More than 80% of Australians use private vehicles for day-to-day travel, with 14% of the nation using public transport and the balance – a mere 5% – relying on active transport to get around.
These are some of the key findings in a new report which also says a tripling in the use of active transport is needed to help the Federal Government meet emissions reduction targets of 43% on 2005 levels by 2030.
The Climate Council’s new report, Shifting Gears: The Path to Cleaner Personal Transport reveals to get there, daily trips on electric public transport would need to increase three and a half times. Similarly, daily journeys made on a bike or on foot would need to triple.
The Climate Council say Australia’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after energy, with cars and light commercial vehicles making up almost two-thirds (62 percent) of transport pollution.
“Significant investment in zero emissions transport and infrastructure is needed to give Australians cheaper, more sustainable and reliable options to get from A to B,” states the report.
“Currently, the transport mix is unsustainable. Australians mostly use private vehicles (81 percent of trips), compared to just 14 percent public transport and 5 percent active transport.
By 2030, the transport mix should – ideally – look more like 36 percent of trips made by private vehicle, 49 percent of trips via public transport and 15 percent with active transport.”
Dr Jennifer Rayner, Climate Council Head of Advocacy, said: “To get to net zero, the way we get around in Australia needs to change. There’s been a lot of focus on increasing uptake of electric vehicles as a solution, but rapidly cleaning up transport calls for a bigger re-think on how we move around.
“Enabling more Australians to choose public and active transport – like walking and bike riding – can drive down emissions while also delivering cleaner air, less congestion and make our communities much more liveable. Luckily, we have the technology we need to deliver this right now.
“Governments need to step up and invest in reliable and accessible services and infrastructure – particularly in outer suburban and regional areas. This will make it easier for more people to choose public and active transport for more of their daily trips.”
Andrew Stock, Climate Councillor and energy expert, said “Most state governments are currently only spending a fraction of their transport budgets on active and public transport.
“The Australian average for active transport is less than two per cent, which is well below international best practice. By comparison, the European Union invests €5.4 billion euros — approximately $8.8 billion Australian dollars — in sustainable transport, and the Irish Government is working towards spending 20 percent of their transport budget on walking and bike riding alone – in line with the United Nation’s recommendation.
“Right now, the average Australian household has two petrol cars in the garage. If we get the investment right, in the future one of these will be replaced by an EV but the other can be substituted altogether by a mix of trips using public and active transport.”
Lead image courtesy of We Ride Australia – the leading national cycling advocacy organisation. For more visit www.weride.org.au