The Australian Government’s recently released draft report, Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport explores how Australian governments can work with businesses and the community to increase the mode share of walking, riding and public transport.
The report acknowledges that getting more people regularly walking, riding and catching public transport is likely to result in a range of positive outcomes across a wide range of policy areas and that increasing the mode share of walking, riding and public transport can contribute towards:
- increased capacity in the transport network
- improved public health and reduced healthcare costs
- improved community wellbeing and social cohesiveness, and
- reduced environmental impacts.
Actions that it identifies to increase the mode share of active transport (walking, riding and using public transport) include:
PLANNING – By including walking and riding when planning for land use and transport.
1. Working within a clear hierarchy of planning
- Integrating land use and transport planning; and identifying principal walking and riding routes in state, regional and local plans.
2. Designing networks of continuous, convenient connections.
- Enabling short walking and riding trips for transport purposes; improving access to and within major activity, employment and education centres; and improving access to public transport stops.
BUILDING - By building appropriate infrastructure for walking and bicycling needs.
3. Creating safe environments for pedestrians and cycle riders.
- Separating pedestrians and riders from vehicles, particularly in high-speed and high-volume traffic; sharing road space, with appropriate speeds, in high-pedestrian environments; and recognising the vulnerability of bicycles as road vehicles.
4. Incorporating pedestrian and bicycle facilities when building other infrastructure.
- Recognising ‘positive provision’ policies of states and territories; avoiding costly retrofitting; and incorporating mid- and end-of-trip facilities.
ENCOURAGEMENT – By encouraging greater participation in walking, riding and public transport.
5. Leveraging infrastructure investment.
- Considering programs and incentives to encourage greater participation in walking, riding and public transport; and improving awareness and skills in the broader population.
6. Providing consistent standards and guidelines, monitoring and evaluation
- Supporting nationally consistent guidance and sharing of best practice; improving monitoring and evaluation; and developing nationally consistent decision-making processes.
It also points out that the construction of walking and riding infrastructure is relatively inexpensive compared with other modes of transport – for example, it costs an average $1.5 million per kilometre to plan and build a separated bicycle path. This compares with the cost of constructing other modes as follows:
- one kilometre of light rail costs the equivalent of 49 kilometres of bikeway
- one kilometre of motorway/road costs the equivalent of 110 kilometres of bikeway
- one kilometre of busway costs the equivalent of 138 kilometres of bikeway
- one kilometre of road tunnel costs the equivalent of 324 kilometres of bikeway
- one kilometre of underground rail costs the equivalent of 533 kilometres of bikeway.
For the full report or to comment on the report, visit the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s website.
Also see related Planning Issue articles including:
Or check out Healthy Spaces and Places: a national guide to designing places for healthy living