Promoting commuting by bicycle
Traffic congestion is a great problem for both employees and companies: traffic jams on roads leading to city centres or business parks, employees repeatedly arriving late, longer travel times (and less other time), higher fuel consumption, parking problems, stress ... These are all reasons for promoting alternative ways of commuting. The aim of “Tous vélo actifs” (Get out your bikes) was to get as many people as possible (back) onto their bikes for commuting to work – including university students. The approach used was inspired by behavioural change theories. One of these shows that, for employees to change their mobility habits, they have to go through different phases over time: indifference (1), thinking about it (2), preparing for it (3), doing it (4), keeping it up (5).
Clepsydre Communication suggested an action based not just on communication in the classical sense of the term, but also on actions on the ground involving some thirty “pilot” employers committed to actively promoting the use of bikes. The actions conducted by these employers were then given media coverage and communicated to a wider audience, inspiring further employers to actively support the use of bikes.
The label and action plans
The action was given added momentum by the award of different-level "labels vélo-actif" highlighting progress made. This label was designed and managed by our partner Pro Velo. It was also a “reward” and a marketing tool which the companies involved could use in their corporate communications. It is re-assessed once a year. The label is issued with a concrete action plan on how the company can improve its cycling policy.
Clepsydre Communication supported the companies in a number of ways:
- Actions to get people back on a bike (midday cycle rides, Friday Bikeday, bike coaching, traffic training)
- Cyclist services such as rent-a-bike, repair workshops
- Support for internal communications plans
- Partnership, networking and lobbying
Alongside the actions conducted with and by bike-friendly companies, Clepsydre Communication also worked at increasing the project's external visibility.
To gain media attention, the project rose to the challenge of coming up with the world's largest bike.
In 2014, a major Vélo party was held at La Louvière on the Friday of Mobility Week. A bike flashmob, a bike procession through the streets and bike acrobatics were all part of the programme.
All these events provided the project with great media coverage.
Actions also directly targeted company executives, such as a speech at the Cercle de Wallonie, with the support of the employer organisation, Union Wallonne des Entreprises.
Some 30 companies are taking part in 2016. More than 1,200 people are cycling to work in these companies, against 270 in 2012. More than 108 bike ambassadors are to be found in companies.
Press coverage has been high: more than 300 mentions in the printed press, on TV and the Web, representing more than 15,000,000 opportunities to have contact with the project since its launch.
The Facebook page has more than 2480 "likes". 725 subscribers are following the project on Twitter.
- Katel Fréson (project management)
- Colette Piérard (relations with the companies)
- Louis Grippa (communication strategy)
- Michel Devuyst (events and logistics)