Mobility trial to offer staff free bike loan and car club | Imperial News | Imperial College London

Person carrying a folding bike with a car in the background

Imperial is partnering with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Brompton Bikes on a pilot mobility hub designed to empower greater choice in urban transport.

Imperial staff are invited to express interest in a trial mobility hub launching on 22 April that will offer participants free loan of a folding Brompton bike and access an on campus car club with two low-emission alternative fuel vehicles provided on the South Kensington campus by Enterprise Car Club.

The hub is designed to offer participants a greater menu of choices when they travel to and between campuses – enabling them to easily mix and match walking, cycling, driving and public transport in the course of a day rather than relying on a single mode of transport. The folding bikes can be transported by car or public transport when required while the car club will offer participants the option to make car journeys when necessary while leaving private cars at home.

The hub is designed to offer participants a greater menu of choices when they travel to and between campuses – enabling them to easily mix and match walking, cycling, driving and public transport in the course of a day rather than relying on a single mode of transport.

The trial is part of a study by Imperial researchers that aims to understand the uptake of shared mobility schemes and their potential to enable sustainable travel choices. Trial participants will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires to support the research, which is a part of Transition to Zero Pollution, a major Imperial initiative to help create a more sustainable society.

Selected participants will have access to a pedal-powered or electric folding bike on full-time loan for two months or via a pool of bikes available for short-term loan from the Ethos gym in South Kensington. They will also have access to an electric car and hydrogen-powered car both provided by Enterprise on the South Kensington campus for work use when needed.

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Dr Audrey de Nazelle, senior lecturer in the Centre for Environmental Policy, said: “Leaving the car at home and cycling to work can bring huge benefits to health and the environment. With support from our partners at Enterprise and Brompton the mobility hub is a great chance to try out cycling to work without the commitment of buying a bike and with the reassurance that an electric or hydrogen car is available if you need it. Participants will also be playing a massively helpful role into supporting our research on interventions for greener workplaces and cities.”

The initiative is in addition to the Cycle to Work scheme that Imperial recently implemented to help staff spread the cost of owning a bike, as well as the expanded guidance from Move Imperial on Active Travel. The mobility hub could provide an opportunity to trial a bike prior to joining the scheme.

Research partnership

The trial is designed to help academics at Imperial better understand the potential for future schemes in cities and workplaces to reduce private car use and will help industry partners Enterprise and Brompton assess the potential for rolling out further schemes. All three organisations have a shared interest in understanding changes in behaviour towards more sustainable travel and associated carbon reduction.

The holistic approach taken in this project is central to our Transition to Zero Pollution Strategy, addressing not just the technology enablers, but community uptake, individual behaviour and economic factors. Professor Mary Ryan

Oz Choudhri, Head of Mobility Solutions at Enterprise said: “As an industry leader in mobility and technology Enterprise is delighted to be part of this exciting initiative. We recognise people’s expectations about how they travel are changing and this project will provide valuable information on how people respond when given access to a range of shared assets.
“The data from the trial will not only help Imperial understand how their staff change their travel habits but also provide valuable information for Enterprise as we work with local and national governments and other organisations to develop innovative mobility hub and Mobility as a Service offerings which will make it easier for travellers to switch between shared forms of transport.”

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Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering, said: “We are excited to be working in partnership with Enterprise and Brompton on this research programme. The future of urban transport towards net-zero carbon is a critical step in achieving climate goals and delivering a sustainable society. The holistic approach taken in this project is central to our Transition to Zero Pollution Strategy, addressing not just the technology enablers, but community uptake, individual behaviour and economic factors.”

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire, stated: “We were delighted to be asked to be involved with this pilot where we can introduce the team at Imperial to the joys of active travel. Understanding that multiple modes of transport need to work collaboratively is vital in the drive toward net zero carbon. Projects that look to introduce the concept of multi-modal hubs are helping build an understanding of how we can scale such initiatives in the future to deliver a true alternative to the single occupancy privately owned car”

Register your interest in the trial mobility hub

Staff who are interested should visit the mobility hub home page where they can complete a questionnaire that will be used for research and to determine eligibility for the trial.

Staff who do not wish to join the trial are encouraged to complete the survey anyway to support Imperial research into sustainable transport.

Mobility hub home page


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