Transport is a significant cost for most Tasmanians and costs are projected to increase along with increasing oil prices. Transport is the largest source of carbon emissions in Tasmania. So, personal transport is an area where our daily habits and choices have a big impact. It may not be realistic to get rid of your car entirely, but we can all reduce our dependence on cars quite easily by carpooling, walking, cycling and taking public transport. What's more, these actions save you money, reduce the hassles of traffic and parking, and improve your health!
A huge proportion of working Tasmanians drive to work in a typical day and they're generally in a car all by themselves! This not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, it also means that we need taxes spent on roads to cater for peak load traffic and a larger proportion of our urban environment allocated for parking.
Tasmanians are developing innovative solutions for traveling better. Cool Pool Tas connects people who are travelling in the same direction with one another so that they can carpool. The Hobart Bike Kitchen takes old and unwanted bikes of all persuasions and then helps people to rebuild and maintain them. There are electric bikes, which help eliminate the barrier of tackling Tassie's hills and a huge selection of beautiful peddlies. Things are also happening at a Government level in this area to make cities more people friendly, such as Metro Park & Ride services and incentives for people to walk to work.
1. Reduce your car use for short trips. The majority of car trips made in Australia are for short trips of up to 3 kilometres. Choose to walk or cycle instead.
2. Slow down. Driving at 90 km/h rather than 110 km/h can save 25% on fuel.
3. Drive smoothly. Generally, fuel economy is maximised when acceleration and braking are minimised. So a fuel-efficient strategy is to anticipate what is happening ahead, and drive in such a way so as to minimise acceleration and braking, and maximise coasting time. Don't push the car uphill. Avoid starting and stopping in traffic and try to keep your speed steady.
4. Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle. Obviously cycling, walking or taking public transport are better options, but when you have to drive choose a small, fuel-efficient vehicle. The Federal Government's Green Vehicle Guide (www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au) is an excellent resource to determine the fuel efficiency of both new and used vehicles.
5. Carpool. Four people travelling in one vehicle rather than four individual vehicles will reduce fuel use by 75% and also significantly improve traffic flow. Cool Pool Tas allows you to connect with others in your area to organise regular carpooling or find someone travelling longer distances that you can ride share with.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Transport contributes more than one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions in Tasmania – almost 2 million tonnes a year to the atmosphere. Each year car size increases and the number of car trips increases
- The average household makes close to 10 car trips per day and this figure is steadily climbing. 40% of all journeys by car are 5 kilometres or less and could quite easily be replaced by walking or cycling. If you reduce the number of car trips even by a third, you will save car fuel and maintenance costs and at the same time reduce environmental pollution.
- Driving a large 4-wheel drive vehicle instead of an energy efficient car will waste more energy (in terms of greenhouse gas emissions) than leaving a fridge door open for 3 years, leaving a bathroom light burning for 15 years or leaving a colour TV on for 10 years.
- Getting out of your car and walking or cycling daily will easily provide most of us with the 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity that's recommended to deliver significant health benefits such as lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and improving personal wellbeing. Currently, 69% of Tasmanians are not sufficiently active and 48% of Tasmanians are considered overweight or obese (Source: Health Indicators Tasmania 2008).
- Almost a quarter of a billion dollars is budgeted by the Tasmanian government to be spent on roads in 2010-11; nearly as much as on infrastructure for health, housing, tourism, recreation and culture combined. Imagine what Tasmania could do if we reduced our dependence on road transport.