While the road toll has come down over the decades, it’s largely a result of fewer car occupants dying. Pedestrian deaths have barely changed for a decade, but they remain a road safety blind spot.
Cities around the world are reducing traffic speeds and improving access to local services and activities by public transport, cycling and walking. They are now reaping the many ‘slow city’ benefits.
Active travel can help tackle the climate crisis earlier than electric vehicles – even if you swap the car for a bike for just one trip a day.
The need for social distancing sparked a cycling boom, cutting air pollution and boosting city dwellers’ mental and physical health. But when the pandemic ends, will it be back to life as usual?
Emissions from road transport in New Zealand have doubled since 1990, and the Climate Change Commission recommends sweeping changes to switch to electric transport options.
If we’re to get more people walking and cycling in our cities, then we need to make it easier for people, and we can learn from others overseas.
Investing more in cycling and walking would boost both physical and economic health, with a typical return of $5 for every $1 spent on cycling infrastructure.
The drop in traffic during COVID-19 lockdowns reduced global emissions. If we keep encouraging cycling and working from home beyond the pandemic, our climate goals may become more achievable.
Some new habits we’ve seen emerging during the pandemic could help us solve tricky problems like traffic congestion, which have challenged our cities for a long time.
Temporary and tactical urbanism offers simple, low-cost solutions to make streets and other public spaces both safe and sociable during this time of physical distancing.
COVID-19 has upturned uses of public spaces that we took for granted. Will shifts in the regulation of these spaces lead to a change in thinking about who “owns” the city?
We’ve all seen the increases in people walking and cycling on shared paths so crowded it’s almost impossible to maintain physical distancing. This must be fixed, and quickly.
We are all finding out about neighbourhood liveability as we stay home for the coronavirus lockdown. What we learn about local strengths and weaknesses can help us improve our communities in future.
Only the inner suburbs of Melbourne and other capital cities meet the 20-minute neighbourhood test. But we could transform the other suburbs for much less than the cost of current transport projects.
Are debates about e-scooters too narrow? Perhaps it is time to focus more on revitalising urban spaces and retrofitting road infrastructure.
Where bikes are kept is a strong pointer to the place of cycling in the owner’s life. Effective active transport policy starts with understanding what stops people using their bikes instead of cars.
A newly released ten-year plan for Melbourne aims for fewer cars, safer streets and more shared spaces. A significant amount of parking and road space would be reallocated to walking and cycling.
Rather than mourn the end of a seven-year reign as ‘world’s most liveable city’, Melbourne could raise its sights to become more liveable, healthy and sustainable for all who live in the city.
The private car is the default transport option for many families. This reduces physical activity and increases greenhouse gas emissions, with unhealthy results for their children and the environment.
The city where the Kyoto Protocol was signed resolved some years ago to move away from cars and towards low-emission alternatives for getting around. And it’s making real progress towards that goal.