About Make the Move
About this project
The Make the Move project is a collaboration between the Conservation Council ACT Region and the Canberra Environment Centre to help Canberra commuters move from daily car travel to active and public transport alternatives.
To tackle global climate change, the ACT Government has committed to a legislated target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. As of 2020, 100% of the ACT’s electricity is sourced through world-leading reverse auction contracts for renewable wind, solar and hydro power. The next biggest source of emissions is the transport sector, comprising 62% of remaining emissions, dominated by private vehicles (around 22% comes from gas use in buildings, 11% from industrial processes and the remainder from waste (4%) and other sources (1%)).
The city could achieve significant emissions reductions simply by switching all vehicles to electric power or other ‘green’ fuels, which the ACT Government is pursuing for the public transport system and government fleet vehicles. It is also introducing measures to incentivise the uptake of clean-energy-powered cars by the community. However, focusing on fuel-switching alone would miss the opportunity to achieve the range of social, economic and environmental co-benefits that are central to Canberra’s future vision as a world-class sustainable city. The free (over)use of roads is an example of ‘the tragedy of the commons’ where the benefits of car travel enjoyed by individuals accrue at the expense of externalised social, economic and environmental costs. The freedom to drive is not an inalienable right, and indeed greater freedom (eg from the costs and responsibilities of car ownership) can be attained by other modes of transport.
In the 1970s and 80s, Canberra had quite high rates of public transport usage and growth in car ownership stopped. But then road-oriented planning reversed these gains and Canberra attained the reputation of having a ‘love affair’ with cars. In 2016 Canberrans drove the most car kilometers per person of any Australian city! The number of registered passenger and light commercial vehicles now equates to about five cars for every six adults (over 16 years). With a population of over 420,000 people projected to reach 580,000 by 2040, the city can ill afford for every adult to own and drive their own car which has been the trend in recent decades. Urban densification rather than further sprawl, plus improved active transport infrastructure, public transport services and other on-demand transport options help to support more sustainable lifestyles where car ownership is no longer either necessary or the social norm.
Funded by an ACT Government Community Zero Emissions Grant, the Conservation Council ACT Region’s ‘Make the Move’ project addresses behavioural barriers to mode-shifting from private cars to public and active transport to tackle the related issues of climate change, road congestion, land use and amenity, resource consumption, urban planning, social equity and public health and wellbeing. By demonstrating how to make active travel easy, we hope to encourage more Canberrans to make the move out of their cars. The Council contends that with a bit of planning and adjustment, most families could swap a second (or third) car for other modes of transport and reap significant health benefits and cost-savings.
More people cycling and taking buses justifies greater investment in infrastructure and services, in turn improving access for more people, addressing social equity. When people are on foot or bikes, they are more likely to stop and interact with people and places along their trips, supporting local businesses and strengthening local community cohesion and individual wellbeing. Active neighbourhoods are more liveable for everyone, with higher levels of social capital and lower levels of crime. Walking, cycling and public transport are more affordable than owning cars and improve public health outcomes for people who are time-poor or can’t afford exercise as a leisure activity. Active travel reduces the cost of living, freeing up family time and budgets for other activities that improve quality of life.
With 25% of trips undertaken for work, workplaces can play a pivotal role in this transition by providing the ‘end of trip’ facilities and flexibility to support staff to adopt new travel habits. Employers could fund training courses, provide bikes and scooters for staff to use during the day, and ensure that active travel is covered by insurance.
Conservation Council ACT Region
The Conservation Council ACT Region is the peak non-government environment organisation for the ACT and surrounding region. We have been advocating for the environment since 1981. We represent more than 40 member groups and harness the collective expertise and experience of our member groups and networks. We work collaboratively with Government, business and the community to achieve the highest quality environment for Canberra and its region.
Project co-director: Helen Oakey, Executive Director
Lead author & project officer: Kirsten Duncan, Campaigner
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 6229 3200
Postal address: GPO Box 544 Canberra ACT 2601
Street address: Unit 14/26 Barry Drive, Ground Floor, Lena Karmel Lodge, Canberra ACT 2601
ABN: 68 248 339 828
Canberra Environment Centre
The Canberra Environment Centre is a non-government, not for profit environmental education centre that empowers people to create a sustainable future for the Canberra community by supporting lifelong behavioural change. We run the ReCyclery, a community bicycle workshop where all Canberrans can gain and share bicycle maintenance skills while working towards a healthier city. We refurbish pre-loved bikes and pass them along to people who need them.
Project co-director: Ryan Lungu, Executive Director
Project officer: Chrissie Atkinson, Admin and Projects Assistant
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 6248 0885
Postal address: GPO Box 1875 Canberra ACT 2601
Street address: Corner of Lawson Cres & Lennox Crossing, Acton Peninsula ACT 2601
ABN: 33 672 938 987
This website was developed with support from:
Ian Ross, Pedal Power ACT
Brook Clinton & Zuleka Chan, SEE-Change
Anne Napier, Transport Canberra
Simone Annis, Switched on Cycles
Paul Magarey, former Chair of the Australian Bicycle Council
Ryan Hemsley, Public Transport Association of Canberra
Gill King, Living Streets Canberra
Rob Clode, Limegreentangerine
Will Middleton & Jimmy Ennett, Crux Media
This project was funded by the ACT Government under the 2020 Community Zero Emissions Grants.
The Conservation Council ACT Region and Canberra Environment Centre are not-for-profit organisations funded by donations, membership fees, and the ACT Government. They are not affiliated with and do not receive funding from any transport company.
