Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Behaviour change

The next PBT seminar is on behaviour change. This article from the New York Times presents an interesting American perspective on the European trend to bring about mode shift through making driving a car too inconvenient or too costly.

some fantastic quotes and factoids from the article:

  • 'Our goal is to reconquer public space for pedestrians, not to make it easy for drivers'

  • 91% of delegates tot the Swiss parliament catch the tram to work.

  • 70% of Sihl City shopping mall in Zurich get there by public transport because it only has a sixth of the parking that an American shopping mall would have.

  • Pedestrianised streets in central Zurich saw a 30% to 40% increase in pedestrian traffic when cars were banned.

  • 'When I'm in other cities (outside Zurich) I always feel like I'm always waiting to cross a street. I can't get used to the idea that I am worth less than a car.'

Now compare it to a recent article in The Age where some retailers are bemoaning the impending closure of Swanston Street to traffic - part of the redevelopment of the street. Melbourne City Council are following the lead of European cities but are the retailers (and the media) willing to throw their weight behind 'reconquering public space for pedestrians'.

I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this brave and visionary political leadership.

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