Below are the frequently asked questions about the Low Car Diet, for participating companies and participants.
Any company and organization can participate in the Low Car Diet. To ensure internal and external reach of the campaign, it is preferable to have participation from at least one director / senior manager. An unlimited number of employees in addition to the senior manager may participate. One of the participants must register as the internal captain. This person is the campaign coordinator within the participating company and serves as the point of contact for the company’s employees and the Low Car Diet team.
The Low Car Diet has tremendous benefits, including overall cost-savings. Sustainable kilometres are a lot cheaper, healthier and cleaner than standard car kilometres. You can initiate a more sustainable and affordable policy. You will relieve the areas surrounding your company by emitting fewer fine particles, your company will use less space with fewer cars. You will motivate your environment to work smarter. Participants who travel more by train and bike are healthier and arrive at work well-rested and prepared for work.
The car is unused 23 hours a day
Most commutes are between 20 and 40 kilometres in distance. There are approximately 250 kilometres of traffic congestion every day. Accessibility and air quality are under pressure and the costs of mobility for companies are increasing. Regular car kilometres are the most expensive and most inefficient kilometres: most cars are unused 23 hours a day. Sustainable kilometres are cheaper, healthier and cleaner. The trend towards paying for actual use is visible in parking, public transport and car sharing. The Netherlands has one of the best public transport systems in the world and is on the leading edge in terms of infrastructure for electric transport. Research shows that employees want to use a different mode of transport, but employers don’t give them enough motivation to do so.
As a senior manager / director you will also set a good example by using more sustainable transport and by achieving the company’s ambitions in sustainability. You can communicate this to your employees, co-managers and customers via social media, blogs on the website and the media, who are generally interested in the participants’ experiences. What’s more, you give your employees the opportunity to see for themselves that they can travel from point A to point B every day in a manner that is cheaper, faster, more sustainable and healthier. We challenge companies to participate with as many employees as possible, because your company has a chance to win wonderful prizes during the competition.
Participation is easy. Your company registers and we will work with your designated team captain to organise and facilitate communications, employee activations and provide an online platform. We will also recommend and provide guidance on agreements with suppliers. You can also have us arrange for NS Business Cards. The standard rates will apply to their use.
Employees register on the Low Car Diet website and will automatically receive login credentials for the Low Car Diet app. They will receive an update each week during the month. Therefore, Low Car Diet handles almost all the arrangements. The captain is expected to coordinate everything well.
Low Car Diet will host an activation campaign at your location. The captain and the communications department will announce the campaign a few weeks beforehand via communications media. On activation day, there will be an opportunity to try out e-bikes and electric cars, and more details about the contest will be provided. Employees can register at that time and challenge each other.
All participants can obtain an NS Business Card as part of the Low Car Diet if their company doesn’t already provide them. Important: standard rates apply. Besides this public transport card, participants mainly use their own resources within the company during the Low Car Diet. Companies are also encouraged to take more advantage of carpooling, flex working and teleconferencing.
Participants may also use new sustainable modes of transport like electric bikes and cars. We can work with the company’s captain to see which supplier is the most suitable to supply these resources. We have also concluded agreements with a few suppliers that you can use during the Low Car Diet as a company or as an individual participant. More information about these deals can be found here.
The first prize goes to the company that demonstrates the most change based on cleaner, cheaper and healthier commuting and business travel. The number of participants from a company also plays a role, thus the total sum of reduced emissions.
The company with the lowest emissions per kilometre (gram CO2/km) will also win a prize.
We recommend registering in plenty of time beforehand so all arrangements can be made before the competition begins. It will give us time to schedule an activation day at your location, provide you with customised communications and request NS Business Cards if necessary.
For the 2019 edition companies need to register before 1st May 2019.
Employees of participating companies can register until June 22nd 2019.
The Low Car Diet can serve as an evaluation of the options available for using more sustainable methods of travel, even for companies whose main job consists of visiting customers or locations throughout the country. Many companies are currently tasked with reducing their CO2 emissions and mobility plays a major role herein. Low Car Diet would like to help and provide recommendations of the options available to find practical and feasible solutions.
Each participating company or organization has an employee who serves as the point of contact for the Low Car Diet team. This person is referred to as the captain. This person recruits participants internally and keeps the company and participating directors and employees up-to-date on the Low Car Diet by providing and distributing practical information. The captain also coordinates the (social) media activities with the communications department.
No, you don’t have to turn in your car keys. You can keep them, which was not the case with the 2012 and 2013 editions. You may use your own car in special cases this year. Of course, there are plenty of other alternatives, such as shared cars.
There is not only a winning organisation once the Low Car Diet finishes, there are also four individual winners. These participants have travelled the most sustainable kilometres in one of the following ways:
Cycled the most
Drove an electric car the most
Worked from home the most
Travelled by public transport the most
There is a nice, appropriate prize for every winner, therefore try to travel sustainably as much as possible!
Yes, to make the data from the Low Car Diet tool as usable as possible, we recommend participating for a full month. The chance to win the competition decreases the fewer trips the participant fills in, which means you will earn fewer points.
