Travel behaviour change initiatives aim to reduce car trips in favour of walking, cycling, car pooling and public transport. These alternatives to car trips are sustainable methods of transport and physically active modes of transport.
The majority of car trips in Queensland are short — 10 percent of all trips are less than one kilometre, 20 per cent are less than two kilometres and 30 per cent are less than three kilometres. (Rose, Marfurt & Harbutt, 2003) These distances are achievable by walking or cycling rather than driving. A 10 minute walk is approximately one kilometre and a 10 minute bicycle ride is approximately three kilometres. And given the catalytic converter in cars does not start working until three kilometres into a journey, driving shorter distances also has an environmental impact.
Programs which promote and encourage active modes of transport also help to increase physical activity and reduce overweight and obesity in Queenslanders. One research study (Frank, Andresen & Schmid, 2004) found that each additional hour spent in a car per day was associated with a six per cent increase in the likelihood of obesity. Conversely, each additional kilometre walked per day was associated with a five per cent reduction in the likelihood of obesity. Programs also enhance the environment, reduce greenhouse gases and decrease the carbon footprint. Walking and cycling are also healthy recreational activities.
Encourage more people to walk, cycle and catch public transport through programs such as:
- Active School Travel Program — the program can be run cooperatively by council officers and participating primary schools. The program aims to reduce traffic congestion around schools and improve road safety awareness by encouraging parents, staff and most importantly children to walk, cycle, car pool or use public transport to get to or from school.
- Bicycle User Group (BUG) — help establish a community based organisation with the aim to improve cycling conditions in the local area. BUGs are usually made up of local cyclists who enjoy bicycle riding for transport or recreation. BUGs encourage councils to provide better facilities and safer routes for commuter cyclists, children riding to school and recreational cyclists (see Bicycle User Group Manual at http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/active-transport/AT_CYC_P_bug_manual.pdf) and Department of Transport and Main Roads’ cycle note A5 Staffing, Bicycle Advisory Committees and Bicycle User Groups (click to view link)
- Bike Buses — a bike bus is a group of people who cycle to work or school in a group. It is called a ‘bus’ as there is a set route and timetable so it can pick up ‘passengers’ along the way (see http://www.bikebus.org.au/)
- BikeEd program — some school aged children do not learn the basics of bicycle riding and safety. Councils can help fill the gap by providing opportunities to learn about cycling and road use, and to promote bicycle commuting as a component of an active and healthy lifestyle. Opportunities might be offered as part of local parks, pool complexes, recreation education programs and active school travel programs (click to view link)
- Buy/Borrow a Bike Scheme — identifies various employer strategies to assist in encouraging employees to cycling to work. These strategies involve assisting with borrow and buy-a-bike support programs
- Community based programs — Heart Foundation Walking is a community-based program that uses volunteer walk organisers to lead small walking groups in their local area (see http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/walking)
- Community Based Cycling Proficiency Training — this Bicycle Federation of Australia project provides adults with the skills to ride bicycles for transport, recreation and tourism purposes (see http://www.austroads.com.au/abc/index.php?type=sep&id=14)
- Cycle events — while the field of travel behaviour change is relatively new, even less attention has been given to the travel behaviour change potential of major events such as Ride to Work Day. The limited evidence that is available suggests these events have the potential to bring about sustained travel behaviour change and the experience of trialling cycling can increase cycle use, both for riding to work and for other trips (see https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/ride2work/)
- Incentives — implement incentives to encourage public transport use, walking and cycling. For example, introduce parking restrictions or paid parking, provide park and ride facilities (see Case study: Parking policy following)
- Information dissemination — prepare maps, signage, websites and other information to encourage more people to be active. This can also address reducing actual and perceived barriers to walking and cycling. It allows people to know where they can walk and cycle. See Neighbourhood planning – walkabilityin the GIS/Analysis Tool section for more information.
- Mileage allowances — a significant incentive is provided to people to use bicycles as their choice of transport, particularly to and from work, to off-set trip costs. Programs have been implemented nationally and internationally. In Victoria, the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry recommends a reimbursement rate of 9.89 cents per kilometre cycled. The City of Yarra offers a higher rate than this, giving employees $50 per year if they ride between two and 10 kilometres per week and $150 per year if they ride more than 10 kilometres per week
- Rack ‘n’ Roll or Bikes on Buses — people can cycle to the nearest bus stop or park-and-ride location, attach their bicycle to the racks on the bus, and be transported with their bicycle to their destination (see http://www.valleymetro.org/bus/bike_on_bus/index.htm). Alternative ways of implementing this includes installing bicycle racks on taxis (seen in Hervey Bay) and allowing bicycles underneath buses in rural bus services (seen on the Hervey Bay to Maryborough bus route which allows people to put their bicycle in the luggage storage area underneath the bus)
- Support a car share scheme — a car share system operates on a hire basis. A pool of vehicles is available to residents to hire on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. The cost of using the service generally includes a membership fee plus cost for use of the vehicle. The scheme has the benefits of reducing the need for households to own a vehicle or second vehicle. It also encourages residents to use active forms of transport instead the car. For example, on weekdays people would walk, cycle or catch public transport. Cars are only be used occasionally for weekends away
- TravelSmart — the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ program which encourages people to reduce their car dependency and increase use of public transport, cycling, walking and car sharing by providing information on travel choices specific to their suburb, school or workplace. Specific programs have been developed for workplaces, schools, suburbs and destinations such as hospitals, shopping centres and universities (see http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Travelsmart)
- Walking School Bus™ —Walking School Bus – A guide for parents and teachers is for school communities throughout Australia. This guide explains the Walking School Bus™ concept for local schools and provides information about how to join or set up a Walking School Bus™ program (see http://www.travelsmart.gov.au/schools/schools2.html)
- Rose, G. Marfurt, H. & Harbutt, P. 2003, ‘Using a Ride to Work Day Event to Promote Travel Behaviour Change’, 26th Australian Transport Research Forum, Wellington, New Zealand.
- Frank, L., Andresen. M. & Schmid, T. 2004, ‘Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars’, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 87–95.