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14 May 2024

Driving sustainable travel initiatives in hospitals: A solution for reduced parking demand and enhanced staff wellbeing

men and women standing in front of a Hospital bus

Image taken as part of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust travel planning project in which we served as the travel plan coordinators. Check out the case study here.

By Dr Ian Murdey, Project Manager at GO Travel Solutions

In the realm of hospital management, the challenge of parking congestion often ranks high on the list of daily frustrations for patients, visitors, and staff alike. To alleviate this issue while advancing broader sustainability goals, hospitals are increasingly turning towards innovative sustainable travel initiatives. By encouraging everyone to adopt sustainable travel practices, hospitals can effectively reduce parking demand while promoting wellbeing, enhancing staff retention, and contributing to carbon reduction efforts.

Addressing parking challenges

Parking shortages and congestion pose significant challenges for hospitals. Limited parking availability can lead to patient inconvenience, delayed appointments, and heightened stress levels for both patients and staff. Recognising this, hospitals are exploring sustainable travel solutions to alleviate parking strain and create a more efficient and pleasant environment for all.

The benefits of sustainable travel initiatives

Reduced parking demand: One of the primary benefits of promoting sustainable transport among hospital users is a noticeable reduction in parking demand. By incentivising car sharing, public transport use, cycling, or walking, hospitals can significantly decrease the number of single-occupancy vehicles vying for limited parking spaces. This, in turn, leads to smoother traffic flow, easier accessibility for patients and visitors, and reduced overall parking-related stress.

Enhanced community wellbeing: Encouraging hospital users to consider different ways to travel than by car contributes to improved wellbeing. Modes of travel that incorporate physical activity, such as cycling or walking, promote a healthier lifestyle and positively impact mental and physical health. Workplace travel packages can be implemented for staff such as SmartGO ( which offers employees discounted bus tickets, affordable ebikes, savings on rail fares and more.

Improved staff retention and recruitment: Sustainable commuting options can significantly influence staff satisfaction and retention rates. Employees value employers who prioritise their wellbeing and offer solutions to everyday challenges like commuting. Moreover, showcasing a commitment to sustainability can serve as a competitive advantage in recruitment efforts, attracting talent that aligns with the hospital's values and environmental stewardship.

Key strategies for implementation

To effectively implement sustainable travel initiatives within hospitals, consider the following strategies:

Assessment and planning: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of current commuting patterns and parking challenges. Use this data to inform the development of tailored sustainable travel solutions.

Education and engagement: Launch awareness campaigns to educate users about alternative transportation options and their benefits. Provide resources and incentives to encourage participation.

Infrastructure investment: Allocate resources towards developing infrastructure that supports sustainable commuting, such as bike racks, showers, and designated parking for carshares.

Incentivisation: Implement incentives such as preferred parking for car sharers, public transport discounts, or wellness benefits for staff who actively participate in sustainable travel practices.

Commitment to Sustainability and Net Zero Goals

By prioritising sustainable travel initiatives, hospitals not only address immediate parking challenges but also contribute to broader sustainability goals. Reducing parking demand, promoting staff wellbeing, and curbing carbon emissions are critical steps towards achieving net zero carbon status and fostering a healthier, more resilient community.

Need assistance with your hospital’s travel plan? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a complimentary 45-minute consultation.

Check out our case study with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust here.