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Active Travel Facilities to help your ESG

Sustainability By Vincent Kong, Engineer, Sustainability – 29 July 2022

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Vincent Kong stood in front of a wooden wall in a white open collar shirt and blue jacket

Vincent Kong

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Active travel has been proven to be good for both people and also for cities. Active travel not only benefits human health as a source of physical activity to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it also off-sets air pollution from motorised vehicles for those journeys. It contributes to social and environmental goals also such as improving social cohesion and reducing CO2 emissions. To facilitate commuters in embracing active travelling, relevant facilities are required. Prior to the ActiveScore certification, there weren’t any specific standards for real estate developers or building facilities management on a satisfactory level of facilities and equipment for active travel. As a result, ActiveScore certification becomes an effective way to let commuters know the certified buildings are equipped with active travel facilities.

ActiveScore, an accreditation for active travel facilities provision in real estate, assesses, certifies, and enhances active travel facilities and services in buildings. The standard requires both hardware, like bike racks, and software including a social networking platform to future-proof the assets and set benchmarks for active travel standards. Owners and designers can now easily identify the gaps and upgrade the amenities accordingly.

As an incentive to the building owners and investors, they can communicate this accreditation as part of their building’s future-proofed credentials to prospective tenants, partners, and occupiers for higher financial return. In the meantime, active travel commuters will also benefit from the hardware and software provision. High levels of security control for the travellers’ bikes and sufficient numbers of showers and lockers also creates a decent environment for travellers after a long commute.

ActiveScore certification has proven beneficial towards an asset’s ESG rating on all three aspects - Environment, Social, and Governance. On the environment aspect , fewer employees relying on private vehicles and public transport to commute to and from work, reduce the asset’s yearly CO2 and PM2.5 emissions . On the social aspect, the ActiveScore guides the operators to conduct occupier engagement and experience sharing sessions. For example, setting up a Bicycle User Group creates opportunities and accessible platforms for occupants to connect, socialise and even compete within their community. In terms of governance, well-designed micromobility facilities can help with attracting and retaining staff. In an annual British Council for Offices (BCO) survey published in The Market Cycles II report, more than half of the respondents said the quality and availability of workplace micromobility facilities in an office influence their career choices. Hence, the data strongly encourages developers to equip their buildings with active travel facilities.

ActiveScore is recognised globally so the certification scheme is applicable no matter where your building is located. As of 2022, there are 81 certified projects in the UK, 16 in Australia, 1 in the Netherlands, and 1 in Poland. Even though there are currently no projects certified in Asia, which is a region known to have severe traffic congestion; it is worth investing in active travel facilities, as recommended by ActiveScore, to ease that congestion. According to research done by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2018, 2 & 3-wheelers contribute 85% of the distance travelled across Asia. Properly designed active travel facilities in real estate and active travel friendly neighbourhood can be revolutionary for motor-intensive cities.

To achieve a world-class active travel design means more than just providing extra lockers and showers to your building occupiers. High-end buildings should target human-centric facilities and hardware that are well managed and maintained. Parking locations and distribution of racks should be strategically considered based on the security level. Clear wayfinding and pedestrian walkway design should be integrated to allow commuters to find directions and building facilities easily. Engagement services like bike repair and other relevant one-stop service can significantly enhance the occupiers’ communal experience. Offering exceptional engagement programmes like social media platform to improve social cohesion will be another world-class demonstration of active travel facility provision.

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