Arts & Culture

Cultural audiences opting to travel more sustainably with Act Green pilot

Featured Image: Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Five cultural venues have been working together over the last four months as part of Indigo’s new Act Green travel pilot, with the aim of encouraging audiences to attend events more sustainably. 

Those visiting Chichester Festival Theatre, The Point & Berry in Eastleigh, Farnham Malting, The Old Fire Station Oxford and The Electric in Guildford have created more than 4,000 sustainable travel plans since July.

Funding from Arts Council England (ACE) has enabled the five South East England venues to take part in the pilot from cultural sector consultancy and research agency Indigo, in conjunction with sustainable travel demand management platform You.Smart.Thing. (YST) and audience engagement service, crowdEngage.

YST’s travel assistant technology has enabled audience members to see the carbon impact of a range of travel options, offering updates if there are any changes or disruptions. An integration with crowdEngage has allowed for timely communication with audience members.

The project follows Indigo’s Act Green survey from May last year, which was a UK-wide research piece into the attitude of cultural audiences towards the climate emergency. The research then ran for a second time in July, with audiences believing that cultural organisations should be doing more to be sustainable.

“The Act Green research we have run for the last two years with audience members across the UK clearly shows audiences want to see more from arts organisations when it comes to sustainability,” said Indigo chief executive Katy Raines.

“Audiences want the organisations they love to lead the way with initiatives which bring audiences on the journey with them too. It has been a pleasure to collaborate on this project to enable audiences to play their part to support organisations, and the early results suggest that they are willing to do that.”

Initial travel plans show that visitors are opting for low-carbon active travel methods or public transport, rather than driving to venues. When compared to their usual travel behaviour, those that used the route suggested by the travel assistant service reduced their carbon emissions by 41%. This has resulted in the estimated saving of eight tonnes of carbon over the past three months.

The pilot project will run until May next year, with results to be published in the spring, along with a toolkit for other cultural organisations that would like to adopt this approach.