Shared agile transport systems can reduce delay by 20-30% on Triq Dun Karm, Birkirkara

A recent study carried out by Prof. Adrian Muscat and Prof. Maria Attard in collaboration with PROJECT AEGLE clearly shows a correlation between the level of academic activity at the University of Malta and the delay experienced on Triq Dun Karm (B’Kara bypass) during rush hours.  The study is based on Global Positioning System (GPS) data, from which the delay on Triq Dun Karm is computed, and on traffic data collected on the University premises.  Traffic to University is characterized by prolonged periods of low, medium and high counts which correlate to seasonal variation in the delay experienced on Triq Dun Karm.  From the data it is conservatively estimated that if 40-50% of University students and employees take up shared transport, the delay on the road is reduced by 20-30%, depending on the type of transport provided.

“Looking at those numbers confirms studies we have conducted already earlier this year. It is all about thinking about alternatives to a single occupied vehicle. Key is that we change our mind-set and are prepared to try out new ways of mobility,” says Nicoletta Moss, Project Manager of Project Aegle.

These results encourage the provision of an agile personalized transport system that provides services to and from University and nearby businesses to towns along the corridor to the west of the university.  A 2016 study by the two University of Malta academics entitled Shared Demand Responsive Transport Service for the University of Malta, supported by the Vodafone Malta Foundation, demonstrated the feasibility of an on-line automated flexible demand responsive transport system to service the University community along the western corridor.  The implementation of such a system would result in mitigating congestion on Triq Dun Karm, reduce noise and improve air quality.  Needless to say the same concept may be applicable to commuters in adjacent large-scale activities around the Tal-Qroqq, Mater Dei, Swatar and San Gwann industrial area or along other corridors in the island’s urban areas.

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ĊINE’AMBJENT #2 — Transport and Sustainable Mobility

PAF will join host Friends of the Earth Malta for an evening of movie and discussion around transport and sustainable mobility.

Having to face gridlock on a daily basis is taxing not only on the environment but also on our physical and mental health. Mobility is a necessity since we all need access to education, work, healthcare, goods and services. We should therefore look at designing a transport system that provides equitable, affordable and efficient mobility options. Despite the obvious need to move away from car-dependent transport, current infrastructural choices are jarring, with headlines notifying the public of constant road widening projects.

For the second session of the film club, we will be screening Bikes vs Cars, a documentary that travels around different cities and tells the story of how some municipalities were able to create a transport model that serves people’s needs while others are still struggling.

Details:

1st of March, 18.30

British Legion, Valetta

Tickets: https://foemalta.org/event/cineambjent2/

YOU ARE NOT STUCK IN TRAFFIC, YOU ARE THE TRAFFIC!

Charlene Pace

Traffic on a Monday morning on Malta’s roads is the equivalent to hell. You’ve been stuck at the same point for about 15 minutes and as you glance at your watch you find that by now you were supposed to be at your workstation quite a while ago…a possible solution to this: the four-day working week?!

During the Industrial Revolution period, labor leaders fought for the “eight-hour day”. Until that point, it was normal to work six days a week, with a typical work day being 10 to 16 hours.  With harsher labor laws and new technologies, a new way of life appears…[1]

Recently, companies have been testing a four-day work week in many different contexts, with one in particular being “Perpetual Guardian, a company from New Zealand which manages trusts, wills and estate planning.”[2] Between March and April of 2018 almost 250 employees of the firm worked four days for 8 hours, but got paid for five. The company affirmed that the experiment was a resounding success, arguing that its employees are much more productive, if they have more time to recuperate and balance other commitments.

Advocates of the four-day work week state that a briefer working week aids employees looking for more flexibility, including people trying to balance taking care of children or other relatives. “For us, this is about our company getting improved productivity from greater workplace efficiencies… there’s no downside for us,” said Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian’s founder in an interview in October 2018.[3]  The firm will adopt this measure permanently[4].

