Active Whitehorse News

The latest Active Whitehorse News is now online for you to read and enjoy.

46255867-melbourne-aus-apr-11-2014-traffic-on-degraves-street-one-of-melbourne-s-finest-laneway-environmentsFind out why Walkable Steets are More Economically Productive. This is backed by research  by the Heart Foundation and Transport for London.

How to help Build Strong Communities and how Councils can learn from “citizen experts”.

Road rage, trucks & bikes, a Metre Matters, NEL update and more.

Read Active Whitehorse News now and sign up to get it automatically every two months.

Posted in Active transport, Cycling, Health, Motor cars, trucks, Public transport, Sustainable development, Walking | Leave a comment

Cars – do we really need them?

Children in the car era: bad for them and the planet

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Children’s travel needs are a big factor in private car use. Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock

By: Hulya Gilbert, University of South Australia; Andrew Allan, University of South Australia; Carolyn Whitzman, University of Melbourne, and Johannes Pieters, University of South Australia

Children today spend more time in cars than previous generations. They also spend less time playing on the streets and in unstructured and unsupervised activity outdoors. The lack of opportunities for physical activity and the loss of freedom to explore their local neighbourhood is bad news for children’s physical, social and mental well-being.


Read more:
City-by-city analysis shows our capitals aren’t liveable for many residents


Though equally important, the environmental cost of these trends is not well understood. As rapid urbanisation extends across the globe, transport planning continues to be challenging. Transport is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. And 46% of transport-related emissions come from private vehicles.

We know surprisingly little, however, about the detailed reasons for individual private car use. An international study highlights that households with children have higher rates of car ownership and use. In Australia, official statistics on transport pay a great deal of attention to the “journey to work”, but car travel that can be attributed to child-related activities has not been fully explored.

Research on children’s travel patterns tends to focus on the “journey to school”. While school trips are important, this provides only a narrow image of children’s actual travel patterns. They also make many trips to non-school destinations and extracurricular activities such as sport, music and dance classes.

We recently reviewed local government policies related to sustainable mobility and child-and-youth-friendly cities. Our review found little consideration of children and young people in transport planning policies across Australia. This is despite the fact that the decline in their walking and cycling rates was widely recognised.


Read more:
Australian cities are far from being meccas for walking and cycling


Why are walking and cycling rates decreasing?

Several factors contribute to lower rates of walking and cycling among children and their limited use of public transport. These range from urban form to social and economic conditions.

Australian suburbs typically have low density and segregated land uses, which privilege the car over other travel modes. This situation is worse in outer suburbs which have limited public transport and poor provision for walking and cycling. These outer suburbs are also more likely to have lower socio-economic status and a larger proportion of families with children.

All together, these suburban conditions add to the social disadvantage resulting from limited access to services and activities that are critical for families with children. This further encourages private car use.


Read more:
Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth


Changing social structures mean families usually are on tight schedules. These changes include increases in employment for women and in the number of both single-parent families and families where both parents are in paid work. Because the car is relatively cheap and easy to use for individual mobility in Australian cities, it is generally the uncontested way to manage these schedules.

In addition, the increased individualisation as a common characteristic of Western societies usually means parents are expected to provide strict supervision of children’s movements. In the conditions described above, the most practical way to do this is usually to drive them in a car.

Of course this increases the number of cars on our streets, particularly around schools and other common destinations for children. This then perpetuates parents’ concerns about traffic safety, leading in turn to even more private car use.

Notice the difference? Drop-off time at an inner-city Copenhagen school.
Hulya Gilbert, Author provided


Read more:
Young people want walkable neighbourhoods, but safety is a worry


Child-centred sustainable mobility

What is perhaps most striking about the trend towards chauffeuring children is that these facts are seemingly becoming accepted as unavoidable outcomes of modern society. They are largely ignored in transport planning.

We have argued that children have a pivotal role in sustainable mobility. Greater attention to the mobility needs of families with children will produce many social and environmental benefits.

The importance of children’s role in sustainable mobility can be grouped under two themes.

