Active Reform: improving opportunities for cycling in Perth, Western Australia

Many Australian cities are currently pursuing policies and strategies to increase rates of cycling.

This is in response to a transport reform agenda given increasing concern about fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and the quality (or lack thereof) of the urban environment. Moreover, there is growing understanding that increased rates of cycling could make a significant contribution to the public health agenda as a form of preventative treatment.

This is because cycling stimulates all major muscle groups, promotes good cardiovascular health and can treat health risk factors such as overweight/ obesity. However, while there is significant discussion around possible health benefits, there is inertia in actually delivering ‘cycleable’ environments.

This paper is arranged in three parts. First, it outlines the opportunities for promoting public health through cycle planning and facilitation. Second, it examines the current debate regarding the suitability of different cycling infrastructure including on-street lanes, shared paths, shared urban boulevards and Copenhagen-style paths. Tt identifies that while ‘no one approach fits all’, a relatively dense network plan that can link origins and nearby destinations (including transit stations), makes users feel safe, is legible and supported by good route information and end-of-trip facilities is likely to be the most successful.

Third, it discusses some current examples of where comprehensive cycle networks are being developed as part of integrated land use and transport plans in Perth, Western Australia.

Dr Ryan Falconer, Senior Transport Planner, Arup, at the International Urban Design Conference in 2011

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