Last week, businesses from across the county attended a workshop organised by Hertfordshire County Council to share their thoughts on the future of transport in Hertfordshire. The county council wanted to gather views from Hertfordshire based businesses to help shape future transport plans so the county can be better connected.

Representatives from Hertfordshire based Tesco and Ocado attended, along with Evalu8, PCL, MBDA, Electric Blue, RES and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Derrick Ashley, Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning & Transport, said "There’s no hiding from the fact that our roads and other transport means are getting busier, year-on-year. Future planning is absolutely necessary to make sure demand doesn’t outweigh the network capacity and that’s why we’re working with businesses to learn about their current transport needs and to understand their transport aspirations for the future. Hertfordshire already has over five billion vehicle miles travelled every year, making it the second busiest road network in the UK (closely behind Surrey).

“We want to find out what are the top travel challenges faced by businesses in the county. We also want to anticipate what transport needs businesses may require over the next 10-15 years. This information will help us in planning for the future. ”

Most businesses agreed that the majority of their employees rely on driving to get to work. With increasing congestion and pollution on our roads, schemes such as car sharing, options for flexible working - such as working from home, and the use of electric cars with more access to car charging stations as well as better connected public transport were popular alternatives. Other ideas that were suggested on the day included bike sharing schemes like the Boris bikes, better cycle routes across the county and options for better parking and more sophisticated road diversion signs. All of these suggestions will be considered as part of the wider Transport Vision.

Pete Weddell, Environmental Manager from MBDA who attended the session said:

“Better transport connections within the county would be hugely beneficial for all businesses across the county and business can take proactive steps such as MBDA has through schemes such as a subsidised cycle to work scheme, facilitated car sharing and participation in the Smart-go Stevenage Travel consortium. Getting the inputs and experiences of local business is a positive step in tackling this important issue for us all and we welcomed the opportunity to share and contribute to the debate. We look forward to learning more as the future plans mature.”

Mary Sykes, Business Development Manager from Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said: “I’d like the transport vision to include a car share scheme when travelling to and from work – if there was a national incentive to do this, I’m sure more people would take it up.  Also, encouraging more businesses to think about flexible working for staff to strategically address congestion and lack of parking would be of benefit."

Hertfordshire County Council would like to thank all businesses that took part in the transport workshop. The information shared will be used to help plan for Hertfordshire’s future transport needs.