First, children’s needs in today’s lifestyles mean they have an active role in contributing to increased private car use. The daily lives of families with children offer a good example of the context in which carbon-intensive travel patterns occur. If their mobility needs can be met more sustainably (even partially) we are likely to achieve significant carbon savings.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, children have a role as catalysts for behavioural change towards sustainable cities. This is because childhood is a key stage for establishing sustainable travel habits as opposed to “trying to modify already ingrained habits later in life”.

A better understanding of children’s travel patterns would provide a solid foundation for sustainable mobility policies. Planning and transport policies that are responsive to children’s specific needs are likely to have more effective and longer-lasting outcomes, with many related benefits for social sustainability and public health.The Conversation

Hulya Gilbert, PhD Candidate, University of South Australia; Andrew Allan, Senior Lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning, University of South Australia; Carolyn Whitzman, Professor of Urban Planning, University of Melbourne, and Johannes Pieters, Lecturer, Regional and Urban Planning Discipline, University of South Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Posted in Active transport, Children, Cycling, Disability, Hazards, Health, Motor cars, trucks, Public transport, Safety, Sustainable development, Walking | Leave a comment

Planning for Active Transport

Safer and more vital cities.

Register now for a meeting on Tuesday 20th November,  to discuss how YOUR city can be safer and more vital. See below for details.

A recent post advised of the new book Building the Cycling City by Chris & Melissa Bruntlett from Modacity.com9781610918794

This book should be compulsory reading for all Australian urban planners and city councillors. It’s about much more than just cycling – it’s about how the Dutch blueprint for Active Transport infrastructure to build urban vitality, CAN be translated and used in car-clogged US and Australian cites too.

The authors were the keynote speakers at the recent Australian Walking and Cycling Conference in Bendigo.

Chris & Melissa are giving a presentation and launching their book in Melbourne. If you have anything to do with planning for a safe and vital city, register now to attend.

When:  6:00pm, Tuesday 20 November

Where: Bicycle Network Melbourne HQ, Level 4, 246 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000

Register Here

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Free choice advocated

Bicycle Network wants a change to Australia’s helmet laws

In all Australian states and territories (excluding Northern Territory), it is currently mandatory for people to wear a helmet whenever and wherever they ride a bike.

Bicycle Network is recommending that mandatory bicycle helmet laws be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people older than 17 to choose whether they wear a helmet when riding on footpaths or off-road cycle paths.

The full report with the recommendations, together with the study data can be read here.

Posted in Active transport, Cycling, Disability, Hazards, Health, Safety | Leave a comment

More people driving change

Build it and they’ll come

“Traffic models predict more driving, you build more roads & more people drive. But would they have driven more without the new roads?” @BrentToderian

Posted in Active transport, Motor cars, trucks | Leave a comment

Riding Safely

You can help by being proactive about safety on a bike.

Lights and hi visibility clothing.

Research has shown a whopping 270% increase in driver recognition of a cyclist with a flashing rear light compared to without, while another study revealed a 33% decrease in accidents for cyclists equipped with daytime running lights.

Check out this report on a series of experiments to better understand how bicyclists can better be seen by drivers both during daytime and nighttime via the use of lights and high-visibility apparel.

Helmets

Bicycle Network has conducted a study to review their policy regarding mandatory helmet laws in Australia and had an article about this in the latest In The Loop online magazine. They will announce their policy on 31st October.

Researchers at University of NSW have also very recently completed the following academic study Bicycle Helmets: Systematic Reviews on Legislation, Effects of Legislation on Cycling Exposure, and Risk Compensation.

Its quite a long paper of 130 pages, but the findings are summarised in the 3½ page  Executive Summary. It’s worth reading.

 

Posted in Active transport, Cycling, Hazards, Health | Leave a comment

Walking with Wheels

Can the Dutch Strategy for Cycling Work in North America?

dqzzsuwuuaa9wb4“Rather than view cyclists as little cars, we should view them as pedestrians with wheels. Then cycling no longer becomes about fitness or speed—it just becomes a slightly faster way of walking, albeit with wheels.”

Chris & Melissa Bruntlett @Modacitylife – Keynote speakers at Australian Walking and Cycling Conference, Bendigo and authors of “Building the Cycling City“.

Click here for the answer to the above question, and replace “America” with “Australia”.

 

Posted in Active transport, Cycling, Health, Motor cars, trucks, Public transport, Sustainable development, Walking | Leave a comment