Big Business Road Trips roll on

Advice on eco-friendly travel for local businesses.

Green travel tips were handed out by Centro’s sustainability team as the Big Business Road Trip hit the road again.

The second round of the events began at Birmingham Business Park in Solihull Parkway, and the next is at Dudley’s Merry Hill Shopping Centre later this month.

Employees from WM Housing Group and insurance firm SSP Worldwide joined in a led Brompton bike ride around the business park and more than 300 people signed up to a mailing list for more sustainable travel information. More than 200 entered a competition to win a bike worth £350 for Christmas.

The Big Business Road Trip combines advice and support for businesses on how to help their people switch to greener, more active travel habits – such as public transport, cycling and walking – with special offers and incentive schemes.

It’s all part of the award-winning Smart Network, Smarter Choices programme, a £50m government-funded initiative delivered by the West Midlands public transport co-ordinator Centro, in partnership with local councils. The aim is to help cut carbon and traffic congestion – and in turn boost the economy, the environment and people’s health and wellbeing.

Bernie McCullagh, Sustainability Co-ordinator at WM Housing, said: “WM Housing Group was really excited to be part of Centro’s Big Business Road Trip. Staff had great fun at the Build a Brompton challenge, with the winner managing to assemble the bike in 19 seconds! There were free public transport taster tickets available, a led bike ride, a smoothie bike, cupcakes, fruit and great cycling goodie bags. In fact, all that was missing was a company such as Limo Find.

“We’ve signed up to the Brompton corporate scheme, so we can offer staff subsidised membership for Brompton bike hire, from Birmingham International train and other stations, for travel to work and to meetings. This event really helped to engage our staff and promote initiatives such as car sharing, cycling activities, utilising public transport and the new Brompton hire scheme. We’re now hoping to replicate this type of event at other offices!”

Councillor Judith Rowley, Chair of the Smart Networks Smarter Choices Board and lead for fair and safe transport on the West Midlands Transport Delivery Committee, said: “These events mean our experts are on hand with all the information, advice and support that people need to go green and I would urge them to pop along and see what’s on offer. In this case, WM Housing called us in for advice specific to their business and had lots of enthusiastic employees compete in the ‘Build a Brompton’ bike challenge.

“There is huge potential on the site, with Birmingham International station just a 10-minute cycle or 30-minute walk away and they are introducing a Brompton bike scheme in the hope of encouraging people to think more about sustainable modes of transport.”

The road show is also supported by bus company National Express West Midlands and cycle trainers BikeRight!, who offer free cycle training.

Smart Network, Smarter Choices has introduced a range of initiatives across the West Midlands to encourage people to cut down on car use and try greener travel options like public transport, cycling and walking. It aims to boost health, environmental awareness and economic growth in the region while cutting traffic congestion and carbon.

The £50 million pound programme recently won the prestigiousContribution to Sustainable Transport award for its innovative work, beating off both public and private sector competition at the National Transport Awards.

It was officially launched in 2012 after the region’s public transport co-ordinator Centro successfully secured the biggest single grant from the government’s Local Sustainable Travel Fund.