Enhancing productivity through travel smart

Commuting to work just got more flexible, thanks to the Travel Smart Network initiative by the Singapore Land Transport Authority. HRM explores how this new travelling plan will affect workers.

The scope of flexible travel arrangements for employees was recently expanded after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched its new Travel Smart Network scheme.

The plan aims to see more firms fostering supportive environments for flexible travel among their workforces, including the chance to commute during off-peak periods and to adopt sustainable methods of travel such as cycling and walking.

In this way, demand for peak-hour travel will be reduced.

Initially, LTA will partner with medium to large companies (more than 200 employees) based near MRT stations.

The Travel Smart Network will encompass several initiatives.

From August 1, employees of Travel Smart Network companies can participate in the Corporate-Tier Travel Smart Rewards (TSR) programme.

This has superceded the previous Incentives for Singapore’s Commuters programme, which was launched in January 2012 to incentivise morning peak-hour rail commuters to take trains during off-peak hours.

Rewards under the TSR are now much more enticing, with a new monthly top lucky draw prize of $1,500.

In addition, from November 1, firms that join the Travel Smart Network will be granted a Travel Smart Consultancy Voucher of up to $30,000.

This can be used to engage approved consultants to conduct employee travel pattern analysis and develop travel demand management action plans tailored to the needs of the company and its employees.

“These will help companies gain an insight into their employees’ travel patterns and understand the motivating factors, as well as determine potential Travel Smart measures,” said an LTA spokesperson.

“Participating organisations can benefit from expert advice on understanding employees’ concerns, and opportunities with regard to more flexible travel and work arrangements for employees, thereby reducing unnecessary work-commuting.”

Companies may also be eligible for a Travel Smart Grant of up to $160,000 annually for three years to co-fund the cost of initiatives that encourage the adoption of flex-travel practices.

The Travel Smart Network comes after the Travel Smart pilot programme was launched in October 2012.

Twelve companies participated in the pilot, implementing initiatives such as telecommuting and allowing staff to work from home before travelling to the office after the morning peak period.

An LTA survey of approximately 3,800 employees from the particpating companies between October 2013 and January 2014 found close to 12% of respondents had shifted their daily commute out of the morning peak period (8.30am to 9.00am).

Nevertheless, the spokesperson said that LTA’s experience from the Travel Smart Pilot had deduced that firms do not sign up due to monetary incentives alone.

“Many participated because they saw benefits not only in terms their respective companies but also for their employees in terms of improved work-life flexibility and staff morale,” he said.

According to the LTA spokesperson, employees can also experience tangible benefits, such as improvements to their work-life balance and commuting experiences.

Stephen Tjoa, Partner for People, Performance and Culture at KPMG in Singapore, said that KPMG, which signed up for the previous pilot programme, believes that supporting staff in their professional and personal growth is important to the company’s talent attraction and retention efforts.

“Promoting a work culture that is agile, innovative and collaborative is at the heart of supporting our people’s aspirations and our clients’ needs,” he said.

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