The content of this website was developed independent of government and does not necessarily represent government policy.
Visit Transport Canberra for journey planning, active travel and public transport information and to query or provide feedback on services.
Make the Move is independent of but complements Transport Canberra. Where inconsistencies occur, follow Transport Canberra’s advice.
References & further reading
99 Bikes, 2020, Electric bike batteries & motors – everything you need to know
ABC TV, 2020, How fast is an electric car? Fight for Planet A
ACT Government, 2021, National Ride2School Day
ACT Government, 2020, Zero-emission transition plan for Transport Canberra
ACT Government, 2020, ACT transport strategy 2020
ACT Government, 2019, ACT climate change strategy 2019–25
ACT Government, 2019, Parking fees, Access Canberra
Armah, FA, Yawson, DO, & Pappoe, AANM, 2010, A systems dynamics approach to explore traffic congestion and air pollution link in the City of Accra, Ghana, Sustainability
Arundell, L, 2012, Estimating greenhouse emissions from Australian Capital Territory travel modes, working paper 1.5
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020, Motor vehicle census, Australia
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019, Region summary: Australian Capital Territory
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d., Bicycle helmets, Product Safety Australia
Australian Government, n.d., Vehicle emissions, Green Vehicle Guide
Australian Government, n.d., Workers compensation, Fair Work Ombudsman
Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, 2016, Fuel economy of Australian passenger vehicles – a regional perspective, BITRE
Austroads, 2017, Cycling aspects of Austroads guides
Bennett, TB, 2019, Do new roads reduce traffic congestion? (Spoiler: no), GoGet Blog
Bickert, K, Cohen, S, Corless, J, Graff, T & Holtzclaw, J, 1998, Cutting commute driving: an environmental toolkit, Association for Commuter Transportation Annual International Conference, San Francisco, Sierra Club
Bickley, T, Bodhi, O, Dao, M, Lolicato, J, Spandler, A & Taylor, K, 2019, Active travel in the ACT: understanding the triggers behind making the switch to cycling, ANU
Bicycle Federation of Australia, 2007, How to set up a successful bike fleet: a toolkit
Bicycle NSW, 2019, 10 things for your bicycle first aid kit
Bikebiz, 2019, The mental health benefits of cycling
Bikexchange, 2021, These are the best cargo bikes of 2021
Brown, A, 2021, E-scooters less safe than bikes, according to new study, The Canberra Times
Carbon Reduction Institute, n.d., Reducing my CO2 emissions
Carr, C, 2014, The war on cars is winnable: why the world might narrowly escape a future of gridlock, Next City
Celis-Morales, CA, Lyall, DM, Welsh, P, Anderson, J, Steell, L, Guo, Y et al., 2017, Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study, BMJ
Cycling Promotion Fund and Bicycle Federation of Australia, 2007, Bicycles are good for business; Bicycles belong on the road, registration free; Cycling is for everyone, not just children; Cycling Issue Sheets
Cycling Promotion Fund and Bicycle Federation of Australia, 2008, Cycling and safety; Cycling is good for communities; Environmental benefits of cycling; A bike can save you money; and Health benefits of cycling; Cycling Fact Sheets
Cycling UK, 2018, Cycle-friendly employers & cycle-commuting, Campaign briefing 7B
Cyclescheme, 2017, The health benefits of cycling to work, for employers and employees
Davidson, FT & Webber, ME, To Uber or not? Why car ownership may no longer be a good deal, The Conversation
DeRobertis, M & Lee, RW, 2017, The tragedy of the commons of the urban (and suburban) arterial, ITE Journal
DIY Mountain Bike, n.d., Top 10 tips to keeping your hands warm while winter mountain biking
Doherty, M, 2017, The new costs of paying for a driver’s licence, car rego and parking fine in the ACT, The Canberra Times
Duncan, K, 2018, Focusing on co-benefits (not just emissions reductions) give the ACT the opportunity to change the unchangeable in the transport sector, ANU
Ecobatt, n.d., Battery collection
Ecocycle, n.d., Battery recycling: HEV, PHEV, EV and e-bike batteries
Ecorides, 2020, Electric scooter law Australia
Electric Bikes Brisbane, 2019, Hub drive or mid drive – which e bike drive system is best?
Electric Scootering, n.d., Electric scooter vs kick scooter – pros, cons and verdict
Environmental Conscience, n.d., 33 main pros & cons of electric bikes
European Cyclists’ Federation, 2011, Cycle more often 2 cool down the planet! Quantifying CO2 savings of cycling
Expedia.com.au, n.d., Compare car hire in Canberra
Fahim, D, n.d., Find out how much you should be spending on a new car, Car Clarity
Feldman, J, 2014, The societal costs and benefits of commuter cycling, The Journalists’ Resource
Fellegi, V, 2019, Hijabs and helmets cycling group empowers women, Toronto Star
Fitch, K, 2020, Canberra autonomous car simulation
Floyd, J, 2013, Driving in circles: road building and causal thinking, Beyond this brief anomaly
Gordon, C, 2011, Planning for structural transit in low density environments: the case of Canberra, Australia, Australian Planner
Gordon, C, 2014, Which transport is the fairest of them all?, The Conversation
Government of Western Australia, n.d., What can you claim?, Insurance Commission of Western Australia
Government of Western Australia, n.d., How to set up cycle facilities in your workplace, Your Move, Department of Transport
Submit this form to subscribe to the Conservation Council ACT Region monthly newsletter to stay on top of environment and sustainability news and events in Canberra.
Click here to sign up for the Canberra Environment Centre mailing list.