Walking, cycling and public transport seminars often focus on the importance of integrated polices, good street design, providing the right infrastructure in the right places for the right people and travel behaviour change interventions.
Without a doubt, everyone is singing from the same song sheet when it comes to transport. We all know what we need to do.
If we all know what we need to do, then why aren’t we doing it?
An expert panel at a recent seminar suggested that some of the reasons why we’re not doing what we know we need to do include: current laws, multiple agencies with competing priorities, diverse leadership (for example, 31 municipalities form the Greater Melbourne area) and lobbying from special interest groups such as road builders.
Barack Obama says “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.”
So what can we just do right now?
Professional services firm KPMG have created two scenarios for an autonomous vehicles future. The first is focussed on privately owned autonomous vehicles. This scenario would lead to more demand for road infrastructure and exacerbate congestion. By contrast, the second scenario focusses on the introduction of autonomous ride-sourcing which has the potential to ease the burden of congestion in our cities and make transport systems more productive.
Developing scenarios invites others to help decide how to best respond.
Explain the consequences
Parents know that rather than telling your child “no” all the time, a smarter tactic is to make him/her aware of the potential consequences of their actions. That way, our children learn to make good choices when we’re not around to raise the alarm.
In South East Queensland we understand that most families desire or ‘value’ the prospect of buying in a large modern detached home with a swimming pool, media room and double garage. These people typically end up living far away from where they work to take advantage of cheaper house prices and smaller mortgage repayments. The consequences, however, are long commutes and hours stuck in traffic congestion.
Explaining the consequences invites discussion on how to make our cities great places to live, work and play.
Messages and campaigns about traffic congestion are often dictatorial, negative and confusing. No one likes being told what and what not to do. Let’s tackle difficult issues like congestion, inactivity and obesity in a fun, positive, encouraging and inspirational way. Let’s tell stories, not facts, in a humanistic way.
Communicating positively invites people to be inspired to change their behaviour rather than feeling blamed.
As we know what we need to do, but we’re just not doing it, then maybe it’s time to developing scenarios, explaining the consequences and communicating in a positive way.