Axis’ Transport Planning team was appointed by the Countess of Chester Hospital Trust to prepare a Travel Plan that would provide a consolidated, long-term approach to encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport amongst staff, patients and visitors of the Countess of Chester Hospital, and thereby reduce carbon emissions, improve quality of life, and enable the hospital to achieve Net Zero by 2040.
The Transport Planning Team was awarded the ‘Innovation in Transport’ Award at the 2023 Green Expo Awards in recognition of the quality and ambitiousness of this Travel Plan. Read more about the win here>
Axis was initially instructed to prepare a Travel Plan to accompany a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council for the development of a new Women and Children’s facility. The new £110m facility is set to replace the current facility, which has been in operation since 1971.
However, through early engagement with senior representatives at the Trust, the opportunity for the Travel Plan to be used as a tool to incentivise sustainable travel across the whole hospital site was soon realised. It was also established that the Travel Plan has the potential to play a major role in supporting the Trust’s commitment to delivering a Net Zero hospital by 2040, in accordance with the Greener NHS programme.
23 ambitious and realistic KPIs were defined to support this core aim, comprising both incentive-based and punitive measures, which together could achieve an overall reduction in parking demand by 355 spaces per day.
Both monitoring and enforcement mechanisms were put forward to secure the Plan and ensure the targets are achieved. The Plan’s measures will be reviewed regularly, ensuring they are fit for purpose and remain sustainable. Axis continues to support the Trust in achieving the objectives of the Travel Plan.
The first stage to preparing the Plan was to identify its core aims. It was agreed the overriding aim would be to significantly reduce the demand for hospital car parking, which would create a range of positive behaviour changes, including incentivising hospital users to consider active travel options.
To support this aim, Axis worked alongside the Trust to establish a series of highly ambitious incentive-based measures that will encourage staff, patients and visitors to use alternative, sustainable and active modes of travel. Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms were also put forward to ensure that targets are achieved, and that the Plan’s measures will remain fit for purpose to meet the long term needs of hospital users.
With Axis’ help, the new facility was granted planning permission in February 2023, and work is currently underway on site. The Travel Plan is, however, a dynamic and live document, and its effectiveness will only be realised over time as targets are reviewed and measures are tailored to meet the specific needs of the hospital’s users.
Said Joan Carter, Project Director at The Countess of Chester Hospital, “The team at Axis has delivered an important, innovative Travel Plan which achieves the business and government sustainability targets we needed it to. We were delighted (but not surprised!) this project won the Green Expo 2023 ‘Innovation in Transport’ Award, and look forward to delivering the Plan as part of our Go-Greener and Sustainable Strategies.”
These gradual changes will accumulate as the Plan becomes well established and known. It is at this point where its true impact will be realised. Fundamentally, the reduction in private car usage across the site will in turn result in a reduction in carbon emissions. However, the Plan will also provide other mutually-important benefits. These include an improved awareness and usage of alternative travel modes, and improved mental and physical wellbeing amongst hospital users and the wider community.
Axis continues to support the Trust in achieving the objectives of the Travel Plan and to ensure that it fulfils its role of supporting the hospital’s Net Zero targets.
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