AUSTRALIA'S LOCAL COUNCILS CAN DRIVE down transport pollution that is causing worsening climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Council's Cities Power Partnership.
The new report, Waiting for the Green Light: Sustainable Transport Solutions for Local Government, identifies actions that local governments can take to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transport, such as setting strong transport emissions reduction targets, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport use and discouraging car use in towns and cities.
Cities Power Partnership energy analyst Petra Stock says that local councils can be a driving force in reducing Australia's rising transport pollution, which saw emissions rise by 3.4% over 2017.
"Local governments setting strong council and community targets to reduce transport pollution and ramp up public transport use, cycling and walking have the potential to make serious inroads into reducing vehicle emissions," she said.
"Many councils across Australia are already taking action to slash vehicle emissions, such as Cities Power Partnership member Moreland's integrated transport network and Canberra's plan to increase electric vehicle uptake."
"The local government drive towards clean, effective transport is underway, but we need to see more councils taking action to slam the brakes on Australia's worsening transport pollution problem."
The report sets out the following recommendations for local governments:
1. Develop a climate and transport policy and action plan, including setting targets for zero-emissions transport and public and active transport use, and introducing electric vehicles into council fleet.
2. Gather data on local transport patterns, and facilities for walking, riding and public transport.
3. Encourage sustainable transport use by local government staff and for access to local government facilities and events.
4. Encourage sustainable transport use (public transport, walking and cycling) through strategic, transport and statutory planning and design. This may include working with neighbouring councils to create connected, efficient access for public transport, cycling and walking.
5. Provide for adequate cycle lanes (both space and connectivity) and provide bicycle parking and end-of-ride facilities. Encourage building owners and operators to provide end-of-trip facilities such as bicycle parking and change rooms.
6. Provide for adequate pedestrian infrastructure, particularly through improving access to local activities, employment and education centres and public transport stops.
7. Provide fast-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (powered by 100% renewable energy) throughout the local government area at key locations for electric vehicles.
8. Consider programs and incentives to encourage active travel and public transport and encourage greater participation in walking, riding and public transport.
9. Consider disincentives for car use such as re-allocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists, congestion pricing, tiered payments for residential parking, and reducing or removing minimum car parking requirements for new developments.
10. Support and educate the community about sustainable transport options
Supportive council policy can have a significant effect on reducing car-dependent culture, which is taking a toll on productivity in Australia's cities and towns, according to Petra Stock.
"Australia has a heavy dependence on cars, with almost 9 out of 10 people commuting to work, school or university by car. That's causing daily, polluting congestion on the roads, costing the economy more than $16 billion nationwide in lost productivity - and it's set to get worse as our cities grow," she said.
"Council's can steer their towns and cities away from fossil-fuel driven car culture, and help to make Australia's urban areas cleaner, more productive places to live and work."