Data collected by the University of Auckland’s Business School in the form of a qualitative research report written by Dr. Helen Delaney on the experiment showed the impact of reduced working hours on non-work lives. Interviewees are making a link between being less stressed due to shorter work hours and being able to use public transport or walk: “…But I enjoyed that, because I’d come in and I was less stressed, so I’d catch the bus rather than driving. So I saved some money on transport costs actually. The odd days I went for a walk and went for a coffee in my neighborhood rather than racing over the road….”[5]

Blog posts on debatingeurope.com the topic hit yet another nerve: Instead of focusing on the positives a debate emerged  focusing exclusively on who will be entitled to the four-day working week. Will service industry workers such as doctors, nurses, bus drivers, etc. be able to join in?[6] A question very valid for all discussions around flexible workhours and locations and to be answered for each specific context differently.

The Maltese work on average 40 hours a week, while several other industrialized nations work less than 40 hours, e.g. the Netherlands (average 29 hours) and Denmark and Norway (average 33 hours). [7] Adding on top of pure workhours the time spent to get to your office and back (estimate 1 hour per day), approximately 45 hours a week are spent with work-related tasks for those of us not working from home.

Flexible working hours and location arrangements have the potential to bring positive change.

PAF (Project Aegle Foundation) conducted a survey online between November 2018 and February 2019 with various Maltese businesses, which were asked on their understanding, regulations and attitudes towards flexible working arrangements. Those are schemes, which offer a variation from the traditional 9 to 5 work day and location, through flexible timing, a compressed work week, reduced hours, leave hours and a “results focused” work environment.

When asked if traffic congestion is affecting the productivity of one’s business, the overwhelming majority of the participants (79 %) answered yes.

A quarter of the businesses have begun offering flexible working arrangements less than 5 years ago, while 22% don’t offer any similar agreements. Individuals actively seeking flexible work arrangements are predominantly between 20 and 40 years old, the time in your life during which one often has other priorities such as child care.

Businesses identified major concerns in relation to flexible work arrangements such as: disruption of the business organization, monitoring employees and security, but they also identified benefitting e.g. through lower employee absenteeism, better work life balance and less time spent in traffic as employees have the option to avoid the rush hour.

If handled in a professional way, built on trust between employer and employee concerns may be solved rapidly. When asked if businesses would be willing to take a look at flexible arrangements if they were offered expert or financial assistance, most of those taking the survey responded positively, so there is interest in the arrangement locally.

A four-day working week or the use of more flexible working arrangements among Maltese businesses may be the next step to help decrease traffic on our roads.

Take a look at the individual articles and our compiled data about the issue and let us know what you think on info@projectaegle.com.mt or drop us a line on our Facebook page.

PAF’s mission is to advance sustainable mobility solutions improving Malta’s traffic situation, thereby enhancing quality of life and environmental conditions for the Maltese population.

Charlene Pace, Research Officer, PAF

Bibliography:

·       Ainge Roy Eleanor.  'No downside': New Zealand firm adopts four-day week after successful trial. Published in The Guardian on 2nd Oct. 2018.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/no-downside-new-zealand-firm-adopts-four-day-week-after-successful-trial

·       Delaney Helen. Perpetual Guardian’s 4-day workweek trial: Qualitative research analysis. Report published by the University of Auckland Business School on 15th June 2018.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a93121d3917ee828d5f282b/t/5b4e425c8a922dd864bd18d0/1531855454772/Final+Perpetual+Guardian+report_Dr+Helen+Delaney_July+2018.pdf

·       Dodgson Lindsay. 3-day weekends could make people happier and more productive. Published in Business Insider on 1st Oct. 2018.
https://www.businessinsider.com/4-day-week-could-make-people-happier-more-productive-oxford-study-2018-10?r=US&IR=T

·       Harris Briony. New Zealand firm adopts its four-day working week permanently. Published in World Economic Forum on 20th July 2018. 
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial/