During the competition you will log your trips in the travel calendar in the Low Car Diet tool. This will give you insight into how your travel habits affect CO2 emissions, your travel time and the costs. A base measurement will be done so that we can compare travel habits before and after the campaign. Employees can enter that information in their profile before the Low Car Diet begins. More information about the tool can be found here, where you can also download the tool manual.
The interim standings of your own organization are visible on a dashboard, so that you can see how your company’s score compares to other participating companies. View the standings here.
Absolutely! The Low Car Diet is all about cleaner, affordable, relaxed and healthy travel. Participants from prior years are very enthusiastic about the new experiences and insights they have gained through the Low Car Diet. Those who cycled more often became fitter and enjoyed their daily commute more. Some participants thought that travelling by train was cumbersome, but they actually arrived at work quicker, more relaxed and ready to work. Participants generally netted more time for themselves. Having meetings while on the road turned out to be a surprisingly good solution for saving time, particularly if multiple colleagues in a company did that together.
Senior managers and directors can set a good example by using more sustainable modes of transport and achieving the company’s sustainable ambitions. They can communicate this information to the employees, senior managers from other organizations and customers via social media, blogs on the website and in media that are mainly interested in the experiences of participating senior managers. It is also the perfect opportunity for your director to experience how travelling from point A to point B can be cheaper, faster, more sustainable and healthier. You can also tell your director that senior managers from other organizations in the Netherlands are participating, such as the Dutch MSE organization and CSR Netherlands. This may also motivate your senior manager or director to participate.
Challenge people personally. You can use a personal video message, our animated presentation, or flyers and posters that you can hang up and distribute within your company. You can obtain flyers and posters from your team captain.
You can also simply say that you want to win the competition and you need them to participate. Participants will be given access to the online Low Car Diet tool to keep a log of the number of sustainable kilometers. A log of the number of sustainable kilometers will be kept per company and per participant for the duration of the Low Car Diet. Once the 30 days are up, the winners who have travelled the most sustainable kilometers, relatively speaking, will be announced.
During the Low Car Diet, senior managers and employees of companies and government organisations discover that they can travel from point A to point B each day in a cheaper, more relaxed, cleaner and healthier manner. They use other modes of transport, such as an (electric) bike, shared cars, the train and meeting spaces for one month. Participants will keep a record of their travel data in an online tool. This gives the participating organisations detailed insight into their travel habits during and after that month.
The Low Car Diet is an initiative of De Reisbeweging, the organization for sustainable mobility. The objective of the Low Car Diet is to provide companies and organizations an easily accessible means to learn about sustainable mobility and to support them in implementing sustainable travel as part of their business operations. The car remains unused for 23 hours a day on average and it is a major cost factor. Sustainable transport is cheaper, cleaner and frees up space on the road and in the city.
The Low Car Diet began as an initiative by Urgenda in 2012. After that, the competition was made possible in part by MVO Nederland, the Nationale Postcode Loterij and Samen op Reis, a collaborative initiative of the key public transport parties; transport companies, government agencies and consumer organisations.
At the beginning of 2017, the Low Car Diet became part of the independent Stichting De Reisbeweging (the travel movement association). More information about that association can be found here.
A total of 265 companies and 8000 employees have already participated in the Low Car Diet!
We offer workshops once the Low Car Diet has ended in order to continue the long-term benefits, experiences and results of the Low Car Diet within the company and to translate them into mobility policy. During this interactive session – usually half a day – we can look at a new mobility policy based on the data obtained during the campaign. The best approach is developed for each company specifically. Cost savings, travelling more sustainable kilometres and achieving long-term sustainable ambitions are the point of focus. Participating companies draw a lot of benefits from participating in the Low Car Diet followed by the workshop at the end; there are already tens of companies that have systematically made their mobility structure more sustainable after this process. Are you interested in a workshop? Contact us.
The Low Car Diet travel behaviour campaign is also effective in the long-term. A survey in 2015, 3 months after the competition, has shown that employees are still making other (sustainable) mobility choices 30-40% of the time. They have decreased their CO2 emissions by 20%. The CPB (Central Planning Office) has researched these numbers to see whether influencing behaviour is effective for work-related mobility. You can read the report here.
The Low Car Diet month is also part of our transitional method to help companies make their mobility more sustainable. Through extensive analysis of your mobility data, discussing your goals, and providing practical solutions, we support your company during workshops and conversations in implementing a new, sustainable mobility policy.
A sustainable kilometer is every kilometer that you either don’t travel at all or that you travel by a different means that just your petrol or diesel powered car. It can mean travelling short distances by bike or a combination of the bike and the train. It can also refer to borrowing an electric car, working from home or carpooling. The number of sustainable kilometers is recorded by company and by participant for the duration of the Low Car Diet. This is done in the online Low Car Diet tool that is completed every week. After 30 days, the winners are announced. The winners are those who have travelled the most sustainable kilometers relatively speaking.