Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Towards a Bicycle Infrastructure Plan for Metropolitan Melbourne

Nicholas Low


Metropolitan Melbourne needs a fully separated bicycle infrastructure, and a new approach to bicycle infrastructure planning. There are four reasons for this:
1.Greatly increasing bicycle use is the quickest and surest way of reducing greenhouse emissions from urban transport.
2.A big increase in bicycle use will substantially reduce traffic congestion on the roads.
3.Separating bicycle paths provides the safety cyclists need. People will not get back on their bikes in large numbers until they feel safe from death and injury from motor vehicle collisions.
4.Increasing bicycle use for routine trips will improve health and reduce the incidence of obesity in the population.
Bicycle use and climate change mitigation

An effective plan to reduce greenhouse emissions from urban transport in Victoria would seek a 30% improvement in greenhouse performance in five areas: reducing travel by 30%, shifting 30% of necessary journeys to walking and bicycle, improving vehicle occupancy by 30% by increasing public transport use, improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles by 30% and shifting 30% of energy for transport to renewable fuels. These measures in combination would bring about an 83% reduction in greenhouse emissions from urban transport.
This percentage reduction is necessary if a ‘contract and converge’ strategy is to be commenced that recognizes that emissions from developing nations such as China and India are going to increase. ‘Contract and converge’ assumes that every person has an equal right to use the atmosphere as a ‘sink’ for CO2, and Australians do not have a right to a larger share of the atmospheric sink than, for instance, Chinese or Indians. The aim is to reduce or ‘contract’ CO2 pollution to a sustainable level worldwide, and ‘converge’, eventually after a period of adaptation, on a single level of per capital allocation for every person in the world. The ‘contract and converge’ strategy appears to be the only one likely to be acceptable to developing nations in a post-Kyoto agreement.
Even if a ‘contract and converge’ strategy does not become the basis of a post-Kyoto global pact, there is no compulsion on the developing world to restrict emissions to sustainable level. Therefore, practical mitigation of climate change depends on countries like Australia reducing emissions to the maximum degree possible to compensate for the inevitable increase from the developing world.
The 305 reduction strategy is the most practical and realistic way of reducing emissions from transport. Shifting all feasible journeys (say those under 5 kms in length) to walking or cycling is a cheap and easy way of making a large and rapid dent in emission levels. The first step must be to provide an extensive and safe bicycle infrastructure for use by all Melbournians.

Cycling in Melbourne, image by gbannerman
Cycling in Melbourne, Australia, photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen

more bicycle planning-related posts:

Sustainable Transport Ideas: Cycling in Amsterdam

Cycling to Sustainability in Amsterdam

Bike Parking: a Key Part of the Bicycle Planning Amenities

1 comment:

  1. It is easy to ride in the road... I also hate the disorganisation of the Bicycle Victoria site. Everything is all over the place.
    Bikes Melbourne