Did you know that mode shift does more to fight climate change than EV? This diagram from Bloomberg illustrates just how many barrels of oil internationally have been saved through EV (four wheeler) vs eBike and moped uptake (two and three wheeler):
Walking can do even more. In Australia, the Climate Council’s report “Shifting Gear” highlights the need for this transition in Australia, quantifying the target we must reach to hit Net Zero at just 20 – 36% car mode share. In Sydney this figure is currently closer to 70% in most areas, particularly the greenfield areas west of Parramatta. In fact, the Climate Council underestimates the capacity of walking as a mode which indexes at 30% or more trips in many accessible areas (they rely on mode shift to public transport which is notoriously more expensive to deliver). They may also overestimate EV uptake which according to CSIRO modelling for AEMO requires more aggressive action by government and consumers just to hit the EV uptake target, with an undershoot of up to 30% less EV sales than projected otherwise.
One of the things government could do is to put more walkable destinations like local centres offering fresh food closer to people’s homes (ie no more than 1km apart), and plan for more schools with smaller catchments in those local centres, rather than larger student populations, on the fringe of new development. Studies by Vivendi for TfNSW have found that less detached housing (as low as 30%) is required, and density above 35dw/h also correlates with more walking. These targets could be set for new development now.
The greatest move that we could do, of course, is to fund active transport. UNEP recommends 20% funding, and yet NSW spends less than 1%. You get what you pay for.
This is why WalkSydney has joined the Partnership for Active Travel and Health (PATH) in asking for priority investment in walking and cycling infrastructure at COP28:
Read the signed letter here: https://pathforwalkingcycling.com/cop28/