Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3858 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

One city that has given the program a thoroughgoing trial is Seattle in the United States. The City of Seattle has gathered a number of initiatives under the Way to Go umbrella, each of them intended to improve livability by reducing automobile usage for non-work trips and increasing the use of bussing, biking, walking, trip consolidation and car pooling. Seattle research, which would mirror that of Canberra, has shown that 75 per cent or more of all car trips, including 50 per cent during peak hours, are for personal and family purposes rather than travelling to or from work.

One pilot program conducted in Seattle saw 23 Seattle families exploring the possibilities of getting along without their extra car for six weeks. The results were very impressive indeed. At least four of the families liked it so much that they are selling their second car. Some families who did not even participate in the program have also been convinced. After using the city's website to determine the cost of owning their car, they sold their extra car without even participating in the program. The Mayor of Seattle, Paul Schell, was delighted and he said in a media statement:

We can all take small steps to improve our transportation systems ... These families have proven that they can make choices about how to get around and enjoy spending less time in our cars.

All the families in the study saved money, and most saved about $US64 a week, which is an impressive amount. They all found that they could get around on transit, walking, bicycling and using taxis when needed, for about $US21 a week, far less than the $US85 cost on average for a second car.

According to Seattle city authorities, most families indicated that they would continue to take the bus or ride or take their bike and think about whether they would drive to where they wanted to go. Trying different ways of getting around and more carefully planning, the 23 families made nearly 200 fewer car trips per week during the study. The 200 fewer car trips per week equalled about 2,050 kilometres and a significant cut in air-polluting emissions.

Driving less by just these 23 families meant that 2,800 kilograms less carbon dioxide was pumped into the atmosphere. If that carbon dioxide were compressed into elemental carbon such as charcoal, it would fill more than 80 ten-kilogram bags. If it was kept in the air, that would be roughly equal to three 6-lane swimming pools in volume.

Other pollutants that did not end up in the atmosphere as a result of this brief experiment included 90 kilos of carbon monoxide, 18 kilos of nitrogen oxide and more than six kilos of unburnt hydrocarbons. Oxides of nitrogen and unburnt hydrocarbons are the two major components of smog, which for Seattle, if not always for Canberra, is a serious problem.

I would hope not only that the trial of Way to Go is extended but that the government will be encouraged to look at the Seattle trial with a view to doing the same thing here. What we need above all is to change the mindset. Encouraging people to drive less can improve neighbourhood traffic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .