Many people walk to local destinations such as shops, cafes, parks or the post office. Others walk on a daily basis to their school or workplace. Most public transport journeys start and end with a walk from the bus stop or train station to the final destination. Around 900,000 Australians ride a bicycle for transport purposes at least once a week—to work or school, local shops, or visiting friends.
On 30 July, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Anthony Albanese, released Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: supporting active travel in Australian communities. It sets out how the Australian Government will work to increase the proportion of people who are walking and riding for short trips, and accessing public transport. It follows the release of a draft report in October 2012, which received nearly 200 public submissions from all levels of government, businesses, and the community.
Traffic congestion in urban areas is a central consideration for transport, and is estimated to cost $20.4 billion by 2020. One in seven adult Australians drives less than five kilometres to work or study. In Victoria, 55 per cent of all trips are five kilometres or less, of which 85 per cent are by car. Shifting even a small proportion of these short-distance trips to walking and riding could reduce congestion across our urban transport networks, and can lead to positive outcomes for the environment, our health and liveability.
Economic benefits are estimated at around $2.12 per kilometre walked—a significant figure given almost 220,000 people walk to work in our capital cities every day, around 3.8 per cent of journeys to work.
Three and a half million people—nearly one in six Australians—ride a bicycle at least once a week, and more than 8—million Australians ride at least once a year. Riding a bike delivers economic benefits of around $1.43 per kilometre.
Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: supporting active travel in Australian communities supports a number of national strategic plans already in place including the National Urban Policy, National Road Safety Strategy and the National Cycling Strategy. It recognises the value and importance of state and local governments to this agenda, and that better outcomes can be achieved if we all work together.
Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport—supporting active travel in Australian communities (released July 2013)