A new business network has been launched in the North East to help keep the regional economy moving by addressing local transport issues.

The Go Smarter Business Network will meet the transport needs of businesses in the region and help encourage employees to get out of their cars and adopt a greener commute to work.

By bringing businesses together, the Network will also provide a strong, coherent voice in the region and support a future vision for transport in the North East, where good transport links create economic growth and help sustain jobs and communities.

Launched last Thursday (12 May, 2016) as part of the Go Smarter to Work legacy event, the Business Network is open to any business in the North East Combined Authority (neca) area.  It will be managed on behalf of Go Smarter by travel and transport planning specialists at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a leading professional services firm.

Cllr Nick Forbes, who has responsibility for transport on the North East Combined Authority said: “This is great news. The Go Smarter Business Network is an integral part of the programme’s legacy.

“Go Smarter has achieved so much over the last five years and it’s testament to the programme’s success that so many initiatives are able to continue.

“The Business Network will not only help businesses encourage their staff to adopt a greener, more sustainable commute to work, it will also allow them to become more influential in the future of transport.”

The aim of the legacy event was to bring businesses together to find out how they can continue to benefit from Go Smarter and learn how sustainable travel can be further promoted within their businesses.

The Network will be focussed around four facilitated meetings per year where members can hear from professionals in this field and share knowledge and best practice with each other. It also provides member organisations with access to exclusive travel discounts for their staff and a newly developed sustainable travel business case tool to help organisations make the case for investment in sustainable travel measures.

Go Smarter was funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) to encourage the use of sustainable modes of travel across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. A similar programme, Local Motion, ran in Darlington and South Durham.

Claire Whitfield, Newcastle-based principal transport planner, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff added: “We have been involved in the delivery of the Go Smarter to Work and Local Motion business engagement programmes over the last four years.

“We look forward to continuing our relationships with organisations and developing new ones, and are confident that the Network will go from strength to strength because of our experience and the commitment of businesses in the North East to move towards a cleaner, greener and healthier future”.

For more information about the Go Smarter Business Network visit www.gosmarter.co.uk/businessnetwork