Engaging Brazil's Private Sector for More Sustainable Commutes
Commutes to and from work make up about half of all daily travel in Brazil. The majority of commuters travel at peak hours, which—coupled with low-quality public transport and sprawl—is harmful for governments, businesses and people. The current model of development centers on private vehicles, which has increasingly resulted in congestion, poor mobility and air pollution. However, both public and private employers can do a lot to encourage employees to commute in more sustainable ways. Filling the knowledge gap around corporate mobility in Brazil, WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities has created Step By Step to Building a Corporate Mobility Plan, a guide to developing corporate mobility plans.
The guide was presented at a workshop in São Paulo “Corporate Mobility Seminar: the role of business in improving cities.” The publication’s goal is to provide employers and employees with the ideas, tools, and resources they need to work together for more sustainable commutes.
7 Key Steps for Developing a Corporate Mobility Plan
The manual provides technical guidelines in seven key steps for businesses interested in developing corporate mobility plans: 1) Preparation 2) Definition of Scope 3) Communications 4) Diagnosis 5) Elaboration 6) Implementation and Promotion 7) Evaluation and Review.
These seven steps help businesses develop transport demand management (TDM) strategies, which aim to optimize car use and encourage sustainable mobility alternatives. By applying TDM strategies, companies have the potential to improve employees' quality of life and urban mobility throughout the region. In short, TDM strategies can reduce commute times, consequently saving commuters time and money. At the same time, they can also help reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.
"In São Paulo, 80 percent of the people say they would leave their car at home if they had better alternatives. Corporate mobility measures are aimed precisely at creating these alternatives. Offering advantages for those who opt for sustainable modes is essential to convince people to change their travel habits. The role of the enterprise is fundamental because we are all responsible for improving mobility,” said Guillermo Petzhold, Transportation Engineer for WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities and the project’s leader.
Seminar Focuses on the Role of Engaging Businesses for Sustainable Cities
During the workshop in São Paulo, experts shared their experiences in implementing corporate mobility plans. During their discussions, participants also discussed potential ways forward for Brazilian companies.
"We decided to start working with corporate mobility because we know that businesses have the potential to transform mobility in cities, especially in São Paulo. Brazilian and international companies that have already implemented corporate mobility measures have been successful, and it is an idea that is beginning to spread. As an organization, we seek to guide companies and contribute to initiatives like this one growing in the country," said Charles Kent, Senior Advisor of WRI Brasil.
Corporate Mobility in Action: Microsoft
Proof of the benefits of TDM measures is the tech-giant, Microsoft. As Jeff Aumell, Microsoft's Transport Manager explained at the workshop in São Paulo, efficiently managing 65,000 employees takes investment, vision and commitment. "Microsoft’s mobility work consists in creating conditions to change employees’ habits. We must create benefits and incentives to those who opt for sustainable transportation and we need to show that this approach is recognized by the company,” he explained.
Jeff was responsible for reducing the rate of employees that drive alone to work from 75 percent to 58 percent, shifting commutes to bicycles, buses, carpooling, walking, and vans and eliminating commutes through a home office policy. With the investment came results: the number of employees using these alternatives has risen by 85 percent.
About EMBARQ at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, Sustainable Urban Mobility by WRI, catalyzes and helps implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve quality of life in cities.