Going the extra mile - Laura Kerry - Quorum Park

Increasingly, sustainability is a cornerstone of business operations as awareness increases around our individual impact on the health of the planet. Smart businesses know that the location and connectivity of their work premises can be an important factor that influences a potential employee in their job search. That’s why Quorum Park has a dedicated Tenant and Travel Advisor, working on behalf of organisations based on the park to suss out all the options.

Laura Kerry was only supposed to be at Quorum Park for 12 months, having been engaged as a consultant to write its travel plan, introduce some buses and set up the travel centre. However, 12 years later, Laura has built a reputation for being proactive in her approach to promoting sustainable travel planning, helping Quorum Park to be recognised across the region and the UK through national award schemes, and even speaking at national conferences.

Laura began her career with a degree in human geography, and as a keen cyclist since childhood, has always been interested in travel and sustainability.

Her first role was as a school travel planning officer at Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils, implementing safer walking and cycling routes to and from the authorities’ many schools, and encouraging parents and carers to choose more environmentally friendly travel options by talking to them and their children, as well as council staff, about the many benefits of choosing not to drive.

In later years, Laura helped Sunderland Council develop travel plans around major employment hubs including the university and local hospitals. She now works hard to stay up to date with all the latest campaigns and emerging technologies aimed at encouraging sustainable travel, to reduce Quorum Park’s impact on the environment and wider local community.

Travel and parking is an emotive subject when it comes to choosing a business location, so Laura gets involved at the earliest stage to ensure prospective tenants are aware of the park’s interconnectivity, and the support they can access to help them manage their car parks and encourage their staff to choose sustainable travel.

This includes providing pre-move travel analysis and travel surgeries, as well as assistance in writing site-specific travel plans and car parking strategies. She also offers up to date travel information, including details of travel offers, discounts and other incentives, for all tenant staff inductions.

This year has been particularly busy for Laura as although many tenant staff are working from home, concerns around the threat of Covid-19 mean many of those people still based on the park are choosing to shun public transport in favour of single-person car journeys.

She explained: “Reports online suggest that in some workplaces, particularly those with a lot of key workers, car usage is back up to pre-Covid levels and higher as people are understandably nervous about using public transport, so they’re opting for car sharing or travelling alone by private vehicle. And there is a risk that some local bus services may have to be withdrawn if passenger numbers fail to pick up.

“However, we saw people walking and cycling much more during the summer months, and additional temporary walking and cycling lanes have been introduced to help support this. A lot of my current focus is on active travel, which is a challenge during the winter.”

But with government funding, there are now plans for permanent improvements to the walking and cycling infrastructure around Quorum Park. And in the meantime, Quorum Park has dished out free, reflective, wearable, smart safety bars from WOWOW to anyone that is walking or cycling into work on a regular basis, to ensure they can be well seen. There was also a successful e-bike trial last month, and plans are now being made to add some to the park’s pool bike fleet to encourage more two-wheeled commuting.

Laura is also working on the introduction of a new journey sharing website which uses built-in technology to match and verify car share journeys, as well as walking and cycling routes.

Laura added: “In the coming weeks we will be rolling out our new journey sharing software which is brand new and Quorum Park will be among the first organisations to use and promote it. We’re really excited as it could be a real game-changer, allowing tenants to reward their employees for travelling by more active and sustainable modes of transport.”

To find out more about the travel support that Laura provides to go the extra mile for tenants, visit https://quorumpark.com/location/