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Mobility Measure

The TravelSmart scheme

The TravelSmart project in Bristol is an individualised travel marketing campaign, which aims to generate greater interest in walking and cycling and helps to promote the use of public transport as an alternative to the car.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Traditional approaches to achieving modal shift have been through the provision of transport services and infrastructure, pricing and longer-term land-use policies. Although these measures are essential to increase walking, cycling and the use of public transport as alternatives to car travel, their value is limited if people are unaware of the options available. “Soft measures” are also required in order to improve individuals’ knowledge of the infrastructure and services available, if the full potential for behaviour change is to be realised.

The TravelSmart scheme works by contacting people in their households and aims to quickly identify those who are likely to change their travel behaviour and then provide information and follow-up action to enable changes in travel patterns.

The design and implementation of TravelSmart aimed to meet the following objectives: to encourage alternatives to the car; foster a cultural climate receptive to alternatives to the car; and lessen dependency on the car, especially at peak times.


How did the measure progress?

This initiative was managed by the UK charity Sustrans, with the travel research company Socialdata being subcontracted to carry out the survey and campaign activities. The city council provided existing leaflets, maps and guides for the campaign, and developed new information material where needed. The bus operator First supplied service timetables and trial bus tickets and carried out home visits to explain bus service provision and ticketing options in the campaign area.

The TravelSmart programme was implemented in contrasting areas of Bristol: an edge-of-city location where baseline levels of walking and cycling were low; an area where car ownership was high and baseline levels of walking were also already high; and an edge-of-city centre location with a regular public transport service, and particularly good opportunities for walking and cycling due to direct routs to the city centre provided by footbridges and pedestrian/cyclist ferry services.

“Before” surveys and post-implementation surveys were carried out in each area to assess the impact of the measure.

The information materials on offer through the TravelSmart campaign included a new local travel map showing walking, cycling and public transport routes and a series of stop-specific bus timetables, both developed by Bristol City Council with support from Sustrans and First. Households were also able to request a range of further TravelSmart services, including personal advice sessions and incentives to encourage more walking, cycling and public transport use. These included four-week Rover Cards provided by First to enable selected households to try out local bus services free of charge.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The TravelSmart programme successfully achieved shifts towards more sustainable modes of transport (including public transport) without significantly altering journey times or route distances. The TravelSmart method, previously successfully applied in other parts of Europe, has now been successfully applied in the UK and proves the versatility of the method across different regions.