Letter to parliament (26-04-2007)

Dear Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues and Minister of Transport, Two important factors influencing the amount of greenhouse gases produced in a region are: (1) The total amount of travel done; and (2) The modal split (that is the relative number of journeys made using each of the different types of transport - bike/car/etc.). (Hickman and Watt, 2004; Anable et al 2005). Therefore, it is surprising to see that in the document "Government initiatives with climate change benefits" one of the initiatives listed is reducing motorway congestion by increasing funding for motorway construction (Ministry for the Environment, 2006). This strategy actually increases climate-warming gas production, because: (1) It tends to increase the total amount of travel as land is used, urban sprawl is created, and distances between homes and work and recreation increase (Kenworthy and Laube, 1999); and (2) It initially appears to make car-driving quicker and cheaper. This means that more people drive cars more often. The apparent gains from building new roads are soon swallowed up by newly-induced additional traffic (Fulton et al, 2005; Goodwin, 1996; Hansen and Huang, 1997; Johnston and Ceerla, 1996; Marshall, 2000; Department of Transport, 1994; Noland, 2001; Noland and Cowart, 2000; Purnell et al, 1999). (3) It also shifts the modal split in favour of the highly polluting mode, to the detriment of the low- and non-polluting modes (Maddox, 2001; Litman, 2005; Kenworthy and Laube, 2001). Any benefits that biofuels may have in terms of emissions reduction would apply at least as much to public transport as to private vehicles. The introduction of biofuels does not negate the importance of modal split (Climate Defence Network, 2006). We believe that the billions of dollars which has recently been set aside for building new roads – and thus encouraging the use of cars and further destabilizing our climate – would go a lot further, and be more usefully spent:

  • Creating genuinely human-friendly infrastructure that actively encourages walking and cycling (Sloman, 2006; Fitzroy and Smith, 1998);
  • Implementing “soft” solutions – a diverse range of tiny local investments that have a big effect on people’s transport choices – such as, for example, the pro-active provision of information, support and incentives for using public transport (Sloman, 2006; Way to go, 2004; Brög et al, 2002); and
  • Building some truly "world-class" public transport systems (Cairns et al 2004; Transport for London, 2003; Hickman and Watt, 2004; ARTA et al, 2007; Litman, 2005; Victoria Transport and Planning Institute, 2007).

Thank you for giving your attention to this important issue. Yours faithfully

Carrick Lewis for
Action for the Environment
PO Box 10-030, Wellington

Tim Jones for
Climate Defence Network
C/- PO Box 11-057, Wellington

Mike Ennis for
Friends of the Earth (NZ)
147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auck.

Vanessa Atkinson for
Greenpeace
Private Bag 92-507, Auckland

Roland Sapsford for
Option 3
PO Box 11-708, Wellington

Tim Jones for the
Sustainable Energy Forum
PO Box 11-152, Wellington

Melanie Hutton for
WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)
PO Box 6237, Wellington

Robert Ibell for
Cycle Advocates Network
PO Box 6491, Auckland

Cath Wallace for
ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ)
PO Box 11-057, Wellington

Rachel Meadowcroft for
GeckoVictoria University Student Group
C/- VUWSA, PO Box 600, Wellington

Liz Mikkelsen for
Kapiti Cycling Incorporated
5 Kowhai Street, Otaki

Wayne Butson for the
Rail and Maritime Transport Workers Union
PO Box 1103, Wellington

