Council wants to make it easier for people to go green when they travel

Coun John Cottee, chairman of the communities and place committee at Nottinghamshire County Council
Coun John Cottee, chairman of the communities and place committee at Nottinghamshire County Council

Encouraging more people to walk, cycle, car share and use public transport is part of our long-term plan to encourage Mansfield people to use greener transport to help tackle congestion, improve air quality, improve access to job opportunities and to encourage people to get more active as part of their everyday lives, writes Coun John Cottee, chairman of the communities and place committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

The two year council-led scheme, Travel Choice funded by the Department of Transport offers travel planning advice to jobseekers, school leavers, residents and businesses in Mansfield.

Since its launch in April 2018, travel advisers have called on approximately 4,500 households across the target areas in Mansfield (an additional 4,500 to be contacted in 2019) asking residents about their current travel patterns.

On the back of these conversations, householders are then sent a free, personalised travel pack full of information and maps on their travel choices.

The council hopes this free travel advice will help encourage more people to walk or cycle instead of using their car for short journeys where possible or to explore car sharing options or try public transport.

The council is advising school leavers and job seekers on their transport options for accessing jobs, apprenticeships or further education.

Travel advisers have already held sessions for school and college leavers at some schools and colleges before the end of term and will be back at more in September to advise new starters.

Every six weeks, travel advisers will be on hand at Mansfield Jobcentre Plus to provide transport information, advice and support to jobseekers attending interviews or starting work - the next session is on August 23 from 10am to 2pm.

They will also be at a jobs fair at Mansfield library on September 28, again from 10am to 2pm.

A range of incentives are available to jobseekers who have had an offer of employment including one-week public transport tickets or moped loans for jobseekers where public transport is not viable.

The council is also working with Mansfield employers to encourage more of their staff and visitors to make healthier, more economical and environmentally friendly travel choices, offering free bespoke packages to encourage employees to try walking, cycling, car sharing and public transport for business travel and their commute to work.

Support available to workplaces ranges from adult cycle training sessions for staff to gain confidence on the roads, site audits to identify existing walking, cycling and bus connections.

And potential grants for businesses to make sustainable transport-related improvements such as showers, changing facilities, cycle parking and electric vehicle charging points.

The council is committed to supporting economic growth by ensuring that transport isn’t a barrier for people getting to work, education or training opportunities; improving public health; and improving air quality by reducing traffic congestion and overall levels of single occupancy car use. Travel Choice will help achieve this.