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Travelsmart - BELCONNEN households


The TravelSmart - Belconnen project is a large-scale Voluntary Travel Behaviour Change Project intended to encourage the use of healthier, more sustainable transport modes. It is a partnership funded through the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Water Resources and a significant initiative by the ACT Government to implement its Sustainable Transport Plan.

The aim is to help people to help themselves.

What is Voluntary Travel Behaviour Change?

“…….change that occurs when individuals make choices for personal reward without a top-down mechanism, regulation of any sort or feeling of external compulsion…..an individual decides to make a change so that he or she will improve their personal life in some way” (Ampt, 2003).

The Project Goal

The project is expected to reduce car travel by between 5% and 14% across the project area.

Potential benefits of the project.

When people are encouraged to make smarter travel choices the benefits can be:

Fulfilment of personal goals such as using time better or saving money

Reduction in traffic and parking congestion

Increased public transport patronage

Improved community health, for example by encouraging physical activity

Improved pedestrian and cyclist safety

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

Greater community interaction through walking and carrying out activities locally

How, Where and When?

11,000 households in the Belconnen suburbs of Charnwood, Dunlop, Evatt, Florey, Flynn, Fraser, Melba and the Belconnen Town Centre were invited to participate. Around 40% of households, which is over 4,500 households, chose to be involved. These households are trying to find new ways to make life easier by using the car a bit less such as helping them to ask their manager if they could work at home, finding out more about local shops (which is where the Belconnen website can help), avoiding a longer car trip or using the bus, bike, or walking occasionally.

The project started in August 2006 and ended in June 2007.

Feedback from the TravelSmart team

Many people have told us that when they first heard someone from the TravelSmart team talking about using their cars less, they thought it would be impossible “you need a car in Canberra”. But when they realised that it was often possible to get rid of the annoying car trips by thinking differently, many people were delighted.

People told us many stories during the project such as………………

A mother told us how the thing that bothered her about her car was that she seemed to take her daughter everywhere by car. She was very concerned about her daughter’s lack of exercise, but wasn’t sure how to tackle the problem. With the TravelSmart conversationalist she worked out that if she walked with her daughter, she would probably find it more fun (and it would be safer).” The walking map meant we were able to find new and interesting places to walk

"We sold our car and my husband takes the bus to work and he enjoys listening to the radio on the way. He now rings me before he leaves work so that I know what time to have the tea ready. It’s convenient and saves me snacking before tea as well.”

A busy mum was delighted when she found a safe route for the kids to walk to school. “The children now walk to school in the mornings by themselves. On top of it I’ve worked out I can walk to work and save money on parking fees.”

A woman told us how she waited around at the hospital for her husband to pick her up – and felt bad for him, and not too happy with the wait. But TravelSmart helped her solve that. “I didn’t realise that I can catch the bus home from the hospital so easily. It means my husband does not have to wait around for me – that’s really good.”.”

You might have seen our stall at the Belconnen Festival last November. At the stall people talked to representatives from ACTION buses, Pedal Power, the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Walking School Bus and the ANU Art of Moving Project. There were also some excellent art works by children from Miles Franklin Primary School.

At the Festival one of the people who learnt to use the bike racks on the buses said, ”it’s really easy to put the bike on the bus now that I have tried it. I can use the bus to Civic then ride to work from there.”

One of the most exciting developments was linking with the Green Steps Program called “Art of Moving”. The leader of the project invited people to create a work of art that related to the goals of reducing car use and healthy living. The idea was to draw a shoe (one of the key ingredients to using a car less). There are shoes from TravelSmart participants as well as from students at St John the Apostle and Evatt primary schools. All the shoes were combined into a work of public art which appeared at the Art of Moving Exhibition at the ANU in April 2007.

Where can I get more information on TravelSmart?

The project has finished contacting households but if you would like to know more about TravelSmart please email travelsmart@act.gov.au or phone (02) 6207 5539.

Information on other TravelSmart projects around Australia can be found at the national TravelSmart webpage www.travelsmart.gov.au

 
 

 

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