Travel competence: A requirement for transport sustainability

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ATRF 2010: 33rd Australasian Transport Research Forum, 2010
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Widespread literacy was necessary to produce the consumer society we have today. Widespread travel competency will be necessary to produce the sustainable society we want tomorrow. Road vehicles produced 87% of Australian transport emissions in 2007: that is, 68.5 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent. Most of that came from private motor vehicles. In an environmentally sustainable society, that figure will have to come down. The private motor vehicle is here to stay. It is the most appropriate mode for some trips, but not necessarily all those for which it is currently used. Research shows that motorists who have their erroneous expectations of public transport corrected are more likely to use it thereafter, than those who do not. This suggests that to maximize the use of the more environmentally friendly modes, motorists need up to date knowledge and experience of them. Programmes such as TravelSmart encourage people to expand their experience of the non-car modes but they are designed to correct the overuse of cars rather than prevent it. I propose the phrase "travel competence" to describe the ability to make informed choices amongst all the available modes and thus discourage excessive use of the car in the first place.
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