Did you know that poor air quality is estimated to contribute to 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester every month? Over the year, that equates to 14,400 deaths in Manchester alone. That’s why we at Swifty have pledged that all of our employees will commute by scooter or on foot this week, in recognition of Manchester’s first ever Clean Air Week. Founders Jason and Camilla have provided a scooter fleet for employees to use for commuting to work, in an effort to cut down on emissions and tackle inner-city congestion. We have a dirty air crisis on our hands, and corporate micromobility solutions could collectively tackle the issue.
Camilla and Jason are seen here making good use of the SwiftyONE fleet. You can read more about our folding urban scooter here.
What is Clean Air Week?
Clean Air Week takes place this week, from 17 – 23 June. It will be held in connection with the UK’s largest air quality campaign, Clean Air Day, which will take place on Thursday 20 June. It’s an initiative coordinated by Global Action Plan, a charity dedicated to sustainable living and the protection of our planet. Over 550 events took place on Clean Air Day 2018, including street closures, electric vehicle test drives, car-free school runs, and mass bicycle rides. This year promises even more exciting stuff, including an installation by artist Michael Pinsky at Salford's MediaCityUK, which safely allows visitors to experience clean Norwegian air and compare it with smog from cities like Beijing.
Poor air quality is a huge issue in our cities at the minute, spurred ever onward by the proliferation of multi-car households. A study by The Department of Transport found that in 2017, 76% of UK households owned at least one car, with nearly half of this number owning two or more. Combine this with the fact that 56% of journeys under 5 miles were driven, and factor in the increasing dissatisfaction with public transport services, and the problem really begins to crystallise.
Micromobility - swapping short car journeys for cleaner, lighter travel solutions
That’s where micromobility comes in. Micromobility is the provision of light, short-distance, active or electric-powered personal transportation. It grants freedom from fossil fuels and liberation from rush-hour tailbacks. Often it covers first- or last-mile solutions (for example, connecting to public transport), commuting, and inner-city travel. In the USA and Europe, micromobility solutions like e-bikes and e-scooter sharing schemes are becoming the new normal. We conducted our own study on scooter habits and found that 19% of scooter journeys were under 1 mile, and 91% were under 5 miles. Both are excellent alternatives to short car journeys.
Green, sustainable travel has long been central to what we do at Swifty. Our planet is on the verge of an environmental crisis, and we all need to do our bit to change that; that’s why we’re taking the fleet for our commutes. You can watch a scooter commute below:
Co-founder Camilla Iftakhar expanded: “I’m delighted to present our corporate scooter-fleet. Even as a scooter company, some of us need a gentle nudge to change their travel habits to be more environmentally friendly. If you leave the car behind a couple of times a week, it could collectively make a huge difference to the traffic congestion in Manchester. We hope that our initiative will inspire others to do the same.
“By providing a travel solution for free to our employees, they not only have the chance to save a bit of cash, but to get some exercise too.
“Active travel obviously has many benefits to our communities, from reducing transport emissions to improved mental health. Scooting is our preferred mode around Manchester as we make good use of Manchester’s new 'Bee Network' and the canal routes into town.”
Corporate micro-mobility, a scooter fleet for businesses
So why should micromobility appeal to a business? For starters, many businesses and organisations commit to a corporate social responsibility (CSR); a promise to do their bit for society. Many businesses are under scrutiny for emission of pollutants, so provision of green corporate transport would be an appropriate CSR contribution. And with the availability of corporate fleets like the SwiftyZERO fleet, it’s never been easier to equip your workforce with micromobility solutions. You can find out more about the Swifty fleet here.
A scooter-fleet not only provides a fun, environmentally-friendly mode of transport; it makes good business sense from a productivity standpoint, too. Promoting an active lifestyle in your workforce tends to encourage an individual’s creativity, learning, memory, and concentration, according to a 2014 Harvard study.
Individuals would also have the opportunity to connect via fitness social network Strava, which allows users to track their performance through numerous variables including speed and distance. So, your workforce can connect with one another, and set personal targets too.
Manchester’s “bee network”, a £160m development of cycle and walking routes devised by Transport for Greater Manchester, will make an ideal commuter route for scooters and bicycles.
We need to challenge the norm of the driven commute, and shift instead in favour of green, sustainable, light personal transportation. To realise this on a corporate level would be a valuable step towards reducing our carbon footprint and inner-city emissions.