The move towards a more sustainable community means re-thinking transportation planning. Transport is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and thus climate change. In addition, our dependence on the car to get from A to B makes our society very dependent on the availability of (cheap) oil.
The true cost of driving is not limited to air pollution, run-off into waterways, pollution from manufacturing and disposal of cars and car parts but also includes crashes, noise, time stuck in traffic jams and social isolation. In addition, in communities where people are more likely to drive than walk or cycle and use public transport, residents are generally less physically active. The less active we are, the more we weigh and the worse our health.
Sustainable transport indicators include:
- reduced car use
- increased transit, walking, cycling and carpooling
- reduce average commute to and from work
- increase average speed of transit relative to cars
- increase service kilometers of transit relative to road provisions
- increase cost recovery on transit from fares
- decrease parking spaces
- increase kilometers of seperated cycleways
The car has had a large impact on cities. But is was not always like that. Many of us like the old European cities, characterised by their walkability. Those lucky enough to visit cities like Paris and Barcelona may have enjoyed cycling around using the cities bicycle programs.
Austalian cities are characterised by a high automobile dependence, having developed mostly after cars became commonplace. This is apparant when looking at the urban sprawl, the requirement to have at least two parking spaces per single dwelling, the amount of space dedicated to cars, the lack of good quality public transport in many areas, the amount of car parking (even around train stations), the funding and (hidden) subsidies for roads, cars and fuel.
The Green Swing Project on 96 Rutland Avenue aims to address the transport issue as follows:
- The development is located within cycling distance of the CBD area
- Shops and other community facilities are within walking or cycling distance
- Victoria Park train station is approximately 400 meters away, thus encouraging the use of public transport.
- A communal bike store has been designed into the garage facilities.
- Multi-functional garage areas can also be used as work spaces.
- Each residence is provided with one covered garage with limited outdoor space for visitor / overflow parking.
Ideas for future initiatives include a car share program.
- Newman, P. and Kenworthy, J. (1999). Sustainability and Cities; Overcoming Automobile Dependence. Island Press, Washington DC.
- Roseland, M. (2009) Toward Sustainable Communities; Resources for Citizens and their Governments. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island
A situation in which "a city develops on the assumption that automobile use will predominate so that it is given priority in infrastructure and in the form of urban development".
(Newman and Kenworthy, 1999, 60)