Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3450..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
TravelSmart Belconnen will provide householders with personalised information and support to help them change their travel habits, encouraging them to explore various travel alternatives to the car, such as cycling, walking or public transport, or to make smart choices such as combining several trips into one journey.
Participation in TravelSmart can save householders time and money. It obviously helps promote exercise; reduce health problems such as stress, obesity, heart disease and depression; reduce traffic problems; and improve the environment. To date more than 3,000 households in the project area have been invited to participate in the project and about 45 per cent of those have agreed to participate. That is an excellent take-up rate. The project is expected to reach all 11,000 households in the Belconnen area, including the town centre and the seven other suburbs, by the end of the year.
These projects work. Similar TravelSmart projects have been implemented in several Australian cities and have seen a shift of between five and 14 per cent from private car usage to sustainable modes of travel. This is the first time we have done it on such a scale here in Canberra, and we certainly hope to match or outdo the shift we have seen in other jurisdictions.
MS PORTER: Minister, what other TravelSmart projects have been undertaken in the ACT?
MR CORBELL: This is not the first TravelSmart project that has been put in place in the ACT, although the Belconnen project is the single largest. To draw members' attention to some others, there was a workplaces pilot which targeted employees in different government office buildings. That resulted in travel option plans being developed which employees in a workplace can use to change their travel behaviour. Plans were developed for people in the ACT Planning and Land Authority itself, approximately 370 staff; the Department of Urban Services, as it then was, approximately 500 staff; and the Department of Defence at its Russell Offices, approximately 6,800 staff.
In addition, a TravelSmart schools and commuter project was undertaken. It is an ongoing project and is an expansion of the existing walking school bus program being conducted by the YWCA. The commuter element of this project targets 20 large workplaces. A series of three information sessions will be held in each of these workplaces to inform and support employees to utilise healthier, more sustainable modes of travel. Other TravelSmart projects that have been conducted in the past are the households on the move and the way to go programs.
We do undertake evaluation of these projects. The evaluation that was conducted on the households on the move project found, amongst other things, that, even with a very small sample of households, statistically significant differences were able to be detected between some aspects of travel for the target and control households in the projects. That really does hold considerable promise when we look at the larger samples that will be used for full-scale projects such as the Belconnen one.
At the end of the day, these are practical and progressive measures that the ACT government is putting in place to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.