Here are some of the areas investment in active travel can help:
- Create jobs: active travel has been shown to be good for local economies, supporting improved property values, increasing sales, and creating places people want to go to. Investment in quality rail trails and active recreation facilities in regional centres creates active tourism jobs and brings income into regional centres where jobs are scarce. Derby in Tasmania is a great case-study. Research in Victoria from 2003 showed that for every day on rail trails in Victoria, visitors spent an average of $51 (or around $70 in 2018 taking inflation into account). So if a rail trail attracts just 100 users a weekend, it generates over $360,000 per annum for the local economy - that is at least 3 full time jobs.
- Keep Queensland's healthy: a very effective strategy to increase the physical activity of children and adults so that we address the obesity epidemic is to get them out of their cars and make active travel choices. This not only improves physical health, it also improves mental health - helping to address suicides. But to do this there is a need for supportive infrastructure - the benefit of which exceeds the costs.
- Protect the Great Barrier Reef: Active transport emits negligible levels of greenhouse gasses. The Great Barrier Reef can be protected if more people are walking and cycling instead of driving.
- Keeping communities safe: Over the last few days there has been much talk about safety in our cities due to the horrific murder of a young woman in Melbourne. I have not however seen much discussion on how the design and management of active travel infrastructure can contribute to community safety. Investing in quality active travel infrastructure can reduce the safety risks for everyone. The more people out and about on foot and bike, the less risk there is to users of the network.