The SASMob project has finished – but workplace mobility greening is continuing in Szeged
The following people participated in the two-hour round-table discussion held in the morning in English:
- Dr. Vilmos Bilicki, University of Szeged, Faculty of Science and Informatics, Institute of Informatics
- Antal Gertheis, Managing Director of Mobilissimus,
- Balázs Kabarcz, Sustainability Manager of Decathlon Hungary
- Zsuzsa Kravalik, UIA expert of the project
- Sándor Nagy, Vice Mayor, Szeged, City with a County Rank
- Philip Stein, UIA expert of the CAIRGO project
SASMob Final conference
SASMob Final conference
Not only as experts but also as employers and private individuals, all the meeting participants agree it is important to give priority to sustainable mobility: intensive car use damages air quality and makes a high contribution to traffic jams. The introduction was followed by a history summary: while in the old days employees used to live near their workplace (and their housing was in many cases arranged by the employer), this gradually changed as transportation opportunities were becoming more diverse. In the 1990s, owing to the political transformation of the eastern block, workplace mobility came to existence. The distance between the workplace and the place of living was almost terminated for many by the coronavirus pandemic, as homeworking became widespread.
The discussion also covered the impacts of the SASMob project: the relationship between the Municipal Government and large employers became tighter as a results of frequent communication and discussions, and experience exchange also played an important role in the course of the project. Not only large employers have a major responsibility in reducing the carbon-dioxide footprint, the Municipal Government can also do a lot for it: employers (i.e. those that have already joined the SASMob alliance) will be offered (financial) incentives in the framework of a tender in the future.
It also turned out that national regulations often do not prefer sustainable incentives: while employers must pay a special tax after local community transport season tickets, no tax is payable after free parking as a benefit. We learned that company cars make up 57% of the country’s total car pool in Belgium, which is too much of a motivation for the use of cars. However, companies can still make their own decisions: evosoft Hungary, for example, made the administrative conditions of free parking stricter, as a result of which parking demand decreased by 20%. The representative of Decathlon would take more strict measures: according to him, employers should not use difficulties as an excuse but should invest money in achieving the goals as such investments would represent a small amount for multinational firms. It is good news, on the other hand, that companies can get state subsidising for purchasing electric bike fleets.
The Municipal Government is also responsible to make community transport more attractive, as its role is now underestimated. When your car is taken to service or your bicycle has a tyre puncture, you turn to community transport. But for us to be happy to use it, it must offer first class service: a vehicle fleet that has WIFI, air conditioning and a low floor – said Vice Mayor Sándor Nagy.
SASMob Final conference
SASMob Final conference
The presentations delivered in the afternoon in Hungarian showed the audience the project results. The key aim of the project was to promote sustainable workplace mobility at the seven large employers, the project’s cooperating partners. To this end, the companies and institutions made a mobility plan, in which they defined mobility measures for their employees, based on a questionnaire on their habits and attitudes. Noémi Szabó, city planning engineer at Mobilissimus, talked about the process of the preparation of the mobility plan and the actual measures taken in the course of the project. These good practices can be read and viewed in this free brochure.
The representatives of the companies that participate in the partnership talked about these measures in detail. Anny Kónya-Ormándi and Marietta Kékes-Szabó gave an account of the measures of Pick Zrt. Alexa Kiss (Recruitment Manager at Deutsche Telekom – ITS) talked about the changes in recruitment caused by the pandemic and their impacts on workplace mobility. These impacts include the disappearance of the difference between Budapest and rural areas, as employees nearly expect homeworking as a basic condition. She also talked about the decrease in commitment: fluctuation has increased, and, consequently, wages are increasing faster (in certain fields). Job seeking patterns and, as a result, recruitment have drastically changed (e.g. interviewing remained in the online space, mostly in working hours; the importance of individual motivation has increased, etc.). One major shortcoming of our new lifestyle is moving social life to the online space: “no one has found the recipe for this”. Sustainability is very important for evosoft Hungary, and the company has done a lot in this project. Many have become “influencers”: the photos of employees appeared on local billboards, posing with new company e-scooters and bikes. As Ágnes Erdei, leader of the Szeged office, said, “If you are at home, you are not here” is the best mobility: if we do not travel, there is no emission. However, as the company considers personal contacts important when there is no emergency, one aim set by it is for employees to go to their workplace at least twice a week on average. This approach is supported not only by employers but also by employees – this is what the research carried out by Mobilissimus Faculty of Economics at the University of Szeged has found. The research results were presented by Ráchel Surányi, communication expert of Mobilissimus. For more details about the research (in English), please click here.
The importance of the role of community transport was mentioned during the round-table discussion. During the afternoon session, Kristóf Monok, project manager of Szeged Transportation Company, presented the measures taken by them: infrastructure investment, the public scooter programme, the new season ticket scheme and the innovative mobility services created for employers, which were all worked out and implemented in the framework of the project.
In the project, the Bike To Work! campaign was used by several companies to promote cycling. At the conference, Áron Halász, Vice President of the Hungarian Bikers’ Club, described the results of their organisation (among others, the workshops which were also attended by SASMob partners) that were achieved by their organisation in workplace mobility. As a subcontractor of the project, Mátyás Szerdahelyi, Managing Director of Creative Elephant Studio, talked about two important transportation campaign communications. To get all the visual effects, they are worth watching online: one is Köszönjük, hogy környezettudatosan közlekedsz, (“Thank you for travelling environmentally friendly”), the other is Megújul az Oskola utca (Oskola Street renewed).
The project has not finished, it will only work in a different form. On the one hand, as Vice Mayor Sándor Nagy said, the municipal government will give financial incentives to newly joining employers. On the other, the project will continue at Szeged University in the form of the one-semester Sustainable mobility management course, which is now being held for the third time by dr. Boglárka Méreiné Berki and dr. Barbara Mihók, lecturers at the Faculty of Economics. During the course, they present the experience gained during the project and provide an opportunity for discussion between the project partners and university students, to raise awareness.
The final conference can be viewed completely here and here.
Please enjoy a video about the closing conference: