The Chris Boardman interview by FareCity introduces cycling leadership. Something lacking in the ACT. Chris is not the first to say such things. Brent Toderian has said similar things. In a leadership void, however, cycling gets nowhere. That is why the ACT needs an Active Transport Commissioner.
We do not have an accounting standard for active travel and need one. Here we consider how one could be created that permits comparison of active travel spend across directorates and budget years, and discerning between cycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Canberra.bike calls for an Active Travel Reporting Standard.
Few items in the budget are directly related to active travel. The new investment in Active Travel for the period 2021-2025 is just $17.370 million. The analysis of the TCCS Budget Statements. Considering cycling is a congestion buster and has health and wellbeing benefits for both children and adults, one would have expected cycling investment to feature strongly in this budget.
An interesting list of upcoming projects in the ACT in 2021-2022 (stand 20 Jul 2021), including the new suburbs of Jacka (Gungahlin) and Whitlam (Molonglo Valley), and duplications such as Athllon Drive. The list is sorted by procurement start. Indicative package values are included for most projects (others are marked Not For Publication ie NFP)
The peak period traffic chaos around Molonglo Valley would indicate that we have made a mistake. The development of this Future Urban Area has demonstrated that we still do not prioritise the development of cycle and active travel infrastructure. Molonglo was chosen as it was close to Civic, however we have not seen the take-up of cycling for transport in the Molonglo Valley but rather car dependency. To move cycling forward, we need to develop the cycle infrastructure independently of roads. What went wrong in the Molonglo Valley?
Why wait until the driver’s licence? We can teach children safe cycling in school. In the Netherlands, the school children take a traffic exam on their bikes when they are just 11 years old. With a rite of passage on bicycles, are we surprised that the Netherlands is a cycling nation. The nature of a rite of passage is there is something to celebrate!
We must recognise that in low cycling countries our fears have a large impact on our cycling behaviour and our instincts (feelings) are poorly tuned to the real risk of cycling. To increase women’s cycling participation, we must therefore target building confidence and providing women with real cycling experience. This equates to an adaption process of venturing to try the unfamiliar and building new habits. A positive experience (enjoyment) makes it more likely that we will cycle again. A mishap in the early stages will discourage further cycling. This is why good cycle infrastructure makes a difference, as it creates a forgiving environment to cycle.
The Submission by the ACT Young Planners Committee of the Planning Institute of Australia to the Moving Canberra: Integrated Transport Strategy 2019-2045 provide a number of case studies, one of which, is the power of nudge and behavioural economics (behavioural insights).
Amongst children, boys and girls, the participation rate for cycling is the same, which is known as “parity”. Amongst women in the ACT, and typical for low cycling countries, men are much more likely to cycle than women. The question should be, perhaps, not why women cycle less, but rather why girls in adolescence stop cycling.
The ACT Report, National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey 2021, now the responsibility of the Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand (CWANZ), confirms what we have long suspected. Cycling as a mode of transport has not increased in the ACT. In the last 10 years, there has been no statistical significant change in the cycling participation. What should we do differently.