The Daily Telegraph – Saturday 5 February 2005

Walking sets the pace in getting around



WALKING is back in fashion for adults and we're going “off the buses”.


But more mums are giving their children chauffeur-driven rides to school.


Those are some results of a major new transport report which examined changing travel trends.


The Household Travel Survey report, compiled by the NSW Planning Department, examines trips taken by 8500 Sydney residents between 1999-2002 to give a snapshot of how we're getting around.


And one of the big conclusions is that the numbers of people either walking to work, or walking for fun, is growing.


In the past two years of the survey, between 2001-02, the number of “walk only” trips taken by Sydneysiders rose an incredible 3.6 per cent -- which outstripped growth in vehicle, train or bus travel.


On weekdays, there was a 2.4 per cent growth in walking trips during the same period, slightly more than vehicle travel growth of 2.3 per cent but still more than bus and train travel.


It doesn't surprise Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby, who says the results show walking is cool again and a great way to get fit.


“You've only got to a do small amount of walking to feel the difference,” he said.


On weekdays, social and recreational travel is booming, with this rising by 7.4 per cent in 2001-02.


“... recreational travel, such as going for a drive, window shopping, jogging or walking the dog, had the fastest rate of growth,” the report says. Meanwhile, bus travel has taken a dive, with the sector's share of total travel trips falling from 6.2 per cent in 1999 to 5.6 per cent in 2002 on weekdays.


Parents are now far more likely to drive their children to school, than send them on public transport.


In 1999, 48 per cent of education journeys were by car but this is now up to 53 per cent.

“There has been a notable increase in the share of education trips by car,” the report says.


“Public school students are no longer required to attend the school for which the home address is in the feeder area.” A higher number of working women driving their children to school also influenced figures.


Column:  Opinion / Op Ed


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