21 November 2006

Sustainable Mobility: Seen to the Year 2030

Editor’s note: As part of our strategy over at the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, we are placing this summary introduction to the latest number here for your information and comment. To access the full volume all you have to do is click the above title. Let us know what you think of this, as well as any other ideas you might have for importing the journal and its potential impact on policy and practice in our troubled sector. Eric Britton

World Transport Policy & Practice

Volume 13, Number 1

Sustainable Mobility: Seen to the Year 2030


· Editorial John Whitelegg

· Abstracts & Keywords

· What goes up must come down: Household car ownership and ‘Walking for transport’ - Hazel Baslington

· Trends, innovative course settings and levers for mobility & transport:

· Seen to the year 2030 - Hartmut H. Topp

· Splintering the public realm: using local public space for corporate economic gain? - Fiona Raje

· Effects of pedestrianisation on the commercial and retail areas: study in Kha San Road, Bangkok - Santhosh Kumar K., William Ross

· Cycling for active transport and recreation in Australia: status review and future directions Rissel C, Garrard J

· Travel in Inner City versus Urban Fringe of Adelaide: the Role of Neighbourhood Design - Soltani A, Allan A, Sommenhalli S, Primerano F


At an international conference on walking in Melbourne, Australia on October 24th 2006, a large and eager audience sat patiently waiting for the Minister of Transport of the State of Victoria to give his opening address. He did not turn up, and his absence sends a very strong message indeed to all those who work very hard to make the glaringly obvious point that walking is transport, walking is important and walking is central to everything from tackling obesity and climate change to creating high quality liveable cities. Ministers of transport tend to turn up at conferences devoted to private finance initiatives and highway construction. They will always turn up to share the limelight about transport plans related to Commonwealth and Olympic games, but walking is off the radar screen and is easily replaced by something more important even if it has been in the minister’s diary for several months.

Australia is at the serious end of most transport, land use, energy and health and resource use problems. Its high levels of car use, even for short distance trips, makes it especially vulnerable to the peak oil problem and the refusal of its politicians to take sustainable transport seriously is a major obstacle to progress. Highway projects loom very large in the in-tray of ministers of transport.

The city of Brisbane in Australia has decided to build a central area tunnel at a cost of over $3 billion (Australian). The tunnel will end up costing far more than this and will be followed by many other high cost highway infrastructure projects. Brisbane’s approach to transport policy is not especially unusual but does bring into sharp relief the contradictions that lie at the heart of urban transport throughout the world. Brisbane is also the location of the self-proclaimed “largest travel smart project in the world”, and this project will work diligently to persuade people not to use the car. The combined highway projects and Travel Smart projects amount to a $10 billion plan to encourage car use and a $30 million plan to discourage car use. This is silly and looks especially silly when put in the context of the world-class physical environment of Brisbane and its enormously attractive walking and cycling possibilities. Brisbane has 1% of all trips currently accomplished by bike and about 80-85% by car. It is a car dependent city that is rushing headlong into higher levels of car dependency at a time when peak oil and oil dependency concerns are ringing alarm bells around the world. Car dependent and fossil fuel dependent cities like Brisbane are heading for a social and economic crisis because they cannot see the wisdom and precautionarity of moving to lower levels of oil dependency. Brisbane could easily have 10% of all trips by bike, 10-20% on foot and 15-20% on public transport but there is very little sign of the vision and clarity of thought that could produce this outcome.

Sweden on the other hand has declared its intention to become fossil fuel free by 2020 (‘Making Sweden an OIL FREE Society’, Commission on Oil Independence, 21st June 2006) This policy links well with its “Vision Zero” road safety policy which was introduced in 1997 and commits the country to achieving zero deaths and zero serious injuries in the road traffic environment. This remarkable double-hit will ensure that Sweden maintains a high quality

of life and an exceptional degree of insulation from global oil supply problems and price increases. Australian citizens will find themselves living in a polar opposite world characterised by oil supply crises and prices of more than $100 per barrel. This is unnecessary and Australia has the experience and the people to deliver a revolution in mobility. It simply lacks politicians with the vision and clarity of thought to recognise that reducing car dependency is a win-win situation with hard monetary and security benefits that range across obesity, diabetes, mental health, reduced fiscal demands for roads, bridges and tunnels and reduced greenhouse gases.

At the international walking conference almost 400 people gathered to discuss best practice and to assess the multiple advantages of increasing walking and all modes of sustainable transport. The majority of the participants were Australian and there can be no doubt that if these people could be given a few months to sort out walking, cycling, health and urban design and planning in Australia then all these problems would be resolved.

It is increasingly clear that politicians are out of step with the needs and requirements of the age in which we live and that a major paradigm shift is needed to deliver urgent action on climate change, transport-related health problems, cities drowning in car pollution, children damaged by noise and deeply traumatised communities. A radical shift towards walking, cycling, and public transport and traffic reduction will deliver a huge part of the solution to all these problems and will create happier citizens.

This is the major challenge of the 21st century and we will succeed. The 19th century saw major world cities installing pure drinking water systems on a huge scale. The 20th century saw the elimination of the dreaded and dreadful sulphurous yellow smog that plagued London and all major UK cites and we must once again rise to the challenge of system-wide re-engineering to restore civilisation, calm, peace and community richness to our cities.

This challenge will involve setting maximum speed limits of 30kph in all cities and banning through-traffic from residential streets. It will mean reversing almost 100 years of car domination and returning streets and cities to people. It will mean that we pursue interventions of whatever kind that protect children, the elderly and the mobility disadvantaged, and we no longer tolerate noisy, intrusive traffic near our homes and in our communities. It can be done and it will be done.

