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Encouraging Green Mobility in Australia: The Path to a Sustainable Future

In countries like Australia, private vehicle ownership is deeply entrenched, with 72% of mobility trips occurring in cars. This dominance far surpasses walking or cycling (15%), public transport (13%), and rideshare and taxi services (1%). However, the sustainability of car dependence is increasingly being questioned due to its numerous challenges, including congestion, carbon emissions, and rising living costs.

The Need for Change

Private car use has long been known to exacerbate urban problems. While electric vehicles (EVs) are part of the solution, the mindset of ‘one person, one car’ must evolve to embrace walking, cycling, vehicle sharing, and public transport. The question remains: how do we achieve this shift?

Cities globally have been addressing this issue for decades. Advances in technology and transport services now place them in a better position to tackle the challenge head-on. To accelerate this transition, Uber Australia launched an experiment to understand the practical and behavioural barriers to having ‘one less car’.

One Less Car Mobility Trial

Uber, in collaboration with The Behavioural Architects, Lime, Lug+Carrie, and Uber Carshare, conducted the One Less Car trial. This first-of-its-kind experiment aimed to explore the feasibility of car-light lifestyles by observing how 58 Australians adapted to giving up one of their cars for four weeks. The trial participants, selected from various life stages and car ownership backgrounds, were provided with AUD 1,350 ($870) in transport credits, reflecting the average annual cost of owning a car in Australia.

Results and Insights

Upon relinquishing their cars, participants’ weekly trips decreased slightly from 21 to 19, while the number of transportation modes used increased to an average of four. The trial revealed significant increases in walking, cycling, and rideshare use, with participants reporting health and well-being benefits and greater community satisfaction.

Walking emerged as the primary replacement for personal car use, increasing by 75%. Cycling and rideshare saw the largest proportional gains, increasing 4-5 times. E-bikes were a new experience for many, with one participant noting the convenience of riding to the ferry for work. Train and bus trips rose by 156% and 86%, respectively, and carshare use tripled.

Barriers to Car-Light Lifestyles

The trial identified three main barriers to reducing car dependency in Australia:

  1. Inequitable access to transport alternatives: Not all areas have equal access to alternative transport modes.
  2. Inconsistent quality, convenience, and reliability: Alternative transport must be available and dependable when needed.
  3. High perceived value and affordability of car usage: Despite analysis suggesting otherwise, many Australians perceive car ownership as more economical.

Reducing Car Dependency

To support a car-light future, Uber Australia recommends focusing on seven key actions:

  1. Invest in infrastructure to increase access for all: Enhance cycling, walking, ridesharing, and public transport through small infrastructure projects and integration.
  2. Improve quality, reliability, and convenience: Ensure travel choices are available when needed and without friction.
  3. Raise awareness and emphasize benefits: Promote alternative transport options and incentivize their use.
  4. Target and scale effective interventions: Focus on demographics most ready to shift away from car use, such as single and double-income households without kids (SINKS and DINKS).
  5. Enable comprehensive plans and strategies: Align city plans and strategies to reduce car reliance and offer diverse travel modes.
  6. Policy reform towards one less car: Adjust government policies across sectors to facilitate car-free choices.
  7. Invest in mass transit projects: Protect corridors, plan, and invest in infrastructure to ensure access to fast and frequent transit services.

Conclusion

The One Less Car trial underscores the potential for car-light lifestyles in Australia, revealing the benefits of diverse transport modes and highlighting the need for strategic investment and policy reform. As cities worldwide strive for sustainability, embracing green mobility solutions will be crucial in reducing car dependency and enhancing urban liveability.

source :

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/05/one-less-car-how-this-country-is-encouraging-green-mobility

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