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Sustainable mobility after COVID-19: Hope for the future

Words of wisdom | June 4 2020

It would probably be an understatement to say that many behaviour patterns have been upended since the beginning of the pandemic. Some of the new habits that were adopted at an accelerated pace are now here to stay. One of these changes is the prevalence of telework, which reduces the demand for commuter travel to get to work. In light of these significant changes, let’s look at what may be on the horizon for employers in the area of sustainable mobility.

Bicycle, subway, carpooling, jogging and on and on… There are numerous options available to businesses that want to encourage employees to adopt modes of travel that have a reduced impact on the environment, and many of them already existed before the health crisis. What must be kept in mind is that there is no universal solution. Each company should look at its own reality to determine which possibilities to recommend to its employees. By better understanding the modes of travel used and the needs of their employees, managers will be in a better position to make informed decisions with respect to the options they should offer.

A very brief summary of the objectives of sustainable mobility would be to avoid having travelers use single-occupancy vehicles for commuting to work as much as possible. For example, a large manufacturing business in Montréal that is located far away from public transit lines may offer its employees incentives related to carpooling, whereas a business located in the downtown core may encourage active transportation and offer rebates on monthly passes for using the STM network. 

For many people, running and bicycling, which increased in popularity during confinement, are becoming preferred mode of travel for getting to the office. With initiatives introduced by cities to support this type of active transportation, like the Réseau Express Vélo (Express bike network) being implemented in Montréal, sustainable mobility is progressively becoming more popular and more accessible to everyone.

Some may ask: Why go to all that trouble? The simple answer is: For the sake of the planet. However, there are other arguments aside from helping to protect the environment, including the fact that these measures can have a very positive impact on recruitment possibilities, employee retention and a company’s brand image.

It is good to know that businesses that are looking to develop sustainable transportation practices can take advantage of support from seasoned experts and non-repayable financial assistance through the Fonds Écoleader (Ecoleader Fund).

This article was written in collaboration with Laura Melo-Amaya and Daphné Mongeau, Consultants and Fonds Écoleader Agents.

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