John Whitelegg


Melbourne, Australia

24th October 2006

Making Sweden an OIL FREE Society

Commission on Oil Independence 21st June 2006 http://www.sweden.gov.se/content/1/c6/06/70/96/7f04f437.pdf

Walk21 - Walking Forward in the 21st Century


Abstracts & Keywords

What Goes Up Must Come Down:

Household Car Ownership and 'Walking for Transport'

Hazel Baslington

This paper reports research investigating the cultural determinants of childrens' travel. The 'diary sets' kept by 301 children linked travel with time spent on physical activity over one week. Parents completed a travel and exercise questionnaire (n=136) and some were interviewed (n=22). Car use for regular journeys and time spent walking is associated with the number of cars in households. Availability of a car can reduce walking for transport but may facilitate other exercise. Possession of two/more cars extends socio-economic and geographical boundaries. A bold policy measure advocated is a 'one car' policy for households.


Childrens' travel, mixed method design, walking for transport, multi-car ownership, 'one car' policy

Trends, innovative course settings, and levers for mobility and transport

Seen from the Year 2030

Hartmut H. Topp

We need innovative policies to shape the future of mobility and transport. Sustainable mobility in terms of ecology, economy and social justice is the goal, even though sustainability is poorly defined in the field of mobility and transport, and, at the same time, inflationarily used. Technical innovations in transport are often discussed, but we also need economic innovations, political innovations, social innovations, as well as, behavioural changes, because sustainable mobility can only be achieved by a broad range of measurements. We need new policies and innovative course settings, because laissez-faire cause undesirable developments, such as wasting fossil energy, climate changes and natural disasters through global warming, dead-end street of automobile dependency, urban sprawl resulting in high costs, unaffordable public transport in rural areas, macro-economic losses through congestion, environmental and health damage ... The list could be continued.

Keywords: Technical/economic, social innovation, behavioural change, sustainable mobility

Splintering the public realm: using local public space for corporate economic gain?

Fiona Raje

This paper provides an example of how conflicts between transport and planning policy and practice can manifest themselves in local communities. It discusses the building of a gated community on a deprived urban peripheral estate in Oxford and the dichotomy between policy statements about promoting social inclusion and the granting of permission to construct a socially-isolating housing development within one of the city’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

Key words

Gated communities, splintered urbanism, transport policy

Effects of pedestrianisation on the commercial and retail areas:

Study in Khao San Road, Bangkok

Santhosh Kumar. K, William Ross

Pedestrianisation of retail areas is a strategy commonly implemented in city centres. It has various impacts on the traffic speed and increases the quality of life for the people living, working and visiting the area of implementation. In addition, it also has an impact on the commercial and retail businesses in the area of implementation. The current study focussed on determining the effect of pedestrianisation on the retail and commercial businesses of Khao San Road, Bangkok. The results of this study were in line with earlier studies undertaken in various other cities. Qualitative research methods were used in this study and the results showed that business owners reported an increase of sales volume since pedestrianisation and all respondents reported a noticeable increase in the liveability of the area. The study recommends that the implementing authorities undertake similar projects in retail and commercial areas throughout Bangkok to boost the sales volume and increase the liveability of the area.


Pedestrianisation, Retailing, Liveability, Commercial areas, Khao San Road, Bangkok

Cycling for active transport and recreation in Australia: status review and future directions

Rissel C, Garrard J

Riding a bicycle is a potentially important but neglected form of sustainable transport that can also contribute to achieving adequate levels of physical activity. Despite the clear health and environmental benefits of cycling, there has been no systematic review of strategies to increase or promote cycling in Australia, nor any consideration of a health promotion research agenda for cycling.

This paper reviews the available Australian published and grey literature reporting evaluation of strategies to increase or promote cycling (n=17). It identifies the prevalence of cycling in Australia from a range of sources, synthesises the main influences on cycling, reviews the little available evidence of effectiveness of strategies to increase or promote cycling, and identifies research priorities.

This review has highlighted the relatively low level of regular cycling for transport in Australia, and the marked gender disparity of riders. However, cycling is a very popular recreational activity (fourth most popular nationally), suggesting that under favourable conditions some of these riders could substitute short car trips for bicycle trips. Almost all of the identified cycling promotion program evaluations have shown some degree of increase in cycling, suggesting that if they were to be implemented on a wider scale and with adequate resources they would lead to increases in population levels of regular cycling. A number of suggestions are made for cycling related research in Australia.


Cycling promotion programmes, strategy evaluation, cycling research

Travel in Inner City versus Urban Fringe of Adelaide:

The Role of Neighbourhood Design

Soltani A, Allan A, Somenahalli S, Primerano F

Previous literature has found that suburban development is associated with the unbalanced choice of travel mode. The micro-scale aspects of the built environment that influence modal choice, however, have not been well-established. Furthermore, the majority of the literature is from North American or European cities, thereby less Australian context. Using a sample from Adelaide, this research looked at the connection between neighbourhood design and modal choice, classifying the sample into two low-density, growing outer-ring suburbs versus two suburbs selected for their higher density, stability, and inner-ring location. Statistical analyses showed that neighbourhood design has a strong association with modal choice. Specifically, traditional neighbourhood designs are correlated with the choice of non-motorised modes, while suburban designs are associated with the choices of car driver/passenger. The multinomial logit models suggest that micro-scale urban form factors play an important role, and that travel time and commute distance also impact modal choice along with a number of social factors such as income level, employment and family structure. This study, therefore, supports the assertion that land use policies have at least some potential to reduce the choice of private vehicles, thereby reducing car dependency. This study also may serve to assist other practitioners in Adelaide in their efforts to address the issue of induce travel, and to present better solutions for sustainability concerns.

Keywords: Travel; land use; multinomial logit model; Adelaide

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