Smarter Network, Smarter Choices

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Project

Smarter Network, Smarter Choices

Organisation

Centro

Partners

  • Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils – infrastructure delivery partners
  • Mott MacDonald Education delivery partner
  • Health Exchange walking delivery partner, managed by Amey
  • BikeRight cycle training delivery partner, managed by Aecom
  • JMP business engagement delivery partner.

Summary

The Smart Network, Smarter Choices (SNSC) is a £48 million programme across the West Midlands aimed at cutting carbon, supporting economic growth and connecting residents to jobs.

The initiative was funded by £33 million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and supplemented by a further £15 million from local public and private contributions.

The project has delivered improved cycling facilities, such as storage and cycle lanes as well as upgraded crossings and junctions to cut congestion and give buses priority along busy routes.

SNSC has also worked closely with residents, businesses, schools, colleges and community groups to provide bespoke travel advice and support for those living, working or studying along some of the region’s busiest routes.

The scheme has also funded the WorkWise project which provides free travel advice and passes for unemployed people travelling to interviews or starting new jobs.

The project has been delivered by Centro in partnership with the region’s seven local authorities and supported by external partners.

Aims

  • Support 7,000 jobseekers back into work.
  • Provide bespoke travel support for 20,000 residents.
  • Issue travel plans for schools and colleges in the West Midlands and help further engage young people in sustainable travel.
  • Create new and improved infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Improve junctions and increase bus priority measures along congested routes
  • Provide 7,800 cycle training and maintenance sessions.
  • Provide support to 140 businesses across the West Midlands in reducing single car occupancy and encourage their employees to cycle, walk and use public transport more often.

Challenges

  • Limited time to deliver outcomes/ change behaviour.
  • Difficulties in co-ordinating and delivering a programme across seven local authority areas, different modes or transport, different age groups and settings (education, business, community).
  • Difficulties in working within the specific corridor locations, for some businesses, this meant that some of their officers were not eligible.
  • Difficulties in keeping businesses engaged with the project and actively participating.

Meeting aims/Overcoming challenges

We worked with one business across a range of their sites in the West Midlands, to work with one contact, and multiple sites and therefore make the most of the offer for as many of their employees as possible.

We set up a series of workshops to encourage the travel plan coordinators at the businesses to be actively involved in the project.

Results

  • More than 13,000 jobseekers have been supported back into employment through travel advice and free ticketing.
  • More than 10,000 cycle training and maintenance courses delivered.
  • 55 schools and colleges have been given travel plans.
  • 20,000 residents have given bespoke, tailored, personal travel advice.
  • More than 100,000 of the region’s employees and 140 businesses have benefitted from Smart Network, Smarter Choices.
  • More than 100 real time information screens have been installed.
  • New and improved cycle routes have been put in Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull improving cycle trips across the region.
  • Trialled groundbreaking solar powered passenger information screens.

Awards

New cycle storage facility at Selly Oak (Selly Oak Cycle Hub) has won both the special award at the Chartered Institute of Highway Engineers Awards 2014 and the Innovation Award at the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transport Awards 2014. The hub was also nominated for the Innovation Award at the National Cycle Rail Awards 2014.

In addition, Love Your Bike sessions won a 2014 cycle security award.

Learning Points

We are adding some different elements to the project for this next year, including more flexibility for businesses to sign up of their offices and event materials to help them run their own events in their own time. We are also re-running our workshop series and looking at ways to run these as a webinar and expand our offer through social media.

Working with business intermediaries such as the Chamber of Commerce, and Sustainability West Midlands has been great for the project and we are continuing to do this.

SWM Comment

We admire the way that Centro has tackled such a wide-ranging project across the whole of the West Midlands area and strive to do more.

Contact

Peter Cameron or for further details, visit mynetwork’s website.

 


Links

Video of the programme and it’s achievements.

Video relating specifically to the business team’s achievements and work under the programme.

Some of the Team
Working with Business
Support for jobseekers
Working with Schools
Love Your Bike