Cars in congestion Feature
Australia has a long way to go

The latest Census data has revealed that Australia has a very long way to go if it’s going to solve its traffic congestion woes.

Released on Monday, the data on commuting habits showed that more than two thirds of people (69 per cent or 6.5 million people) drive to work.

What’s more concerning is that of the 6.5 million vehicles on our roads on Census day, at least six million cars were transporting only one person.

This is a clear example that Australian streets continue to be about the inefficient movement of cars, not people. Space-hogging, single passenger cars remain the most popular way to get to work in every state, territory and capital city.

Horrifyingly, while cars continued their dominance, riding a bike to work also declined to 1.1 per cent of all transport to work, down from 1.2 per cent in 2011.

In looking at the data state by state, Canberra (8.4%) and Hobart (8.1%) are leading the nation when it comes to active commuting, followed closely by Darwin (7.1%). At the other end, Perth (3.7%) and Adelaide (4%) has the lowest numbers of people riding or walking to work.  

Meanwhile, Sydney reported the lowest proportion of people driving to work among Australia's capital cities at 65.5 per cent, while boasting the highest use of public transport at 20.9 percent. However, it ranked fourth for people riding and walking to work at 5.9 per cent declining from 6.1 per cent in 2011.

After years of missed opportunities for investment and support for people who do ride or want to ride bikes, Bicycle Network Chief Executive Officer Craig Richards said that these results shouldn’t be surprising.

“Our roads are choked, our trains are packed, our health is getting worse and our governments are too slow to act,” Mr Richards said.

"We’re spending billions on encouraging more vehicles that are made for five people and are carrying one person.

"On the other hand, we’re spending chump change on space efficient, active transport. It seems that wider roads win elections and our governments are prioritising them even they filly understand it’s irresponsible.

“We need to prioritise transport alternatives and make riding a bike a more accessible and attractive option for commuters — it’s the healthiest, cheapest and most efficient way to get around.”

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