Overview of the move Project


1. The initial stages of the project and its progress

In the spring of 1995 the operative part of this move project was prepared jointly with the company Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard and the project partners StadtAuto Bremen and the Institute for Transport Ecology (Büro für Verkehrsökologie) in conformity with the decision to grant its application in December 1994. In order to reduce the environmental burden caused by commuter traffic, a series of measures - initially tested as a pilot project and later also to be expanded for implementation by other companies - which in the sense of "push and pull", was both to improve the alternatives to the car and also increase one's awareness of the costs incurred by a daily journey to work. The main aim of this project was to create methods for organising commuter traffic in an environment-friendly way following the principle of "quality instead of quantity".

In conformity with the claim in the Life program tender, a strategy was to be found for counteracting the growth forecasts for the traffic sector, thereby bringing about changes in thinking and behavioural patterns. Throughout its entire duration the project linked technical and organisational elements with methods for supplying information, clarification and advice.

This model for the "Development of a strategy for rethinking and changing behaviour in order to counteract the growth forecasts on the traffic sector " has been successfully implemented by the move project with the result presented here. The project partners, Institute for Ecology and StadtAuto will be continuing the RidematchingService developed in the move project as a private enterprise. Apart from the companies Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard and Brauerei Beck & Co. who are already collaborating, other companies in Bremen are expressing their interest in the mobility consultancy service which is provided independently and outside the company.

In the present case we are not primarily concerned with a "technical" issue in environmental protection; the large number of participants in this field are demanding a combination of convincing work together with attractive alternatives. Companies and their employees have to be appealed to within a complicated mingling of co-management procedures, company agreements, "business climate", and also social expectancy, financial attractivity, technical alternatives and a "good conscience" as regards the environment. The very high proportion of negotiations with companies and employees' councils resulting from this, has necessitated a far greater expense for counselling than was originally expected.

During the project period, the Job Ticket was introduced at Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard for all the employees as an integral part of the services offered under a collective wage agreement. Within the scope of the move activities, employees were additionally issued their own "individual timetables" upon request and free of charge showing the links and travelling times between their homes and workplace. This offer was also raised for discussion by the move project at Brauerei Beck & CO., the neighbouring brewery of the Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard parent firm.

However, this offer for using the local public transport services is only of limited interest to employees with unsatisfactory public transport links (e.g. due to their residential location, or working hours being beyond the operating times of public transport services, etc.). Added to this, the alternative presented by the bicycle with its modal-split of 22% in Bremen only has a limited possibility of expansion due to the actual limited catchment area.
Therefore, the move project is also continuing to develop the possibility of carpool Ridematching.

Ridematching. The option of building carpools can be illustrated by the fact thatin Bremen, for example, the number of car seats available for commuting employees is approximately 10 times greater than the number of public transport commuters! As is the case in many other towns, the public transport services would not be able to guarantee the economic strength of a region if car traffic were to be restricted (e.g. for reasons of high pollutant emission).

Parallel to the introduction of carpool Ridematching, the guaranteed journey home from work or guaranteed mobility was introduced - in Germany for the first time - as an innovative service, both for car-poolers and users of public means of transport. This service allows employees to avail of mobility services (above all, the taxi) at the employer's expense, in the case of unforeseen problems with the "organised" journey (e.g. sickness of the driver, unforeseen overtime, etc.). In this way, one argument raised against carpooling, i.e. its lack of flexibility, ought then to be overcome.

The project has shown that carpool RidematchingServices become possible to a considerable extent from the moment a marked increase in the number of interested prospective participants develops to becoming a "critical mass". This is true all the more so if multi-shift and flexi-time arrangements coincide. This leads to the necessity for a mobility consultancy service on an inter-company level. With an independent service of this kind the small and medium-sized companies can also be integrated in mobility counselling.

For this reason, negotiations have been held with other partners in industry. A considerable time factor is involved in decision-making amongst the respective partners. Besides the company management and personnel departments, the employees' councils also have to be incorporated in the negotiations and agreements. In the case of up to 14 different employees' councils within one single firm, as in the case of Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard, a tremendous amount of time is tied up simply for arriving at an agreement on time-coordination. Often company agreements or tariff regulations also exist in this connection, where their duration has to be observed. This also explains why the company Kraft-Jacobs-Suchard had to contribute a far greater time contingency to the move project than was previously planned. Also the other partners in the project had to increase their share considerably for negotiations and counselling activity.

One experience that can be derived from the move project is, that although on the one hand, the necessity for a mobility consultancy service aiming at reducing car traffic is emphasised by many participants in industry, employee-representation and politics, little initiative as a whole for practicing mobility consultancy in the companies or for political changes in the general conditions is persistently undertaken on the other.

2. The move Project and its Frame Conditions

Throughout the entire duration of the project, an information transfer with other towns was sought, initiated and cultivated. A particular role in this respect was played above all by the "Städtennetzwerk Car Free Cities - Netzwerk für neue Mobilitätskultur" (network for a new mobility culture) - especially the "Commuting" workgroup - but also the direct contact with the project in Berlin-Moabit running parallel, and likewise with California (Southern California Association of Governments, formerly Commuter Transportation Services).

