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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Firms help cut traffic congestion
Bus at Sowton
Some buses have been diverted directly to office buildings
Companies and businesses in one of Exeter's most congested areas have grouped together to solve the problem.

Thousands of people work on the Sowton Industrial Estate, which has seen much expansion over the last few years.

This has included new offices, stores, and the move of the Met Office to the city. A lack of parking space means the area is often crowded with cars.

Firms are asking bus companies to divert routes to offices while car sharing is also being encouraged.

'Business-led'

Over the past few years, several measures have been introduced to help calm traffic problems.

Some speed limits were reduced, bus shelters built and yellow lines limited the obstruction of roads.

But the estate's expansion meant still more action was needed.

Businesses came together in April to form the Sowton Transport Management Association to promote a sustainable transport agenda through partnerships in the estate's business community.

Car park at Sowton
A lack of car parking space means Sowton estate is easily clogged

Company EDF Energy has only got parking spaces for one third of its workers but has persuaded buses to be diverted to the company's main building.

As well as this, staff are given loans for tickets, and the use of motorcycles is and car sharing is encouraged.

Ian McGregor of the transport management association said the group had already seen success because companies wanted to get involved.

He said: "It's working smarter, it's working harder, and the key difference we've got is that this is business-led.

"It's not what some people might look at as a green travel initiative coming from an environmental lobby. This is business introducing this because it is going to be advantageous to ourselves."


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