European Mobility Week 2013: Clean air is your choice

The European mobility week takes place every year from 16th to 22nd September. The event focuses on changing the behavior of car users and on strengthening their motivation to use alternative means of transport, particularly public transport and cycling. This year’s motto was “Clean air – your choice.

Why to mention this activity in the BLF Newsletter, which is dedicated to the support of corporate social responsibility? The answer is very simple – companies’ activities can significantly promote the development of alternative modes of transport and reduce the utilization of company’s parking lot or the amount of CO2 emissions.

What is the current situation like?, autor: buzrael

According to a recent survey Sustainable mobility in Bratislava (GfK, 2013[1]), the most utilized mode of transport in Bratislava is walking (67% of respondents uses this mode of transport daily or several times a week, the respondents had the option to select more modes of transport, if they use them as a combination) and public transport (58%). Own or borrowed car is used daily or several times a week by 56% of respondents. A bicycle is used by 9% of Bratislava residents or those, who commute to Bratislava for work.

It would seem that the situation is not so dire. But one look at the state of traffic on the main roads leading to the city and on the parking situation near business and commercial centers will show the need to act as soon as possible. The situation is similar in other cities. Košice, Prešov, Žilina, Banská Bystrica and other towns have noted the increase in car numbers and the concentration and deceleration of traffic and also deterioration of static traffic (parking). The situation of traffic and parking is by 77% of Bratislava residents considered as poor.

What needs to be improved?

The aforementioned survey shows, that Bratislava’s motorists are willing to use the public transport or ride a bicycle, but several conditions have to be met. A very important condition is the renewal of public transport vehicle fleet and establishment of more efficient public transport lines, which will ensure comfort and significant time savings. The motorists are also discouraged by overcrowded public transport and by the lack of comfort during commuting. The second part of the survey, which was performed by focus group discussions, showed, that motorists have often used public transport years ago and they are not able to assess the current situation. The good news is that the renewal of vehicle fleet has already started and new, modern busses and trolleybuses equipped with air conditioning can be seen in several cities, including Bratislava.

Companies and sustainable mobility

Do you have a lot of employees, who commute to work by car and are trying to park these cars on the undersized parking lot or in the surrounding residential streets? You probably don’t have a good reputation in the surrounding community. Are the employees late for work and complain about long traffic jams? Long rides in sitting position are also probably not helpful to their health. Try a few hints that may help to alleviate the situation in your company and to motivate the employees to use other, non-traditional modes of transportation., autor: Galli Luca

Hint 1: Support cycling

With the right motivation of employees, it is possible to increase the number of people, who commute to work by bicycle. Take a short survey among your employees about which specific actions would be appreciated the most – installing of bike stands located on company premises or on the company parking lot, building of showers or providing a financial incentive for bicycle purchase. A competition between cyclists for most driven kilometers or for the best newcomer can be also an interesting idea. Communicate the advantages of health issues and physical activity or reduction of air pollution. Very helpful is to get an ambassador from the company’s management, who will provide personal example. Interact with local government and find out if a cycling route leading to your offices is in build, initiate or support such building financially.

Hint 2: Support public transport

Give employees the opportunity to easily access the timetables of public traffic connections to different parts of the city. In case you are not served by public transport or it runs on inconvenient times, arrange a meeting with local transport companies and try to negotiate. For positive motivation and communication, one of the options is to rename near public traffic stops by the name of your company.

Hint 3: Introduce car-sharing and car-pooling

In Slovak companies there’s a tradition, that every senior manager has a car available. If not in use, this car occupies the parking lot and space unnecessarily. Consider, whether each of senior company officials needs a car or if it’s enough to have a smaller number of cars that employees use as needed. A similar system exists in urban version – it is called car-sharing and it’s about sharing a car with several people for a small fee. In the near future, a similar system will be implemented in Bratislava.

Car-pooling is a system of transport, where several people commuting on the same route join each other and share a ride. This system has been implemented by several companies but continuous motivation of employees and sharing information about benefits of car-pooling is still necessary. Colleagues will save on fuel costs and get to know each other better. According to the survey Sustainable mobility in Bratislava (GfK, 2013), more than 70% of car users would gladly share a ride with acquaintances.

Prepared by: Michal Kišša

[1][1] Prepared within UNDP/GEF project Sustainable mobility in Bratislava,


This article has been published in the Business Leaders Forum (BLF) Newsletter, a bimonthly publication on corporate social responsibility (CSR), new opportunities and long-term success. It opens current CSR issues and informs about relevant events and activities. Informing about examples from Czech BLFcompanies, it has great potential to inspire corporate responsibility in other companies.