The last ABS Census was conducted on 10 August 2021. Only now is the data being released. The ACT Government made a recent announcement. Today, a few highlights from the ABS Census for the Molonglo Valley and Gungahlin. Gungahlin does not have a lot of apartments, after all, unlike the Molonglo Valley.
We would like the ACT Government to be accountable and invest wisely, so we measure and monitoring all sorts of things. However, not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that we can measure matters, but it matters what we measure. Confused? TCCS is. We want more people to walk and cycle, but we do not measure that. We measure congestion instead, which we do not want. We want our streets safer for walking and riding. Traffic management studies required data, but we do not collect data on that which matters: the safety of walking and cycling.
Some would argue that using a scooter is not active travel, but few would fail to recognise how much scooters have changed Canberra in the last years. Despite their success, scooters are not a panacea to congestion that TCCS needs. Scooters tend to attract a different crowd. International studies show scooter are hardly used by cyclists and are an unlikely replacement for cars. Those that ride scooters would otherwise walk to travel with public transport.
City rankings can be motivational but are unlikely to help city planners prioritise investment decisions for cycle infrastructure. Still, city rankings remain popular. If we are to compare Canberra with other cities, we should be benchmarking ourselves with the best cycling cities. European cities have some of the highest cycle participation rates in the world, and the Netherlands amongst the best cycle infrastructure.
The 2017 ACT Household Travel Survey took place in 2017 and was published in 2018. The next 2022 ACT Household Travel Survey has gone to tender in 2022 but we not see the results until 2023. With the 2022 ACT Household Travel Survey report a year away, it seemed to be a good time to look back on the 2017 Survey.
Many cyclists in Australia think cycling is common and popular here, but is that actually true? A recent international survey from 2022 of 22 countries shows that Australia belongs to a handful of English speaking countries that are cycling laggards. Compared to other countries, many people in Australia do not support investment in cycling infrastructure. It took 20 years for the majority of Australians to support climate change. Research (2019 Federal Election) showed that even when the majority recognised the problem many were not prepared to vote for it. How long, therefore, before we are prepared to vote for cycling?
The tender for the 2022 ACT and Queanbeyan Household Travel Survey has been released but do not expect any results soon. The tender (71271‐RFT‐001) expects that the data will not be available until April 2023 – a year away.
False is the claim that we have 1000 km of bike paths in Canberra. Even with the most optimistic estimate, only 568 km of paths meets the minimum requirements for cycling, and the asphalt paths are about half that. In the ACT we have 327 km of bitumen paths, 235 km of concrete paths, and 6 km with pavers – total 568 km. In comparison, we have 5900 lane kilometres of roads.
Speeding has become the norm in Canberra. “In a 60 km/h speed limit area, the risk of involvement in a casualty crash doubles with each 5 km/h increase in travelling speed above 60 km/h.” 5 km/h above the speed limit is the equivalent of the blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. We have kicked the drink driving habit, can we now kick the speeding habit? A 25-year-old Australian study warns of the dangers of speeding.
The vast majority think of themselves as better than average drivers. We judge ourselves by our intent and not the outcome. Others judge us by the outcome but rarely by our intent. We are very good at rationalising our irrational behaviour, particularly to protect our ego. The sales boom of SUVs and trucks (utes) is ongoing – even during a climate change emergency. SUVs and trucks are more likely to cause the deaths of pedestrians and cyclists – an inconvenient truth that many refuse to accept.