The mobility transition & why companies play a crucial role

The mobility transition & why companies play a crucial role

Deutschlandticket, electric cars, e-bike boom and car-free cities: the mobility transition is here, and that's a good thing.

Because the transport sector is not only one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, but also one of the most significant problem drivers in our cities in the areas of climate protection, health, stress, emissions or even heat - and at the same time their problem solver.

It is about nothing less than making our way of moving more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

This means, we need to move differently in cities - ourselves and more independently of motorised individual transport. It’s a well-known fact by now. However, achieving this is not only the task of politics, but companies are also called upon to make their contribution. After all, there is no journey that people make more often than their commute.

The good news: more and more companies are realising that they have a responsibility to contribute to the mobility transition. For example, they are fulfilling their social responsibility by switching their fleet to alternative drive systems or by promoting environmentally friendly mobility for their employees. But the development and implementation of new technologies and concepts for sustainable mobility is also a task that can be taken on by companies.

Health, climate neutrality and cost reduction: these are all arguments in favour of a new mobility strategy by companies for their employees

If companies develop a holistic mobility strategy for their employees that focuses on the requirements of the modern working world and the needs of the employees, this can help to promote employee health, improve climate neutrality and reduce costs at the same time.

Two aspects are central here: Maximum flexibility with the greatest possible sustainability.

My job ticket, my mobility budget, my bike leasing - daring more than just a company car

Of course, it is still a nice gesture when an employee is offered a company car. It has something to do with appreciation and prestige, but also with a bit of old-fashionedness. In any case, the company car has had its day as a (boomer) status symbol for many.

The new luxury class is maximum flexibility with the greatest possible sustainability. This is also shown in a representative study by the digital association Bitkom: 96 percent of the people surveyed in Germany say that their mobility behaviour has changed significantly in recent years. On the one hand, this has to do with the climate crisis and the desire to move differently and more sustainably now (55 percent), but on the other hand, it is also due to financial motives (30 percent).

With rising petrol prices and inflation, many are looking for alternatives to the car. Of course, New Work also has an influence on the new mobility behaviour. Thanks to flexible home office arrangements, many no longer commute to the office every day.

What replaces the company car? Mobility needs continue to increase, but the offers are becoming more democratic and flexible: Deutschlandticket, sharing offers, on-demand transport and the company bike. In the future, employees will use a mobility budget, which more and more companies will offer their teams and which comprehensively covers mobility needs and integrates these mobility offers.

More flexible mobility offers

Mobility must fit the life situation, the working day and a little bit also the mood. This is confirmed by a survey conducted by the TÜV Association, among others: Flexibility, speed and reliability were ranked in the top three as the most important criteria for personal mobility. This also suggests why e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular.

Employees can expect their employers to be open to the changing needs of individual flexible mobility. Some DAX-listed companies, medium-sized enterprises and start-ups are already showing what this can look like. Instead of company cars, they distribute a mobility budget to their employees.

Depending on their place of residence and life situation, they can then decide for themselves how they want to use it. Some choose the job bike or job ticket, i.e. opt for rented or leased bikes, e-bikes or public transport. Other employees, especially those who live in rural areas with poor transport connections, can continue to opt for the company car or keep their own car and choose the fuel or charging card.

So it's not a matter of eliminating something without replacement, but rather of increasing the options. So that it suits everyone best.

The providers of tax-optimised app-based solutions take care of the issues of salary conversion, benefits in kind and lump-sum taxation of non-cash benefits. Seems complicated, but saves costs. The mobility budget is one concrete idea among many on how companies can advance the mobility transition and thus not only stand out as pioneers in sustainability and climate protection, but also as a modern and attractive employer.

Here are other very sensible aspects of a corporate mobility transition.

The boss drives us to work

In many companies, a comeback of the last century is being considered and even already implemented: the company shuttle or business bus.

Thanks to data-based digital tools, bus routes can be designed so efficiently even in rural areas that employers can pick up their teams from home and have them work in good infrastructure. A modern mobility strategy that, by the way, is also applied to the school bus to relieve the many helicopter parents in rush-hour approach traffic.

We move in with our boss

In times of housing shortage and the need for new employees and young families to settle here, a second company concept from the last century is celebrating a comeback: the company or company flat with the employer.

Many companies are interested in this mobility-avoiding idea again, after all they have to prepare for a soon more comprehensive company sustainability reporting.

Rethinking business travel

The last few years have shown: Not every business trip is necessary. In many cases, a video conference has done the trick. This trend will continue and change business travel guidelines in the long term, also because employees' wishes and requirements for business trips have changed.

It is not just about flight shame and train pride, but about enabling a healthy continuous mobility journey that also allows travel time as working time. This leads to less stress and more working time at lower cost sounds like an attractive argument for companies not to book the flight as usual for the next trip.

However, one of the main reasons why many business trips are still made by car is the last mile. This is why mobility stations or mobility hubs at railway stations are becoming so crucial and transport companies a mobility partner for companies.

ESG and CSRD: Companies can no longer avoid climate action and mobility

The switch to sustainable mobility requires not only political measures, but also the commitment of companies. More and more companies are recognising the importance of switching to sustainable mobility and are setting targets for reducing their CO2 emissions. To achieve these goals, companies need to adapt their business processes and models and prepare for the shift to CO2-free mobility.

Companies are now even more challenged: The European reporting requirements for sustainability have become stricter with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directives (CSRD). They will also apply to non-listed SMEs from 2024. This means that many companies will have to start recording the emissions of commuter journeys by their workforce and include them in their reporting.

Alternatively, they will have to take hectic measures from next year onwards or risk meagre scores and thus poor sustainability rankings.

Studies support walking and cycling

Time and again, studies show the same result: promoting walking and cycling brings clear benefits not only for the environment, but also for the health of people who walk or cycle instead of driving. Last but not least, companies also benefit from this.

The risk of illness is lower among cyclists than among car drivers. Examples from large companies with company mobility management show that with an increasing number of cycling employees, sickness-related absenteeism decreases. Employees who cycle work more and are usually more punctual. Companies that support cycling to work more strongly can thus effectively save costs.

A sustainable mobility strategy is entrepreneurial

These examples show very well: companies should pursue a sustainable mobility strategy in order to fulfil their social responsibility and to achieve economic benefits.

The mobility turnaround is not just about replacing the drive, but about changing structures and mobility behaviour with the aim of achieving cheaper, healthier, more flexible and time-efficient employee mobility in terms of climate protection. As with any change management, this also means a communication challenge.

Companies that have already recognised this and have put mobility on the strategy agenda from an entrepreneurial, business management and employee perspective in new flexible working environments will be successful in the market.

NAVIT as a mobility partner for companies

For those companies still looking around, we have a recommendation: Let's talk! In our experience, this is best done with all stakeholders in the company: Board, works council, controlling, fleet, facility - moderated and motivated by smart HR management!

It's good when companies have a reliable mobility partner at their side who accompanies them safely through the mobility transition. We support companies of all sizes on their way to sustainable mobility management. A mobility budget is the right incentive for employees to use climate-friendly means of transport.

We show how the employee mobility of tomorrow already works today and ensure that companies can confidently do without company cars with a corporate mobility strategy that enables maximum flexibility with the best possible sustainability.

Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance writer and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility cosmos. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits and new work. Besides blog content, he also creates marketing materials, taglines and content for websites and case studies.