Business travel is a necessity in which 82% of businesses describe the car as central to their business operations* according to Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, speaking at the Public Sector Travel Conference today (6).
Professor Glaister will speak to delegates about the vital role that travel plays for businesses during the working day, demonstrated by the fact that the average worker makes 73 business trips per year**.
Face-to-face communication provides a way of conducting business that is difficult to replace; but where attempts have been made to reduce business travel, technological solutions such as telephone conferencing are preferred to automotive solutions such as car-pooling.
Reliability, journey time and ease of travel are seen to be the main considerations when deciding on travel mode, which is why 70% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) feel public transport is not fit for purpose.
Key barriers to cutting back on business travel include the impact on customer relations (59%) and profit (37%), followed by a lack of support from Government (17%).
The RAC Foundation is calling for local and national government to recognise the importance of private transport to local business and to consider SMEs when developing transport policies.
Professor Glaister, Director for the RAC Foundation says:
“The car remains the most popular choice for business travel, providing an easier way of getting from A to B without making unnecessary stops on route or waiting for a connection. Public transport will only win over more business travel if greater improvements are made. In any case, the predictability of car journeys will remain the more important factor in determining the contribution of business to the British economy.”
* Statistics for the presentation taken from RAC Foundation and British Chambers of Commerce (2007) Business Travel: Choice or Necessity?, available on www.racfoundation.org
** DfT (2005) Focus on personal travel