This week the Minister of Transport, Annette King announced that the NZ Transport Strategy’s (NZTS) combined target for walking and cycling is 30% of all trips in urban areas by 2040, almost double the present figure. To help meet this target, the budget for walking and cycling will more than double over the next ten years.
‘The updated NZTS indicates a real culture shift’, says Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) spokesperson Stephen McKernon. ‘It recognises that,
- cycling, walking and public transport are keys to improving transport reliability
- improving access to stations by cycling and walking are critical to encouraging public transport usage
- investing in cycling and walking is real value for money, as it makes much better use of space and resources.’
But CAN is questioning the government’s targets and timetable for change.
‘The government needs to increase walking and cycling much faster than at present if it is to achieve a more sustainable transport system within decades,’ says McKernon. ‘Baby steps are simply not enough.’
‘While the NZTS recognises the case for walking and cycling, targets and funding for these modes do not support the desired growth towards sustainable transport.’
‘At present walking and cycling take place with minimal support. In fact, the dedicated budget for walking and cycling is about 1% of the total. Doubling the budget will have a negligible effect on the growth of these modes, as the budget will actually still be about 1% of the total. These numbers don’t stack up against the stated targets. At this rate walking and cycling will only just be keeping pace, not growing.’
‘We estimate the budget needs to increase by a factor of five to even begin to achieve NZTS targets. Increasing walking and cycling requires a range of measures to make them both appealing and safe, especially for commuters. These include promotion of walking and cycling, motorist education, cyclist training, improving paths and roads for walkers and cyclists, reduced road speeds, and ways of ensuring that all roading projects fully support walking and cycling. It takes a network of actions to achieve change.’
CAN has developed a 9-Point Plan outlining immediate steps towards meeting NZTS targets – see http://can.org.nz/, top left of Home page under ‘Features’.
There are 1.3 million cyclists in New Zealand. These cyclists alone account for about 5% of all kilometres travelled per year. As noted, dedicated funding for cycling and walking (combined) is about 1% of the total, and will remain so for at least a decade.