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27 October 2009 | PR 09/147

Local Travel Plan Networks not yet delivering potential transport benefits says European Project

Local Travel Plan Networks (LTPNs) have not yet realised their full potential, according to European-funded research project TRAVEL PLAN PLUS, which is led by Loughborough University.

Based on interviews with travel plan experts from across Europe and the USA, together with an in-depth literature review, the research shows that LTPNs – groups of organisations working together to manage and reduce their car use – have not yet delivered the full benefits promised. 

The research identifies a direct correlation between the resources invested in LTPNs and the contribution they can make to reducing transport impacts, with benefits at the network and the wider community levels.  Factors influencing resources include primary actors, the motivations for group formation, the perceived scope and scale of the problem and the organisational environments, along with geographic, political, and institutional aspects.

Meanwhile the findings, reported in three State-of-the-Art reports from the TRAVEL PLAN PLUS Consortium, also underline the need for monitoring and evaluation to assess the cost savings and carbon benefits of LTPNs to organisations, and for such networks to be action-oriented. Communication within and between member organisations as well as with wider stakeholders is crucial.

The research concludes that LTPNs need to be adapted to take local concerns into account and identifies five ‘types’ of LTPN to achieve this. These are Neighbourhood Transport Forums, Area Travel Plans, Business Improvement Districts, Transportation Management Associations and Local Transportation Districts. These range from informal, loosely defined networks drawing on minimal resources to more formal and legally defined organisations with access to a series of possible promotional, regulatory and fiscal tools. They can be either transport-focused or more generally aligned.

Funding from the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation under its “Intelligent Energy – Europe” STEER Programme provides an overall budget of one million Euros, which is enabling the full potential of LTPNs to be realised.  This State-of-the Art knowledge, will support the implementation of four LTPNs at strategic sites across Europe, in order to deliver energy savings by creating a new approach to site-based mobility management.  The lessons learnt from this 30-month project, which commenced in November 2008 will support future diffusion of LTPNs across Europe.

The Consortium is led by Loughborough University and comprises expert partner Mobycon (NL) together with the four ‘implementation site’ partners based in the municipal areas of Bages (Spain), Gyor (Hungary), Stockholm (Sweden) and Cambridgeshire (UK).   
The project, which wants to promote greener, cleaner travel choices and reduce the reliance on the car, is called TRAVEL PLAN PLUS, which stands for “Travel Reduction Attainment Via Energy-efficient Localities Planning”.

It is predicted that in the next 20-30 years around 70% of the EU’s energy requirements will be met by imported products, much of which will come from regions that are threatened by political insecurity. Recent predictions also suggest that without significant action, CO2 emissions are expected to increase in the region of 60% by 2030. There is therefore a need to promote and foster energy efficiency within the EU, which Local Travel Plan Networks encourage.
The transport sector accounts for over 30% of the total energy consumption of the EU, and 98% of this depends on fossil fuels. It is therefore essential that the transport sector addresses its energy consumption, by taking radical steps to substantially reduce consumption and emissions and enabling companies to reduce the impact of travel and transport on the environment.
This initiative aims to reduce energy and promote energy efficiency while maintaining economic growth and quality of life.

For more information, please log on to www.travelplanplus.eu

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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