Community travel workers
Employed by the UK charity Sustrans, which encourages people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of their everyday journeys, community travel workers (CTWs) involve residents in the development and design of project measures and initiatives.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Experience has shown that local support for transport projects is higher when a consultation process takes place, involving individuals and organisations that are likely to be affected by the project. The project plan for Home Zones in Bristol required significant effort to encourage residents to actively participate and share their views and opinions during the process of planning and designing a remodelled residential streetscape. The CTWs established a network of community representatives, ensuring that each street had a recognised point of contact. These street representatives were vital conduits between the community and the project team. Communication and involvement were further developed via meetings, newsletters and street events. A number of door-to-door surveys were completed, which proved a most successful and productive means of interaction. They provided information about what the residents wanted and thought and provided the best forum for galvanising support, primarily because the CTWs were able to listen and respond to concerns on a one-to-one basis.
The CTWs aimed to reduce dependency on the private car; foster alternatives to the car; and ensure community participation in and ownership of other area-based project measures.
Two CTWs were recruited by Sustrans and commenced work in 2002, leading a programme of community involvement. They focused the vast majority of their time on Home Zone development and related measures in the Dings area of Bristol, including face-to-face surveys, community meetings, street trial events, the coordination of an art group, and a programme of sustainable travel promotion. Other CTW time was devoted to home visits associated with TravelSmart, a marketing and travel awareness campaign, in the VIVALDI city area.
Community involvement work in the Dings was very successful. Support for and involvement in the Home Zone project was high. Perhaps more importantly, although less measurable, is the relatively high degree of confidence the residents had in the project as a result of CTW involvement with the community. CTWs were successful in engaging 74 percent of households in the Dings, contributing towards 82 percent of residents supporting the concept of a Home Zone in the Dings in 2002. Following the first phase of implementation in December 2004, 92 percent of residents were happy with the new street layout and reported that they felt they had been adequately informed and involved in the design process.