Workplaces

Beyond the home, workplaces are an important part of many people's lives, a place where they spend much of their day. Accordingly it is crucial that opportunities for active living be provided at workplaces and through the commute.

The biggest obstacles to staff walking, cycling or using public transport are a lack of information, convenience and available end-of-trip facilities. By promoting alternative ways of getting to workplaces, and supporting people to do so, the daily journey-to-work commute is ideally placed to help people achieve the 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day which health guidance suggests is required to maintain good health.

Making workplaces more active is a win-win outcome for both employees and employers. Exercise can improve health, reduce stress, injury and sick leave, improve workplace morale and make staff more productive. It can aid in the recruitment and retention of staff. Staff downtime and business travel costs can be lowered as can the costs from delays and unreliability caused by traffic congestion. There are also a number of environmental and climate benefits. For example, cycle parking and end of trip facilities contribute credits towards the Green Star Rating.

Design Objectives

  • To provide well-designed and located workplaces which are accessible to public transport, walking and cycling networks.
  • To provide easy access to alternative methods of travel to workplaces so that car trip for commuting and business are minimal.
  • To provide the infrastructure and facilities which encourage changes in travel behaviour.
  • To encourage development of a workplace travel plan.

Design Considerations

Site Integration

  • Make public transport an easy option, by increasing awareness of public transport, planning clearly signed, safe (eg well-lit) and direct routes to public transport stops within a comfortable walking distance of workplaces. Bus stops should be attractive, well maintained and secure with appropriate route and timetable information provided.
  • Integrate a range of services (such as cafe's, ATMs, and childcare) on-site or within walking and cycling distance to encourage linked trips.
  • Integrate workplaces into mixed use urban centres, well served by public transport. Avoid dispersed, isolated locations because they can only be reached by car and incur significant community and environmental costs.

Facilities

  • Provide secure, well-lit and sheltered bicycle parking within (or close to) buildings. Wherever possible, this should be within a buildings secure car park. Bicycle parking should be more conveniently positioned (ie closest to entrance) than any other employee car parking, except accessible spaces.
  • Provide for the comfort of walkers and cyclists through the provision of end-of-trip facilities such as shower, changing and locker facilities. Additional equipment should be provided such as irons, hairdryers, rails for drying clothes, spare bicycle repair tools, or company umbrellas for use on rainy days. These facilities also benefit other building users (such as sports players).

Site Layout and Design

  • Encourage access by all modes of transport through site layout that balances the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, buses as well as driver comfort and visibility.
  • Provide direct, safe and pleasant walking and cycling paths which are well signed to (and on) the company site, as described in the "Walking and Cycling Routes" Guideline.
  • Manage the location, supply and availability of car parking to support walking, cycling and public transport. Provide priority parking for allocation to staff who car pool or car share.
  • Reduce employees need to use car-based travel in the course of their work by designing 'smart buildings', which increase the use of technology in the workplace. Provide a company cycle fleet and when employees need to travel, encourage them to consider doing so by bike. Register your business to use a car share service such as GoGet CarShare

Planning, Education and Training

  • Develop a workplace travel plan, which details workplace specific active transport measures and the methods by which they are implemented. This plan can either be organisation-specific or be jointly developed for a locality (eg all occupiers of a building, a business park or an industrial estate).
  • Ensure that staff and visitors are aware of alternative ways of getting to the workplace through the publication of a Transport Access Guide (TAG). Be creative in how this information is publicised, such as on the back of business cards, the workplace website or in email footers.
  • Support staff to overcome personal barriers to walking and cycling to work, such as by offering cycle maintenance and proficiency training to staff or partnering new riders with existing riders to 'learn the ropes'.
  • Ensure that the buildings' design and the sites' layout incorporate features which encourage walking. This includes making stairs attractive and easy to access, as well as opening-up pathways across buildings and sites. Open spaces should also be provided which support physical activity by staff (for example a half oval for touch football).

Key references

  • "Travelsmart Employers Kit", TravelSmart Australia (a joint initiative of Australian, State and Territory Governments)
  • "Producing and using Transport Access Guides", Roads and Traffic Authority NSW

Additional resources

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