Monday, October 25, 2010

The difficulty of sustainable transport

With great fanfare, and PR friendly announcements about environmental sustainability, Monash University announced the construction of a Bike arrival station that would enable bicyclists to shower, secure their bikes, and generally make themselves presentable after the bike ride to Clayton, which is far too far from Melbourne proper.  Upon completion of the facility, the available places were snapped up within a day, and after receiving 500 registrations (in under a couple of days) for the 100 spots, a waiting list was created, on which the vast majority of those who want to use this facility, are now placed.

Let us think for a while about what it would actually take for Monash to fulfill the promise of sustainable access.  Obviously, many times the number of bicycle spots provided by this new facility.  Further, there is no train line to Clayton, and people are much more willing to train than to bus (not sure why, but I am in complete agreement).  Incentivising the use of public transport, and incentivising even more the use of bicycles would also help.  But ultimately, I do not think there is much that the university can do by itself, as despite being a large employer, it doesn't have the clout to change the policy focus on car use.  That is what needs to be addressed.

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