Brent Efford for
Transport 2000+
PO Box 2626, Wellington

References
Jillian Anable et al, 2005. "Smarter Choices and Carbon Emissions" research study undertaken for the Department for Transport, mainly completed by September 2005. The authors were Dr Jillian Anable, The Centre for Transport Policy, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; Dr Sally Cairns, Transport Studies, University College London and Sustainable Communities, Transport Research Laboratory; Dr Lynn Sloman, Transport for Quality of Life; Alistair Kirkbride, Eco-Logica; Carey Newson, Transport for Quality of Life; and Prof Phil Goodwin, The Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England. They examined the potential to reduce carbon emissions from car traffic via a range of [very low cost] local transport initiatives, which are increasingly being known as "smarter choices". Main findings available at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmenvaud/981/981we04.htm ARTA et al, 2007. Public transport patronage has increased significantly in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch recently – showing what can happen when the factors in favour of its use outweigh those against (reports of increases available for example c/- Auckland Regional Transport Authority, at arta.co.nz -- and also at -- maxx.co.nz, mfe.govt.nz, ew.govt.nz, ccc.govt.nz, nscc.govt.nz, gw.govt.nz). Werner Brög, Erhard Erl and Helen Grey-Smith, 2002. ‘The Perth experience: reducing the use of cars – the homeopathic way’, Paper presented to seminar, Greater London Assembly, ‘Reducing traffic congestion in London: policy options other than road pricing’. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Sally Cairns, Lynn Sloman, Carey Newson, Jillian Anable, Alistair Kirkbride, and Phil Goodwin, 2004. ‘Smarter Choices: changing the way we travel, final report’, Commissioned by the Department for Transport, from University College London, Transport for Quality of Life, Robert Gordon University and Eco-Logica. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Climate Defence Network, 2006. Submission on “Biofuels Sales Obligation: A Discussion Paper on Proposed Policy” (Ministry of Transport, September 2006). Available at www.climatedefence.org.nz/docs/Biofuels_sales_obligtn_subm.doc Department of Transport (UK), 1994. Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, Department of Transport (UK). Trunk Roads and Generation of Traffic. HMSO, London. Felix Fitzroy and Ian Smith, 1998. ‘Public transport demand in Freiburg: why did patronage double in a decade?’ Transport Policy, Volume 5, pp. 163-173. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Lewis Fulton, Daniel Meszler, Robert Noland and John Thomas, 2005. "A Statistical Analysis of Induced Travel Effects in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region,". Journal of Transportation and Statistics, Volume 3 Number 1. Phil Goodwin, 1996. "Empirical Evidence on Induced Traffic," Transportation, V23, N1, 35-54. Mark Hansen and Yuanlin Huang, 1997. "Road Supply and Traffic in California Urban Areas," Transportation Research A, Vol 31, No.3.pp.205-218. Richard Hickman and Donald Watt, 2004. Report of public local inquiry into objections, Vol. 1: main report, M74 special road (Fullarton Road to west of Kingston Bridge) orders. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Robert Johnston and Raju Ceerla, 1996. "The Effects of New High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on Travel and Emissions," Transportation Research, Vol. 30A, No. 1, 35-50. Jeffrey Kenworthy and Felix Laube, 1999. ‘Patterns of automobile dependence in cities: an international overview of key physical and economic dimensions with some implications for urban policy’, Transportation Research Part A Volume 33, pp. 691-723. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Jeffrey Kenworthy and Felix Laube, 2001. The Millennium Cities Database for Sustainable Transport. International Union (Association) of Public Transport, Brussels, Belgium and ISTP, Perth, Western Australia (CD-ROM publication). Todd Litman, 2005 (April). ‘Rail Transit in America – A Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits’ from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, produced with support from the American Public Transport Association. Available on-line. Heath Maddox, 2001. ‘Another look at Germany’s bicycle boom: implications for local transportation policy and planning strategy in the USA’, in World Transportation Policy and Practice, Volume 7, number 3, pp.44-48. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Norman Marshall, 2000. "Evidence of Induced Demand in the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Roadway Congestion Study Data Set," presented at Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. Jan. 2000. Ministry for the Environment, 2006. Climate change website, on the “Policies and initiatives” page, under the heading of Transport Initiatives: (website checked March 2007) www.climatechange.govt.nz/policy-initiatives/government-initiatives.html Robert Noland, 2001. "Relationships Between Highway Capacity and Induced Vehicle Travel," in Transportation Research A, Policy and Practice, Volume 35, Number 1, pp. 47-72. Robert Noland and William Cowart, 2000. "Analysis of Metropolitan Highway Capacity and the Growth in Vehicle Miles of Travel," presented to the annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, 2000. Steve Purnell, Jillian Beardwood and John Elliot, 1999. ‘The Effects of Strategic Network Changes on Traffic’ in World Transport Policy and Practice 5(2), pp.28-48. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Lynn Sloman, 2006. “Car Sick – Solutions for our car-addicted culture”. Green Books, Devon, UK. Transport for London, 2003. ‘The case for investing in London’s buses: presenting the results of the London Buses strategic review’, Transport for London. Cited in Sloman, 2006. Victoria Transport and Planning Institute, 2007. Transportation Demand Management Encyclopedia. Huge online resource of strategies for emission-lowering transport strategies. Available at: www.vtpi.org/tdm/ Way to Go, 2004. A coalition of 25 environment, transport and social justice organisations ‘Paying for better transport: costing the Way to Go manifesto’, Transport 2000 and Friends of the Earth. Cited in Sloman, 2006.