, a consultancy working with car club specialists on projects across the country, explain a little more as to how car sharing platforms feature in a greener, business-friendly future for cities.
A greener way to travel
“Car clubs allow those who would otherwise own and use a private car to switch to more sustainable travel options whilst still benefitting from the use of a car when necessary,” explains Principal Consultant at RGP, Julian Smith. “This reduces overall vehicle miles driven and means that only essential car journeys are undertaken”.
The great news is that when drivers use shared vehicles, they can benefit from the very latest models. Right now, this means hybrids, but fully electric models are gradually becoming more mainstream: “The latest local and national policy guidance on electric cars certainly points to electric as being the future,” says Smith. “More and more councils are insisting that electric vehicle charging points be installed into new developments from the outset, plus additional ‘passive’ infrastructure to ensure further charging points can be installed in future”. It’s an exciting environmentally-friendly development – and one that you can benefit from with car sharing. Looking further down the road, if electric car sharing was to go global, it has been estimated that, in time, we might only need 15 percent of the number of vehicles currently on the road.
Even when car clubbers are not using their car share schemes, they are more likely to use non-car transport options, according to Smith, again reducing the overall number of cars on the road. “For example, our transport planning expert believes that rail will be used more for commuting among these users, with car share club members walking and cycling more for local journeys”.
Small business benefits
We all want to be greener, but how are the benefits of car sharing specific to small businesses?
“Car clubs can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for businesses to provide dedicated car parking, particularly among staff who require use of a car during the working day,” explains Smith. In terms of office design and connected transport planning, it might not be long until you are building your own HQ! You never know.
Car sharing not only helps small businesses hit their sustainability targets, but also makes employees more active and less stressed (we all know how infuriating parking can be when you’re tight for time). And with increased staff wellbeing comes increased productivity, so it’s a win-win all round.
Car ownership is an expensive undertaking, with UK motorists spending an average of £162 per month on every car, excluding any financial repayments.
Fortunately, according to our Smith, “car clubs remove the inconvenience and cost associated with running and maintaining a private car and make it easier to budget without the surprise of a large car bill.”
“They also mean that the stresses associated with parking a car are reduced for those who don’t benefit from off-street parking at home – given that car club vehicles have their own dedicated parking bays.”
If you and your small business want to be sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly, not to mention less stressed and more productive, why not look into a car sharing with Zipcar?