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.
Active travel is a group effort shared between walking, cycling and public transport. Public transport is good for Canberra. The budget submission of Public Transport Association of Canberra is profiled here.
The 2020-21 ACT Budget is a year late and contains little that was not made public before the 2020 ACT Election. 2020 was a special year and the budget has finally caught up. Hopefully, the budget for the year 2021-2022 will bring more investment in cycling.
If we want to get the job done, how much is really enough? Comparing the active travel pledges from the major parties at the 2020 ACT Election with historic benchmarks.
The Molonglo Valley is currently under construction and the cycling infrastructure is poor. If we wait until a suburb is finished then the problem will be with us for decades. This is what is happening now in the Molonglo Valley estate development.
The light rail from Civic to Woden has been slowed by the approval process. Central business district projects are always expensive, and this one is no exception. The provisions in the budget have been set at $1.9 billion. Few would claim this is not a big number for the ACT.
The inability to shift transport investment away from roads is a concern. We cannot build our way out of congestion. We cannot break this cycle despite all the evidence to the contrary. The transport investment in 2020 has not changed. Most of the money will be spent on roads.
So much money is spent on roads. Here is a comparison of the investment in road improvement (duplications and widening) with other forms of transport. As cyclists, we are interested in bike paths but the light rail is included, too.
Estate development is a long and complicated process. Active travel can be lost in the process, buried under other priorities. We need to get it right. Should active travel infrastructure fall short, it will be expensive to fix. A generation would grow up being chauffeured around rather than riding to school or friends. This is a real culture change barrier.