TravelSmart Program

  • TravelSmart Program, train
  • TravelSmart Program, cyclist
  • The TravelSmart program encourages people to consider alternative modes of transport to the private vehicle.
    The TravelSmart program encourages people to consider alternative modes of transport to the private vehicle.
  • The intent of the TravelSmart program is to demonstrate the many forms of public transport that are available.
    The intent of the TravelSmart program is to demonstrate the many forms of public transport that are available.
  • A unique and convenient electronic system allows users to move between rail and bus options without having to use a different payment system.
    A unique and convenient electronic system allows users to move between rail and bus options without having to use a different payment system.
  • Organisations encourage staff to use public transport to go to and from work.
    Organisations encourage staff to use public transport to go to and from work.
  • TravelSmart Program, locknride
  • TravelSmart Program, locknride
  • A network of cycle paths are provided across the Perth metropolitan area.
    A network of cycle paths are provided across the Perth metropolitan area.
  • TravelSmart Program, locknride
Introduction

The use of public transport has been linked to improved long-term health outcomes. Significant benefits are derived from encouraging a mode shift away from private vehicle use. TravelSmart is a State Government initiative that promotes alternative forms of transport by providing information to households and individuals regarding their transport options. By overcoming information and infrastructure barriers, this initiative further supports the business community and other institutions, such as schools, hospitals, universities and local governments, to reduce reliance on cars for transport.

Description of project

The TravelSmart programs conducted in various local areas around Perth are designed to encourage not only the use of public transport, but also cycling and walking instead of using a car. The program’s ultimate aim is to reduce private vehicle use, resulting in many health benefits for the local community (a reduction in  greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise pollution and traffic congestion).

TravelSmart programs are typically initiated by local government and in many cases are partnered by other institutions such as businesses, schools and universities. Local governments provide seed funding to employ TravelSmart Officers to work across council portfolios and with the local community to promote active and public transport. The officers support a change in behaviour that becomes entrenched in the organisational culture of the council and the local community. This behaviour is then further promoted at partnering institutions by encouraging them to develop sustainable travel plans designed to influence the travel behaviour of the institution’s staff. The programs do not ask people to stop using their cars; rather it encourages people to consider their travel choices and to try alternatives for short periods.

The initiatives that make up a TravelSmart program are diverse and vary from area to area in order to best suit the needs of that area. Some of the initiatives include:

  • Addressing information barriers by localising and simplifying information to make it relevant to people’s needs
  • Providing motivation through dialogue and personalised communication
  • Assisting with system experience, particularly for new users of public transport or bicycles
  • Company travel plans
  • Small scale infrastructure such as bicycle parking, paths and end-of-trip facilities
  • Local Government bike plans
Project team
  • Department of Transport
  • Various Educational Institutions
  • Various Health and Community Services Institutions
  • Various Local Governments
  • Various Private Sector Companies
  • Various State Government Departments
Project cost

Variable, but the estimated cost of the eight combined TravelSmart programs over the ten years between 2001 and 2011 (also used for determining values) amounts to approximately $12 million.

Values

Encouraging the mode shift to other forms of public transport results in a number of health, economic, environmental, social and use benefits.

Health value
  • The TravelSmart programs generally result in a 10% reduction in car trips, with this reduction largely transferred to more walking, cycling and public transport trips. A combined data set for eight TravelSmart projects shows an increase in walking trips from 11% to 14% and an increase in bicycle trips from 2% to 3%, resulting in a more active and accordingly healthier community. The estimated dollar value of the health benefits over ten years amounts to around $1,500,000.
Economic value
  • The economic benefit of the TravelSmart program is the reduction in car trips, resulting in less traffic congestion, a reduction in accident costs and avoided road system capital expenditure. For the eight combined TravelSmart programs over ten years the dollar values for these benefits were estimated to be:
  • Congestion reduction: approximately $9,500,000
  • Accident costs reduction: approximately $1,500,000
  • Avoided road system capital expenditure: approximately $9,000,000
Environmental value
  • As is the case with health and economic value, the environmental value also relates to the reduction in vehicle trips and vehicle kilometres. These benefits include reduced pollution, with dollar value estimates for the eight TravelSmart programs over ten years as follows:
  • Air pollution reduction: approximately $900,000
  • Noise pollution reduction: approximately $300,000
  • Greenhouse gas emission reduction: approximately $300,000
Social value
  • In general, travelling by car is isolating and the least sociable form of transport. In addition, cars depersonalise communities by limiting social interaction. By reducing the number of vehicle trips, the TravelSmart programs begin to give the streets back to communities as less space is required for cars. This means more space can be used for shared paths, bicycle lanes and pedestrianised streets, all of which attracts more people into the streets. Less traffic on the community streets also makes those streets safer for children and typically sees an increase in initiatives such as the Walking School Bus for primary school children. Additionally more eyes on the street also means a reduction in security threats such as loitering.
  • Walking, cycling and public transport are all more conducive to social interaction than private vehicle use as they can be more group orientated. Whilst not easily quantifiable, TravelSmart programs certainly add social value in the form of closer, more interactive and safer communities.
Use value
  • Across Australia and other OECD countries the reduction of car and oil dependence is seen as a key policy objective for a multitude of reasons, slowing global climate change and reducing the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. TravelSmart is a successful way to reduce vehicle trips and vehicle kilometres travelled and presents an effective opportunity to achieve global and local imperatives.
References

Garnaut Climate Change Review, TravelSmart and LivingSmart Case Study – Western Australia, Case Study, 25 September 2008.


Government of Western Australia, TravelSmart – Active Transport Fact Sheets, accessed on 9 January 2013 from: http://www.beactive.wa.gov.au/index.php?id=1107


Government of Western Australia, TravelSmart and LivingSmart information, accessed on 9 January 2013 from: http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/activetransport/24605.asp

Marsden Jacob Associates, Evaluation of the TravelSmart Local Government and Workplace Programs, Final report, 27 July 2011.


 
Type of project
Programs
Scale of project
City Scale
Location
Urban