When comparing project experience, the structural problems of mobility consultancy within the company became extremely evident. The extensive "externalisation" of the costs incurred by commuter traffic as a consequence of polluting the environment and the lack of support provided by the general legislative, administrative and fiscal conditions (compared for example with the provisions of the California Clean Air Act), do not create any scope at present for projects of this kind in Germany - and also some other European countries - towards developing a greater dynamic of their own. For this very reason, cross-comparisons have been made in the project with the general conditions prevalent elsewhere, in order to enable further developments to result from these.

The costs for the upkeep of a car, also, are often not registered to the extent that would prompt a distinct incentive towards carpooling or making a journey by public transport. The possibility given in German tax law of being able to deduct the costs of the journey to work by car ("flat mileage rate") from the taxes is very contra-productive where protecting the environment is concerned. These projects do not enjoy the highest priority within the company either (shareholder value), and for this reason, distinct priority sometimes therefore had to be given to other developments. The management of parking space presents itself as a considerable problem. On the one hand, it is linked with specific emotions which are manifest in particularly difficult discussions. On the other hand, technical and organisational problems often exist when re-allocating parking space. The experience gained from parking space management shows that a very efficient influential factor exists in this connection. This is an important aspect for setting the general framework in administration and politics. The requirements under building-law for providing extensive parking space has a very contra-productive effect, and likewise, also the tax-privileged journey to work by car. The question as to the extent to which free or reduced parking should be a monetary service provided by the company (and thus in fact liable to tax) is justified and is being adopted in new strategies in Great Britain and even in the USA ("parking cash-out"). More stringent parking space management would clearly contribute towards the increase in the efficiency of mobility consultancy in firms or mobility concepts within the firms, respectively.

However, this can only be influenced by the municipality to a small extent at the same time. The development of these frame conditions will largely be responsible for the way in which the commuter traffic burden of the town develops and thus, also the extent to which the service developed here will be realised within the next few years. An important step in the development of all these necessary influential factors was able to be made with this project. 3. The move project - Development of a service as an innovative market offer Compared with its original stage, the project has developed considerably. On the one hand the necessity for an independent, inter-company service provider - similar to the one in Nottingham - has gained significance in Germany and on the other hand, new options have been created as a result of technical development on the communications sector (e.g. the widespread use of Online computer connections, the role of the Internet, etc.), which could also be incorporated "ready for marketing" into the present product. The experience and technical possibilities gained could be compiled to form a module that can be used further in conformity with European criteria - as can be seen on the CD ROM. It is easier to demonstrate the stage of development of mobility consultancy interactively using these technical possibilities, than with a manual.

Therefore this demonstration version contains the carpooling software for looking at, and trying out, which was developed within the scope of this project. The development of the inter-company carpooling software, now ready to go on the market, with the geographical model of the Bremen Region (see also CD ROM) could - as a supplementary module to the original activities - be completed in the spring of 1998 and already be presented in May 1998 at the Executive Board XI in Brussels. This DP-supported service is also transferable to other towns and regions.

Due to the term of the project only being granted until April 1988, the results could not, unfortunately, be presented within the frame of a congress of our own, as was originally planned. The finance provided for it was not used and the time available was not sufficient to carry it out. However, in May 1998 a presentation within the Executive Board for Environmental Protection was able to follow and led to interesting discussions.

The similar idea of a joint congress with the Berlin Life project could not be realised within this time-span, either. However, the results of the project were presented and discussed in detail at the final meeting of the Berlin project in July. Here, in particular, the further development of the project towards becoming a new RidematchingService, "FahrgemeinschaftsService", aroused a great deal of attention.

The development of mobility consultancy within the company to its marketing maturity stage has resulted in a successful product. Due to the attractive operational costs aspect for the enterprise, it has good chances of being put into practice. Thus it is possible to bring about a reduction both in emissions caused by commuter traffic in the towns, and in the use of land.

Due to the particular need for commuter traffic to contribute towards the most environment-friendly development of the town possible, the results of this project demonstrate the importance of taking the aspects of mobility consultancy into greater consideration than before, both as regards revitalising existing industrial areas, and localising and designing new ones.

Due to its obligations towards "greenhouse keeping", the European Commission is similarly endeavouring to prevent a high level of pollution being caused by the commuter traffic of its own employees. With the large number of white-collar workers and the extremely wide-scale DP networking, the Commission also has particularly favourable conditions for using a carpool RidematchingService. At the same time however, the restrictive effects of the general conditions and similar technical problems in realisation (e.g. misgivings about safety when using parking space for other purposes, etc.) have also been shown.

In collaboration with the town of Bremen, the Institute for Transport Ecology and StadtAuto Bremen, the move project has succeeded in developing an independent service with the necessary technical background and present it as a marketable product.