Ford of Europe is encouraging its employees to leave their cars at home and to commute by bike.
Its new Park the Car initiative is asking workers to cycle, rather than drive, for journeys less than 5km, to promote healthier lifestyles and cut pollution.
“It is probably the last thing many people would expect from an auto maker,” Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley says in a blog on the organisation’s website last month.
“However, driving responsibly is no longer just about safety. It’s also about caring for our environment and our health – and walking or cycling once a day, active travel, can bring about significant change.
“According to the World Health Organisation, half of European car journeys are less than 5km and – especially in cities – these are often the kind of trips that could easily be made by bike or on foot.
He said travelling by car, even for short distances, is a necessity for some people.
“But for many of us, myself included, it is a habit we must change,” he says.
“Walking or cycling instead of driving just once a day could reduce personal daily carbon footprints by up to 84%.”
This in turn could support an 8% reduction in carbon emissions by cars – and help point towards a greener future for everyone.
“The advent of the electrified vehicle will certainly help. But as Ford Executive chair Bill Ford pointed out as long ago as 2011, ‘a traffic jam with no emissions is still a traffic jam’.
“The average person spends up to 36 hours a year in urban gridlock and parking the car – when it comes to short urban trips – will go some way towards helping ease that congestion.”
Ford has announced ‘Park the Car’ will be integrated to its global young driver training program, Driving Skills for Life, that has provided hands-on learning to more than 38,000 people in Europe since it was launched nine years ago.
“We will announce further plans in the coming weeks and months as regards extending the campaign among our employees and to communities in Europe where Ford has a significant presence,” Stuart added.
“This will mean supporting and investing in schemes that encourage active travel.
“A recent study we commissioned showed that more than a third of Europeans would be willing to use their car less to help combat climate change.”