Active Travel without the spin

On 23 March 2022, before the ACT Legislative Assembly, Transport Minister Steel spoke about Active Travel. Minister Steel is very good at staying on message and can repeat those key messages month after month, year after year, and budget after budget. Here is his Ministerial statement, 75% shorter and in just 700 words.

Communication tip #1: Repackage old news as new. That makes perfect sense, as it takes years for TCCS to build anything. We have been talking about the requisite active travel infrastructure since 2012 – but, outside of new estates, we have seen very little. TCCS is a slow coach by design. Everything has to be done at least cost it seems, and decisions must withstand audits of public accountability. This makes the ACT Public Service deeply procedural, process obliging, and cautious. Add to this, that in TCCS we have an engineering culture, where everything has to be ‘evidence based’, and we know that agile and flexible are soap bubbles. Sounds good? Well, unfortunately the ‘evidence’ is biased towards what can be expressed in numbers, which pretty much leaves us half-brained!

Culture evolution and transformation requires knowledge of peer reviewed cognitive science.
Classical engineering has an overwhelming preference for left brain behaviour. Agile PM and flexibility require right brain behaviours.

TCCS models are tools solving old – and well known – problems that are increasingly ill suited to solve the problems of the future. An old Einstein quote comes to mind… 🤔

Please note: In the quotes “…” means text has been deleted. The deletions are that which is previously announced (old news) or commonly known.

  • Three dots within the paragraph means words or sentences have been deleted.
  • Three dots between paragraphs means one or more paragraphs are deleted.

New Active Travel Plan (ATP)

The ACT government is currently developing a new active travel plan. Through the plan the government will set a new policy direction for active travel, which I can announce we will be consulting on with the community around the middle of the year. This plan will replace the current active travel framework. …

The plan will include principles that guide decision-making for active travel, a framework for prioritising network improvements and supporting initiatives and, importantly, a new active travel network plan. The new network plan will also map out the current future of our walking and cycling routes and outline proposed improvements to it. …

The plan will establish a new framework for active travel infrastructure that is suitable and safe for all ages and abilities and that is complemented by initiatives such as education, behavioural and enabling actions such as bicycle parking, wayfinding, shade and amenities. The plan will … outline the ways we intend to measure and track this over time. … to encourage people to walk and cycle (we) will be to build safe infrastructure. The research tells us that it starts with safety. … most people will not cycle unless there are paths that are safely separated from cars. Similarly, when there are highly frequented cyclepaths that are shared with pedestrians, people may not feel safe walking with cyclists and may also feel safer on their own dedicated part of the street.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

New Active Travel Standards

… the ACT government is reviewing the design guidance for active travel infrastructure this year. … as we invest in improvements to our transport system, we (must) encourage active travel by design in a way that makes it safer and more convenient.

… New best practice standards will be developed to make Canberra streets and intersections safer for people who are not travelling by car and make streets more vibrant in key parts of the city. … the design guide will (include) “quick-build” protected cycling lanes… .

The design guide will adapt Australasian (why not European?) and global best practice to improve safety for all road users at intersections and mid-blocks, provide priority for people walking and people cycling, and provide guidance on how existing road lanes in Canberra could be converted to protected cycle lanes in Canberra …

We are fortunate in Canberra that the NCDC built a large network of off-road shared paths prior to self-government. This is a good foundation on which to deliver a city-wide active travel plan, including the network plan.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

Lake Ginninderra priorities

In the second half of the year (2022) we look forward to consulting on the priority improvements with the Belconnen community, ahead of any construction.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

Sulwood Drive

Later this year (2022), construction will begin on a new shared path along Sulwood Drive in Kambah, the missing east-west connection between Drakeford Drive and Athllon Drive.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

Adelaide Avenue bike path feasibility study announced

As work progresses on the next stage of light rail from the city to Woden, the ACT government has included the feasibility of an off-road shared path on Adelaide Avenue to inform the design of a cyclist highway to the city and the parliamentary triangle … .

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

Multimodal Network Plan

This year (2022) the framework of where and why we make our transport investments will be strengthened in the development of a multimodal network plan. … The MNP is an integrated transport plan that provides a balanced and coordinated prioritisation of projects across all transport modes, avoiding the traditional method of planning for individual modes that may favour transport investments being heavily skewed towards road network upgrades.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

Movement and Place Tool

Instead, we intend to transition to a “vision and validate” or “place-based” model that involves a collaborative, people-centric and place-specific approach to creating environments that people will actually want to walk and cycle in.

To make this transition, one of our priorities for the coming year is to finalise a movement and place tool for Canberra which will support our network planning. This tool will ensure that new transport projects deliver benefits for all modes of travel and that transport investment and new urban development complement each other.

Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.

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