Alternatives to personal car use for mobile NHS professionals

Exploring the potential for NHS trusts to reduce carbon emissions by providing alternatives to personal car use.

Project details

Full project title: Alternatives to Personal Car Use for Mobile NHS Professionals

Sponsor: UWE Bristol (SPUR 3 award)

Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) Principal Investigator: Dr Steven Melia

Project partners: Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership

Start date: August 2011

Finish date: July 2012

Project report: The final report is available to download on the UWE Bristol research repository

Project summary

This project aims to explore the potential for NHS trusts to reduce carbon emissions by providing alternatives to personal car use for mobile NHS professionals. The first phase, for which funding is sought, will evaluate the experience of a scheme involving pool cars (one of them electric) and electric bicycles recently introduced by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Mental Health Trust (AWP). It is intended that this work will lead to a bid for a larger project exploring current practice and future potential nationwide.

Research questions:

  1. What factors explain the participation or non-participation of staff in the scheme, and the use of different modes for work travel?
  2. To what extent do social norms and social influence within work groups explain the differing scheme participation rates of the groups?
  3. Has the scheme altered car ownership or commuting by staff?
  4. What lessons does the AWP pilot scheme offer for sustainable transport initiatives in other NHS trusts?

The project will consist of four elements, some of which will run concurrently:

  1. All staff eligible to use the pool cars and bicycles will be asked to complete an online survey about their work travel, commuting and vehicle ownership. It will ask about any changes to car ownership or regular modes of travel since the introduction of the scheme. It will ask about circumstances where staff choose to use or not to use the pool vehicles and reasons why non-participants have never used them. Respondents will also be asked for a brief range of demographic and professional indicators (including practical issues around scheduling, and carrying equipment). The relationships between these and participation rates will be explored through regression analysis.
  2. A selection of frequent, infrequent and non-users of the scheme will be selected for semi-structured qualitative interviews exploring the reasons for participation and non-participation, and the social interactions within the work groups, in more detail.
  3. Managers of mobile staff in low and high user departments will be interviewed to explore their views on the scheme and the potential for non-car travel by mobile NHS staff.
  4. The financial costs of running the cars and bicycles will be compared to the alternative of mileage payments to employees.

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