Walking in circles: transport planning cycle

Paralysis through analysis: the ideas that progress can be halted by yet another study. ACT Transport knows what it needs to do for cycling with over a dozen studies since 2004, but never gets around to making the improvements. The recommendations are all too often never implemented. Take for example, the proposed Civic and Dickson bike path through Haig Park, which has been discussed for over a decade. Here is the history of cycling transport studies.

History of ACT Transport reports since 2004

ACT Transport does enough studies. ACT Transport appear to be very good at that. The slow pace of improvement of our cycling infrastructure in the ACT would indicate the that we have a problem translating what we know into actions.

Year Report
2004Sustainable Transport Plan 2004
2007Trunk cycling network from the Commuter Cycling Network Study 2007
2008Integrated Transport Framework 2008
2011National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016
2012ACT Planning Strategy 2012
2012Background review and analysis of existing cycle network, ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan, Technical Report, 6 August 2012
2012Transport for Canberra Policy 2012-2031
2014ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan, Final Report, 26 September 2014
2014Walking and Cycling feasibility and options report AECOM 2014
2015Building an Integrated Transport Network: Active Travel, May 2015
2018ACT Planning Strategy 2018
2019Moving Canberra 2019-2045 Integrated Transport Strategy
2020ACT Transport Strategy 2020
compliled by canberra.bike, 22 August 2021
Belconnen enlargement Trunk cycling network from the Commuter Cycling Network Study 2007
Belconnen enlargement Trunk cycling network from the Commuter Cycling Network Study 2007

ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan 2014

The table above was compiled in part from the ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan 2014 (26 September 2014, 5-6), obtained through a freedom of information request (FOI 20-030). As we have never reviewed this earlier reports, here is a brief introduction.

2.1 Existing Transport Planning Assessment

2.1.1 National and Local Strategy and Policy Plans

National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016

The National Cycling Strategy sets out a series of actions that are intended to result in doubling the number of people cycling in Australia over the next five years.

This Strategy promotes the idea that bicycles are considered to impose 95% less traffic congestion than an average car. Many people tend to overestimate travel times by bicycle, and when travel time is measured door to door, distances up to 5km on congested roads are often quicker on bicycle than in a motor vehicle. The Strategy highlights that increased cycling offers benefits to both society and individuals, and is a more sustainable mode of transport and provides an outline for priorities and objectives to meet the five year objective.

ACT Planning Strategy 2012

The ACT Planning Strategy 2012 brings together the Canberra Spatial Plan and Sustainable Transport Plan to form the transitional planning strategy for the ACT. This strategy informs decisions on the land uses, metropolitan structure, and growth of Canberra.

There are two primary strategies from this strategy that are relevant to this cycle network feasibility plan.

Strategy 2 identifies improving everyone’s mobility and creating more choices in travel by integrating investment in Canberra’s transport networks with the land uses it serves. This will be done through augmenting the commuter cycle network and facilities.

Strategy 5 identifies building the capacity for everyone to participate in community life by improving the quality of the public realm, access to services and information. This will be accomplished by encouraging people to walk or cycle to schools, shops or community halls as the trip will be safe and pleasant. Canberra’s neighbourhood planning principles placed these services at the heart of every suburb.

Additionally, there are three principles in the ACT Planning Strategy 2012 that need to be considered as part of this cycle network plan as well:

– Principle 1: Provide for accessible and pleasant places to live, work and play
– Principle 2: Design for community resilience and the lowering of natural resource consumption.
– Principle 3: Provide choice in safe convenient modes of travel.

Transport for Canberra Policy 2012-2031

The actions in Transport for Canberra will help create a more sustainable city. This will be implemented through the following:

– Provision of a variety of transportation choices for the Canberra community that provides safe, comfortable frequent and reliable public transport that connects with high quality walking and cycling networks.
– Encouraging mixed land uses to include a mix of retail, commerce and residential uses. Single-use districts make life less convenient to access local facilities, thereby forcing people to drive more frequently to destinations.
– Fostering walkable, compact and close knit neighbourhoods that offer opportunities for recreational walking and cycling on a convenient network of paths, as well as locations to walk or cycle to, whether it be the shops, transport, work or school. A compact, walkable neighbourhood benefits both business and safety and will help tip the choice towards active travel, particularly for shorter journeys.
– Promotion and education to encourage healthy and sustainable mode choices where possible.
– Continued improvements to the safety of all transport modes to reduce the number of accidents.
– Building on our existing community assets to focus on getting the most out of, and building on, the existing transport system.

Transport for Canberra ideally wants Canberra to be a city where active travel is the easy choice, with more people of all ages, cycling and walking for work, school and a variety of other trips.

Integrated Transport Framework 2008

The need for creating the Integrated Transport Framework stems from the strong relationships between each of the components of the transport system that includes: roads, parking, public transport, cycling, walking and supporting infrastructure.

In addition to public transport, cycling and walking are key elements of integrated transport solutions. This framework builds upon the 2004 Masterplan covering the necessary infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, with a focus on establishing a network for use by commuting cyclists both on and off-road. An on road cycle policy has also been developed and will continue to be implemented over the coming years.

Sustainable Transport Plan 2004

The Sustainable Transport Plan, as part of the Canberra Spatial Plan, proposes intensification of the existing area creating an urban form that has shorter trips and encourages people to walk and cycle. It also encourages development at town centres and Civic and at activity nodes along transport corridors, which will support the development of public transport.

ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan, 3002316, Revision No. 3b, 26 September 2014, 5-6. Source: FOI 20-030 ACT Strategic Cycling Network Plan August 2012

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