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5 Apr 2022: SEQ: Public Transport Investment Must be Catalyst ...

Started by ozbob, April 05, 2022, 00:42:08 AM

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Public Transport Investment Must be Catalyst for SEQ Planning About Face

5th April 2022

RAIL Back On Track has welcomed the investment in the rail extension to Maroochydore and the Logan - Gold Coast Faster rail project as they will better connect the Gold and Sunshine Coasts to Brisbane,  support the shift to net zero emissions and aid the movement of people across SEQ for the 2032 Olympics.

Whilst the investment in these big-ticket projects and other key public transport projects such as the Gold Coast Light Rail is key to creating a net zero region they are only the catalyst for changes required in the overall planning of region and its transport network.

RAIL Back On Track has highlighted for almost two decades that continuing to create a car-dependent region just creates more traffic, pollution, frustration and noise. If we look around there is more congestion today than ever with little to no change in the 80% of overall trips being by motor vehicle.  This a world away from leading practice which sees upwards of 60% of trips by active and public transport - like Vancouver, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan, Brussels - to name a few.  What makes these cities similar is that they are multi-modal cities unlike SEQ which is car-dependent.

When even the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is calling for change and highlights three dynamics at the source of car-dependency and high emissions: induced demand, urban sprawl and the erosion of active and shared transport modes, it's time to sit up, take notice and change the way we are planning and building our cities and towns. 

Engineers Australia also recognises the need to change highlighting "Increasing capacity for urban road networks induces demand and is a major reason for increased traffic on the network..." and "There is little evidence to demonstrate increasing road capacity to reduce traffic congestion improves economic performance in cities."

Almost 10 years ago leading city planners noted that "Successful multi-modal cities aren't just about what your city starts doing — i.e., funding transit — it's what you stop doing — i.e., widening roads."

Whilst this change may sound daunting it is a change that will create a cleaner, quieter, healthier, accessible, more affordable, vibrant, safer region with an even stronger local economy than today.  The multi-modal cities above made their decision to change in the 1970's.  South East Queensland MUST make the decision today.

RAIL Back On Track calls on the SEQ Council of Mayors, the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning plus the Planning Institute of Australia to urgently outline and make the changes required to city and regional plans,  budgets and priorities to implement:

Robert Dow
RAIL Back On Track https://backontrack.org


The well-being lens applied to transport - OECD

Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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City Planning even gets a mention in IPPC Report. 


Quote"As much as 72% of the world's emissions in 2020 came from cities—and by the middle of the century, urban areas could triple in size. That's why the latest climate report from the IPCC, the UN's climate body, makes it clear that we need to build cities differently, as part of a long list of solutions that the world needs to quickly deploy to have a chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

"If you want to resolve the climate crisis, you need to resolve cities," says Rogier van den Berg, acting global director for the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities at the nonprofit World Resources Institute. "It's simple."

Municipal leaders need to quickly enact a whole scale of changes, from retrofitting buildings to handling urban waste differently. But one critical piece is changing how people get around. If cities are redesigned to be more compact—the concept of the 15-minute city, where it's easy to walk or bike to work and stores, and public transportation is also easily accessible—the report says that it could help cut urban emissions by around 25%.

Shifting to electric vehicles "is a huge opportunity," Van den Berg says, but "you can't cover it all with electric mobility. You also need to think about biking, walkability, proximity, and density of services." When the urban design of a city changes, so do the people living there. Copenhagen wasn't always dominated by bikes; now two-thirds of residents bike to work or school. After Paris started aggressively redesigning city streets, it now looks more like Copenhagen.

Making the shift in more car-centric cities in the U.S. is more challenging, though even cycling paradises like Amsterdam used to have a bigger car culture. New, fast-growing cities in Africa and Southeast Asia also need support to avoid sprawl and what the IPCC report calls "carbon lock-in"—designs that make it hard to cut emissions. More financing is needed at the right time so cities can grow in the right way, Van den Berg says. "Transport-related emissions in developing regions of the world have increased more rapidly than in Europe and in North America," he says. "And that's a trend that is likely to continue in coming decades. That means that we should not only look at what are the big emitters right now, but what are the emitters of the future."

Cities can also do more to help capture carbon by adding more green spaces, the report says, from green roofs to urban forests. Already, city trees store around 7.4 billion tons of carbon, and sequester around 270 million tons of carbon each year. Adding nature back into cities also helps make cities more resilient in the face of extreme heat, floods, and other climate impacts.

Urban emissions are growing now, and by the middle of the century, if cities don't make much effort, could grow to as much as 40 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. But with ambitious action, that could drop down to 3 billion tons of emissions. The scale of cities is an advantage. "The growing concentration of people and activities is an opportunity to increase resource efficiency and to decarbonize at scale," Van den Berg says. "It means that your big problem is your big opportunity."

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