Drivers exasperated by peak-time congestion at Aztec West can now use a map-based online journey-sharing website to travel more sustainably.
joinmyjourney launches today (Wednesday 25th November) thanks to funding from South Gloucestershire Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), development from resource efficiency specialist ecosurety, with support from North Bristol SusCom.
The free-to-use site enables commuters travelling by car, bicycle or on foot to find others to share compatible journeys to work, either regularly, or as a one off. It is initially aimed at commuters in the West of England but there are also plans to open it out to educational organisations and business centres nationally. joinmyjourney is launched first for the 8,000 people travelling to Aztec West, with other business locations and employers coming on board in 2016.
Ben Luger, marketing communication specialist at ecosurety, based at Aztec West, who has driven the development of joinmyjourney with co-workers explains, “Every day I would see single drivers sitting in traffic queues, waiting to get into the park. I’d started an off-the-shelf car share scheme for ecosurety employees, but it just didn’t have the scale, was too complex and too limited to make a significant dent in emissions and the number of vehicles.”
Ben was bemoaning the issues to an officer at the LSTF one day and the pair agreed Aztec West needed a bespoke solution, which also appealed to walkers and cyclists. Ben took the idea back to ecosurety, and following further financial support from the LSTF and ecosurety, development started on joinmyjourney.
Benefits include fewer cars on the road, improvements in parking, lower emissions, and helping drivers save money by cutting commuting costs. Others include less stress from sitting in traffic queues, improved confidence from increased outside exercise and the option to share sustainable and safe journeys during the winter.
Users who sign up and start journeys between now and the first week of December are also automatically enrolled into a prize draw for up to £1,000 in shopping vouchers to be presented next month.
The site gives commuters an option to find journey sharers ahead of 12 months of roadworks, scheduled to start in spring 2016, to improve traffic flow, walking and cycling routes around the Aztec West Roundabout on the A38.
How joinmyjourney works
Users specify the start point (via postcode) and the end point of their journey. Using an interactive map they identify potential sharers on the route, and can also specify their preferred mode (walk, cycle or car). Users then choose to message other users who most closely fit their needs, to plan their journey share, and the way can be easily amended if the default route doesn’t match the user’s preferred journey.
Once registered, users can also specify other key information, such as the days and times that they usually travel and state their preferences – i.e smokers, non-smokers, or to only share with somebody of the same sex, etc.
Advice on how to journey share safely is also provided, while users need to be working full-time, part time or contracted by an employer with an official work email address, to take part.
A number of large employers and business centres in South Gloucestershire and the Greater Bristol region have already expressed an interest in the scheme. Apple, Android and Windows app versions of joinmyjourney are due to be launched in the New Year.
The pilot initiative at Aztec West is free to businesses, thanks to funding from South Gloucestershire Council’s LSTF. A graduated fee structure has been created for other organisations, with revenues going into a non-for-profit fund, to ensure the scheme is able to cover its costs.
James Piper, commercial director at ecosurety, said:
“ecosurety wholeheartedly supports sustainability. Our decision to run with the project and invest significant amounts of time, money and resources underlines our commitment to our local business environment and community, as well as to our core value of striving to continuously eradicate all forms of unnecessary waste.”
Verity Heal, LSTF project manager at South Gloucestershire Council, said:
“joinmyjourney is a great example of how we are working with the business community to help resolve shared challenges. This is one of many schemes that we are delivering across the area to help take cars off the road.
“We hope that employees at Aztec West embrace this opportunity to make new contacts, find a travelling partner and leave the car at home.”
Ann O’Driscoll, from North Bristol SusCom, a group of employers that promotes sustainable transport to 40,000 employees and 30,000 students, said:
“Travelling more sustainably can have a dramatic impact on congestion levels, commuting costs, emissions and parking problems. Joining forces with somebody else who wants to walk or cycle can also be very empowering, especially in the winter when it’s dark before and after work. Using more active forms of transport can also improve fitness and reduce stress.”
People, organisations or business parks in the West of England can register interest via joinmyjourney, which can also influence how the scheme is rolled out across the area.
Photos: 1 Ben Luger, marketing communications specialist at ecosurety, and Verity Heal, LSTF project manager at South Gloucestershire Council. 2 Congestion at the Aztec West Roundabout.