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One thing which often makes companies hesitate when considering a workplace car sharing scheme is whether employees will actually be willing to use it or not. Our experiences at Faxi have been very positive as the daily commute is a recognised problem for many, and people are on the lookout for more sustainable solutions.

Darlington Borough Council recently ran a travel survey with employees based at Lingfield Point, the largest business park in Darlington. According to Alex Kay, Sustainable Transport Officer for the Council, the site has “a proactive culture and an environment that supports sustainable travel.” With over 5000 vehicle movements every day with employees working similar hours, it makes sense to reduce the number of cars filling up the site on a daily basis.

“With the site benefiting from improved bus services and good walking/cycling connections, I wanted to understand the way employees were travelling to work to see if there are more sustainable and cost effective options,” Alex said. “With so many employees travelling to one site, a car sharing scheme has the basis to be successful. I wanted the survey to assess the demand for such a scheme.”

From the 547 employees who took part, nearly half (236) said that they would register for a car sharing scheme. In addition:

- 61% of employees drive a car alone to work
- 79% choose their travel mode based on convenience
- 28% choose their travel mode based on cost

The survey revealed that employees are in fact willing to look at their drive to work and think about the possible savings car sharing can bring.

The Council and Lingfield Point were delighted with the positive outcome of the survey and they are confident that a change of behaviour will take place if employees regularly use the scheme, gradually adapting their commuting behaviours and habits.

Based on the survey and potential demand for car sharing, Darlington Borough Council has decided to go ahead with the car sharing scheme as part of its DfT funded Local Motion project. The Council is actively encouraging employees to register on the Faxi group and assisting them in using the system. The Local Motion Travel Advisors will offer guidance and help to employees on the Lingfield site at a number of events.

“The aim is to get 10% of the 2,800 employees on site car sharing from companies such as Capita, Student Loans Company, Four Seasons Health Care and Amec Foster Wheeler. We want to prove that car sharing works, make it sustainable via company contributions and then roll the concept out to other sites in Darlington. The benefits for employers include reducing the need/cost for more parking, supporting corporate social responsibility goals, assisting employee retention and widening the potential recruitment market.”

It’s interesting to see how one UK Council has seen the potential benefits that car sharing offers, and prior to implementing it, conducted a thorough assessment of the possible demands of such a scheme. Watch this space to see how the scheme works at Lingfield Point – we aim to follow up with a survey to all car sharers to find out how it has helped improve their daily commute.