·       Kurtz Annalyn. Best in the World – World’s shortest work weeks. Published in CNN Money on 10th July 2013.
https://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/economy/2013/07/10/worlds-shortest-work-weeks/index.html

·       Should everyone have a four-day work week?  With reference to the comment section. Published in Debating Europe on 14th Aug. 2018. 
https://www.debatingeurope.eu/2018/08/14/should-everyone-have-a-four-day-work-week/#.XGFInzNKjcs

·       Working Conditions in Malta published by Internations.org.
https://www.internations.org/malta-expats/guide/working-in-malta-15758/working-conditions-in-malta-

[1] Ainge Roy Eleanor.  'No downside': New Zealand firm adopts four-day week after successful trial. Published in The Guardian on 2nd Oct. 2018.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/no-downside-new-zealand-firm-adopts-four-day-week-after-successful-trial

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Harris Briony. New Zealand firm adopts its four-day working week permanently. Published in World Economic Forum on 20th July 2018. 
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial/

[5] Delaney Helen. Perpetual Guardian’s 4-day workweek trial: Qualitative research analysis. Report published by the University of Auckland Business School on 15th June 2018.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a93121d3917ee828d5f282b/t/5b4e425c8a922dd864bd18d0/1531855454772/Final+Perpetual+Guardian+report_Dr+Helen+Delaney_July+2018.pdf  (p.21)

[6] Should everyone have a four-day work week?  With reference to the comment section. Published in Debating Europe on 14th Aug. 2018. 
https://www.debatingeurope.eu/2018/08/14/should-everyone-have-a-four-day-work-week/#.XGFInzNKjcs

[7] Kurtz Annalyn. Best in the World – World’s shortest work weeks. Published in CNN Money on 10th July 2013.
https://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/economy/2013/07/10/worlds-shortest-work-weeks/index.html

European Mobility week

Charlene Pace

European Mobility Week (EMW) is the largest Europe-wide awareness-raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility that wants to improve public health and quality of life through promoting clean mobility and sustainable urban transport. It gives people a role: to explore city streets and to experiment with solutions in tackling urban challenges, such as air pollution and traffic.

This campaign is an initiative of the European Commission. Every year from the 16th till the 22nd of September, towns, cities, NGOs and individuals participate by organizing activities, implementing permanent mobility measures, and holding a car-free day.

EMW is the perfect opportunity to present sustainable mobility alternatives to residents and to explain the challenges that cities and towns are facing, such as reducing car-use and transport emissions, and test new technologies and planning measures.

This event was launched for the first time in Brussels in 2002 and has been going on for these past 17 years.  Every year there is a different theme such as 2016 Smart and sustainable mobility – an investment for Europe with the slogan Smart mobility. Strong economy and 2018 Year of multimodality with the slogan Mix and Move.

This year’s theme is Safe walking and Cycling with the catchy slogan Walk With Us. An emphasis will be made on safe walking and cycling and the benefits it can have for our health, our environment, and our bank balance. Both are emission-free and help to keep our hearts and bodies healthy. Together with walking and cycling other modes of transport can be incorporated like the use of public transport.

The following are some examples of organized activities which countries around Europe implemented during the EMW: in Portugal’s capital city, residents in Lisbon could take their bike on board a train for free, giving them a real incentive to try out multimodality while in Germany the city of Lindau launched a new multimodal mobility app that enables users to plan a route using different transport modes.

This year Project Aegle Foundation (PAF) will be planning and managing a mobility action within the Debono Group for EMW. The idea would be to prepare employees to come to work via alternative modes of transport during that week. More details will be given in the near future.

This supports PAF’s main mission  to advance sustainable mobility solutions improving Malta’s traffic situation, thereby enhancing quality of life and environmental conditions for the Maltese population but we think there is the need to also set an example of the potential of larger companies in Malta “traveling” green!

Should you be more interested on EMW check out the following website http://www.mobilityweek.eu/. Let us know what you think about this and drop us a line on our Facebook page