Shifting gears on car-dependency

Perth's riding to work rates are the lowest in the country, but other cities show how change can come quickly with smart infrastructure investments and active travel encouragement.
The Causeway Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridges will significantly improve access to the city from Victoria Park
Perth is Australia’s most car-dependent city, with only 4% riding or walking to work, according to researchers.
They found big cities with urban sprawls like Perth’s had much greater car dependency.
Perth ranked 518th of 794 assessed cities for car dependence around the world; Canberra was the least car-dependent Australian city, ranking 445th.
People on higher incomes were also more likely to leave the tredly in the garage and drive to work, researchers Rafael Prieto-Curiel and Juan Ospina found, writing in Environment International
“…urban mobility dominated by oversized, single-occupant vehicles is out of sync with our evolving needs,” they wrote, noting cities like Paris and Barcelona were demonstrating how vehicle-dependence could be shifted – and quickly.
More and better shared paths, congestion zones and charges, de-paving roads, restricting car parking and investing in urban green spaces were just some of the methods used by these and other cities to achieve change.
The recent WA Budget revealed some $200m+ is earmarked for WA’s shared path network over the next four years, with long term expansion blueprints currently less than 50% fulfilled.
“Build a city for cars and that’s what people will use,” said WestCycle. “It’s time to complete the bike network so people in Perth have a range of transport options that benefit their health, their wallets and the environment in which they live and work.”
Find out more about WestCycle’s Active Transport Vision here.
Check out some global visualisations of the research data here
WA Today covered the research here.
Without active transport investment, Perth's car dependence could spur a congestion catastrophe as our population grows

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Tim Roach

Elected Director | Off Road

Tim has been in senior leadership and strategic development roles for more than twenty years. He is currently Director of Executive Education in the School of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University and is a past Assistant Commissioner and General Manager in the public service. He is an Accountant (FCPA) and sits on the Divisional Council of CPA Australia.

Tim has been involved in racing mountain bikes, BMX and triathlon for many years, both as a father of two children who race and as a past and current bike racer. Tim is the current over-50 State Champion in downhill mountain biking. He is also a very regular and enthusiastic transport cyclist; frequently seen in a suit and tie riding to meetings in the city on a mountain bike.

Denise Sullivan

Chair | Governance & Risk Committee

Denise Sullivan has a career spanning over twenty years in senior management and executive roles in the state public and not-for-profit health sectors.

In her usual role of Director Chronic Disease Prevention with the Western Australian Department of Health, she leads the development of state chronic disease and injury prevention policy and planning frameworks and contributes to the shaping of the national preventive health policy agenda.

Her professional interests cover many aspects of chronic disease and injury prevention encompassing health communications, health promotion and research, public policy on health and workforce planning and development.

She has a particular interest in furthering collaborations with other sectors with a mutual interest in promoting a more active and healthier WA community, and creating and sustaining environments that support this. Denise is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Leadership WA Signature Program, and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian College of Health Service Managers.

Denise is a recreational cyclist and recent convert to mountain biking (although trainer wheels still on!).