The Climate Council is campaigning for clean, sustainable transport – here’s why

15.06.22 By

Personal transport is Australia’s fastest growing source of emissions, and among the top three highest sources of emissions altogether (behind only energy and land use). Whatever way you look at it, our cars are a major contributor to climate change. 

creating a better transport system infographic
To play our role in ensuring a liveable future and achieving the science-backed target of net-zero emissions by 2035, Australia needs to move away from petrol-guzzling cars to walking, bike-riding, rolling (for people using wheelchairs), zero-emissions public transport and electric vehicles (EVs).

Before we continue – let’s clear the air (pardon the pollution pun). EVs are an important piece of the puzzle, but we won’t achieve our climate targets with EVs alone. 

Communities flourish when we open the streets for everyone to walk, ride, play, explore and move. When we’re on our feet or on two wheels, we’re getting exercise, moving in safer ways, and feel more connected to the people around us. In fact, research shows riding a bike is the ‘happiest’ way to get around.

By changing the question to ‘How many people can we move down the street?’ rather than ‘how many cars,’ we can re-imagine public space. Instead of building more car parks, we’re able to increase the street’s total capacity and open up opportunities for more green and community space This, in turn, helps us to combat the urban heat island effect – in which black, hot bitumen is turning our cities into ginormous ovens, increasing temperatures by up to three degrees celcius.

Cars use a disproportionately large amount of land space compared to public transport and bikes.

What are the benefits of a people centred transport system?

While there’s no question that we must change our transport system in order to avoid the worst climate impacts, there are many other enticing benefits from transitioning to a transport system that is centered around people who are empowered to walk, ride, use public transport or drive electric vehicles where required.

So, it’s time to reimagine the way we move… How? 

The Climate Council is campaigning for states and territories to:
1. Allocate appropriate budget for public transport (50% of the transport budget), walking and bike-riding (20% of the transport budget) in line with best practice and the public’s needs. 
2. Encourage private electric bike uptake through financial assistance at point of sale and try-before-you-buy programs. 
3. Convert the state’s bus fleet to clean, quiet and zero-emission buses.

+ We are also asking for a range of other sustainable transport policies for states and territories which you can find in our comprehensive transport policy package.

What can you do to ask for sustainable transport infrastructure?

Tweaking the way you move – when you can

The way Australian cities and towns have been built forces us to be reliant on cars – so it can be hard to leave our four wheels at home and look to alternatives. Nevertheless, there may be some car trips you can swap out for a walk, ride or trip on a bus / train or tram.

If it’s too tricky to adjust the way you move right now – you’re not alone. It’s the responsibility of governments to empower people with quality, frequent and accessible public transport services as well as safe footpaths and bike lanes. So, we’re on the case – and we’ll call upon our fantastic community members to take action when the time comes!