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On yer bike: ACT needs to lift its game on “active travel”

The ACT government’s vision to create “Australia’s cycling capital and most walkable city” was expressed in an unintentionally amusing report this week.

In what seems a pretty achievable goal, the ACT government will spend the next 11 years trying to convince seven per cent of its population to cycle to work by 2026, up from 2.8 per cent in 2011.

That means the territory needs a whopping 4.2 per cent increase over 15 years.

The government also wants to see numbers of people walking to work sky rocket from 4.9 per cent in 2011 to seven per cent in 2026 – a 2.1 per cent increase over 15 years. Don’t aim too high folks, we need to be realistic here.

A graphic in the report summary shows 4218 males were walking to work in 2006, compared with 4423 by 2011 – a difference of a couple of hundred.

We don’t want to discourage the government’s efforts to encourage healthy living, but the figures were just a bit funny because they weren’t at all impressive.

But in the ACT government’s defence, the territory is notoriously spread out, and the government has committed more than $87 million over 2012 to 2018 to improving infrastructure, including a range of improvements to walking and cycling paths.

This funding is part of the government’s Healthy Weight initiative, which supports healthy decision making through good urban planning, encouraging people to choose active travel options.

A list of ways to “support active travel” help the reader to imagine how the lofty seven per cent figure will be achieved:

  • Remove barriers and obstacles to walking, cycling and riding
  • Improve access to public transport stops
  • Improve the connectivity of walking and cycling networks
  • Integrate active travel networks with public transport hubs
  • Ensure active travel connections within and through town and group centres
  • Improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Provide supportive infrastructure such as lighting, shade, signs, seating and drink fountains
  • Encourage employers to provide end-of-trip facilities

See the report

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