A major shift in emphasis from our present car-dominated society is needed, if transport in the next century is to enhance the quality of life for the people of Perth.
This is the main thrust of a major report, `People, Plans and Prosperity - Transporting Perth into the 21st Century', Transport Minister Pam Beggs released today.
"The fundamental aim of transport is to enhance the quality of life for people by providing access to opportunities such as employment, education, health services, shops and other services at the lowest possible economic, social and environmental cost," Mrs Beggs said.
"21st Century Perth will be a place of vitality and well-being with an equitable sharing of spaces for living, work and leisure. These spaces will be close enough to be reached easily and safely by all members of the community.
"The future of Perth will be formed less by the grand edicts of planners or politicians than by the multitude of decisions made by people as individuals and as members of organisations.
"The release of this latest report on metropolitan transport will help public discussion on crucial transport issues which are so important to future generations.
"But there is a need to re-organise our 'mental garage' so that in considering travel choices, we ask ourselves questions such as: `Could I walk, cycle or use public transport to where I want to go?
`Do I really need to go to that place or is there an alternative destination that would offer these choices?'
Mrs Beggs said the report proposed transport strategies for the year 2020, when half the estimated population of two million people would be living in areas that were yet to be developed.
"Changes of this magnitude provide opportunities because we can influence the shape of a major part of the future city and constraints because rapid growth limits the extent to which growth can be accommodated within the existing city," the report says.
It was prepared by a Department of Transport-led committee representing public and private sector interests in the future of Perth.
Mrs Beggs said the exercise was special in Australia in that many diverse interests could agree on significant changes of strategic direction for transport in Perth.
The report says that without change, Perth will experience high levels of congestion, pressure for more roads in heavily-developed areas, high concentrations of exhaust emissions and reduced accessibility for people without access to a car.
It says transport can improve metropolitan lifestyles by improving the ability to make effective choices, integrating land use and transport objectives, providing more efficient transport and minimising the external impacts of transport.
It lists a number of key actions to achieve these goals.
· subdivisions be based first on walking and cycling access and be subject to a transport impacts assessment;
· a requirement that developers contribute to community and transport facilities as they now do for roads;
· end-of-trip facilities including parking, change rooms and showers be provided for cyclists;
· fixed charges on car ownership be replaced with charges that vary with the amount of use as a means of increasing awareness of the real cost of car travel;
· alternatives to travel, such as telecommuting which allows people to work from home, to be trialled.
The strategies incorporate reaction from the public to a discussion paper Mrs Beggs released two years ago.
Copies of `People, Plans and Posterity - Transporting Perth into the 21st Century' will be available through the Department of Transport, Stirling Highway, Nedlands.