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Issues

Condition
    Processes and Agents of Change
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        At a glance

        The issue

        Ensuring mobility and access to services for members of the community is dependent on providing varied and appropriate means of mobility, encouraging appropriate city design and services, and providing efficient infrastructure.

        The strong tendency for centralised workplaces, and the potential for further dispersal of the resident population into low density rural-residential areas, tends to demand the construction of road infrastructure. This further encourages the urban and suburban development of peripheral areas, and further reliance on the road network. These patterns tend to be inefficient in terms of absolute space occupied and the costs of servicing with roads, sewerage, and water. They may also be inequitable in terms of isolation from existing services for some sections of the population. For example, those experiencing poverty may not be able to afford the costs of transport from fringe urban areas needed to participate actively in society (see also Social and Economic Conditions Issue Report). The reluctance of residents to use public transport, despite improvements in the level and flexibility of service provided, is indicative of the cultural, physical and behavioural challenges public transport faces.

        This 'At a glance' section provides an overview of the issue of transport and land use. More detalied information and references are contained in the Transport Issue Report. Indicators on population, transport and housing are presented in the Indicator section of this report. A related issue report includes Urban Growth in the Biodiversity Chapter.

        Recommendations are provided on Settlement Patterns and Processes and, arising from the Atmosphere Chapter, Pollution from Transport.

        Favourable news

        • Numerous innovations have been undertaken by Metro Tasmania, including an increase in the number of buses for the inner suburbs ('busy bee' service), express trips to and from outer suburbs in peak times ('Metro express' services), and multiple termini in the CBD, Glenorchy and Rosny. The development of 'cross town' services is planned to account for the growing variety in types of trips (Metro Tasmania 1999). Metro Tasmania has also purchased 10 new buses that are fully accessible for passengers in wheelchairs.
           
        • Urban consolidation in inner city areas brings potential infrastructure and environmental benefits. It maximises the use of existing infrastructure including existing bus networks, and may help to reduce the conversion of land from non-urban to urban uses. Dwelling completion data from the ABS show an increasing popularity of inner city living.
           

        Unfavourable news

        • In general, the transport patterns indicated in the previous SoE Report (1997) have continued over recent years. Significant trends include: the location of residences becoming increasingly decentralised; car ownership continuing to increase; and an increase in car usage for travel to work.
           
        • Buses can provide a low impact alternative to cars by producing less airborne pollutants per traveller, and less impacts on the road infrastructure. However, for such a benefit to be realised, there needs to be a minimum of 12 passengers on an average coach to account for the impacts per person (Stead 1999). The decline in public transport therefore has particular implications for environmental costs from transport.
           
        • The economic burden of infrastructure maintenance is an important regional transport issue, although it is unclear as to whether the situation has changed since the last SoE Report. The ABS (2001) noted that, at January 2001, local government authorities maintained 14,045 km of roads and 123,768 m2 of bridge deck areas (concrete and wooden bridges) Statewide. The report also identified 6,652 km of Local Government sealed roads in the State, of which 38.5% were located in urban areas and 61.5% located in rural areas.
           
        • With the development of high level outlet roads, such as those in Hobart and Launceston, the threshold of the distance people are prepared to drive to key employment centres has been extended well beyond the traditional fringes of these cities. For example, the 'satellite towns' of Richmond (28 km from Hobart GPO), Dodges Ferry (42 km), New Norfolk (38 km), and Huonville (39 km) can be reached in a journey of about half an hour from Hobart.
           

        Uncertain news

        • There is uncertainty about the average fuel efficiency of the Tasmanian vehicle fleet. Tasmania traditionally has had the oldest average vehicle age with the greatest proportion of vehicles older than 10 years. It is unknown as to whether efficiency has improved in Tasmania and whether gains from more modern and fuel-efficient vehicles in Tasmania are being offset through an increasing popularity of large four-wheel drive and recreational vehicles.
           
        • Greenhouse gas emission figures for transport are based on national survey data and characteristics, and may be unreliable for Tasmania.
           

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        Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
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