Climate Council Survey Shows High Public Support for Active Transport

Sydney, NSW

A poll of more than 2,000 Australians released today reveals a significant majority believe government should invest more in active transport infrastructure.

The People and Transport National Poll 2022, commissioned by the Climate Council and conducted by YouGov, also showed eight in 10 respondents wanted to see more government investment in public transport. Seventy percent of those people indicated they are keen to see Australia’s entire bus fleet electrified and powered by renewables as soon as possible.

“Investing in public transport and infrastructure for walking and bike-riding is much more popular than governments may realise.”

In a statement announcing the survey results late last month, the Climate Council said Australians cycling or walking to work are saving close to $12,000 annually, compared with commuting exclusively by car.

People using public transport can save more than $8,000 a year.

“Investing in public transport and infrastructure for walking and bike-riding is much more popular than governments may realise,” according to Climate Council Head of Advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said.

“Australians know leaving the car at home can deliver cheaper commutes, healthier streets and reduced emissions for a cleaner environment. Now we need the investment to back up that choice so it’s easy and convenient for people to move around in cheaper, cleaner ways.”

The Climate Council is calling for Australian states and territories to:

  1. 1. Allocate at least half of their transport budgets to public transport and 20 percent to initiatives that boost walking and bike-riding in line with best practice and the community’s needs.
  2. 2. Encourage private electric bike uptake through discounts at point of sale and government-funded try-before-you-buy programs.
  3. 3. Convert state and territory bus fleets to clean, quiet and zero-emission buses.

The survey report said the survey debunked common perceptions that Australians won’t embrace active transport and public transport, which the report says “should be front and centre in the conversation about how we move around in a net-zero future”.

“The Climate Council’s latest national poll shows this couldn’t be further from the truth. Australians are excited about the prospect of clean, renewable-powered electric buses and want streets that are safe and pleasant to walk around in,” it says.

“Governments have an opportunity to harness this enthusiasm – alongside the switch to EVs – to ensure we drive down transport costs for households and Australia’s emissions at the same time.”

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: “A cleaner, more efficient and affordable transport system is what Australians want and it’s also crucial for our climate.

“Transport is Australia’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and our country’s second biggest source of climate pollution.

“Seeing more Australians choose public transport, walking and bike-riding – alongside the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) – is essential to cut costs for households and drive down Australia’s emissions.”

The survey polled 2,163 Australians aged 18 to over 65 and also found:

  • 70% of Australians agree Australia’s public bus fleets should be electrified as quickly as possible, manufacture them here, and power them with renewables.
  • 52% want more dedicated bike lanes separated from car traffic
  • 47% support establishing more connected networks of footpaths and bike lanes
  • Nearly 60% would cycle more, to commute or for leisure, if active transport infrastructure was improved.
  • 63.9% would like to try e-bikes if free trials were available.
  • In every State surveyed – Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA – most poll respondents believe the proportion of government funding allocated to active transport is not enough. Latest figures show all Australian State governments currently allocate less than 2% of their transport budgets to footpaths and bike lanes.
  • Queensland has the highest support (66%) for increased investment in bike lanes and footpaths, with close to 85% agreeing it would improve the State’s walking and bike-riding options.

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