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You are here: Home >>  Taking Action >>  Walking >>  Walking: Getting Support From Within Your Organisation

Walking: Getting Support From Within Your Organisation

As with any Travel Plan initiative, to be successful it's really important for the Travel Plan Coordinator to get the support of the management. Set out your ideas and a plan of action. Make sure you have thoroughly researched and familiarised yourself with the initiatives you'd like to promote.

Identify key members of staff who'll be able to help you take your ideas forward. As time goes on and more people become aware of your aims, the easier it should be to reach your target audience. One way to get day to day support and spread the word is to set up a Walking Action Group, or WAG for short. A WAG can complement and have overlapping membership of a BUG, that is a Bicycle Users Group.
You might need to build a business case for your walking (and other) ideas. As part of it you might want to find out what your organisation's staff absence levels are as a result of illness. In Scotland it's estimated that 3.8 million days are lost every year as a result of work-related illness and workplace injuries and that this figure could easily be reduced if more organisations promoted ‘active travel’ (walking and cycling) and encouraged a healthy lifestyle.
Identify people in your organisation who'll be able to help you as early as possible in your plans. Make them aware of what you expect from them and how much time you envisage this taking. 
Your WAG might include people who you know walk to work (but not necessarily everyday) as well as some who you know take exercise at lunchtime. The short term aim of the WAG might be to help you encourage others to exercise but not necessarily to walk to work. Over the medium to longer term you will probably want to shift the emphasis more towards increasing walking to work and on business travel (eg. walking to the railway station). 
The Coordinator might want to start by organising lunchtime walks with the help of WAG volunteers. The organisation 'Paths for All' runs "Walk at Work", an initiative aimed at encouraging more people to walk to and from work, and to walk more during their working day.
You might need to encourage management to adopt flexible working hours so that people can take walks of different durations during the lunch hour and to fit around carer's responsibilities at the start and end of the day.  
You could also talk to bus users about their exercise regime. Perhaps you could encourage them to get off the bus one stop earlier in week one, then two stops earlier in week two etc. 
Do some research to identify similar local schemes elsewhere. Talk to people who have been involved in successful schemes elsewhere as they'll be able to tell you what works well and what doesn’t. The chances are that people who've been involved in other schemes will be more than willing to talk to you.
Above all be realistic. If you have one, use your Travel Survey to identify how far and by what means of transport people currently travel to and from your site. Target those who could more easily walk. There would be little point asking someone to walk more than 2 miles to your site, but they could be targeted for lunchtime walking events.
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