6 September 2021 - Update
Thank you to everyone who has provided input and/or completed a survey to help inform the Her Way Action Plan. I've received 84 online surveys, there have been many more emails and social media comments, and I've met with key stakeholder groups in recent weeks to learn more and find out how we can all work together.
There has been so much information provided, regarding how members of our community would like to travel, and what the challenges and barriers are to engagement with active travel and public transport.
I'm really excited to make a difference in this space, and to work to support those who would like to make changes to their routes and routines.
Once I've understood all that information from the survey responses, I'm going to compile an action report that I look forward to sharing in due course.
The findings will go some way to gauging what the barriers are to women’s participation in active travel and public transport. I will then start to work on the best way to advocate for appropriate changes to those systems to overcome those barriers. Through this process, I will work closely with Minister Chris Steel - Minister for Transport, to see what we can do to better support women and others in the community to actively engage in active transport and public transport options.
I'm really excited to seize this opportunity and work out how we can make better use of public transport, bikes, walking and scooting to get from A to B - in a way that's easy, convenient, safe and fun; in a way that adds enjoyment and fulfillment to our weekly routines.
- Remember, it doesn't have to be every day. Once a week or even once a fortnight is entirely reasonable; a short trip to the local shops by foot or by bike instead of the car - small actions really go a long way and can make a very big difference!
I look forward to continuing this journey together!
9 August 2021
The ACT Government has started work to deliver light rail to Woden. This project will provide more convenient and reliable transport options for people on the southside, help prevent future traffic gridlock and cut transport emissions for a cleaner environment.
But over the next few years these construction works will mean significant disruption for Canberrans travelling from the southside to the city centre.
This will be particularly felt during weekday peak hours when more of us are moving around the region.
I want to work with the women in my electorate, and from Canberra’s southside, to find ways to minimise the inconvenience and disruption during the construction of light rail. It will be important to support individuals and households to find positive solutions that will work for people in different family situations and with different travel needs during – and beyond – this period of disruption.
Find out more about light rail: https://www.act.gov.au/lightrailtowoden
Evidence shows that women often have different transport needs and patterns than men, including:
- a need for trip-chaining (incorporating multiple purposes as part of the travel journey which might include school drop-off and pick-up, grocery shopping and other tasks); and
- different levels of comfort and safety using different modes of travel, different route choices, and different times of night and day.
Importantly, women’s perceptions of safety and risk can also impact their travel choices, and research shows that women “adjust their behaviour and their travel patterns to accommodate this fear” (Criado Perez, 2019). This might involve taking a longer, more indirect route, travelling at different times, and ensuring not to travel alone.
I want to help you meet your travel needs and explore new options to provide you with effective, efficient means of transport that can strengthen your quality of life. I particularly want to help those who have an interest in transitioning away from private car use, but might be concerned about it, or don’t quite know where to start.
There may be challenges to overcome, but we’re resilient. As women, we are positive, proactive, innovative and creative. We can do this!
Many of us have alternative options. Why not embrace them? These might include:
- altering the time we travel to and from work;
- catching the bus;
- riding, walking, or scooting – even part way;
- working from home – even 1 or 2 days per week; and/or
- working in an alternative location closer to our home.
As well as providing improved options for your transport needs, I’m hoping that the outcomes we’ll achieve through this work will include:
- improved community outcomes through more livable neighbourhoods where people feel safe to walk, ride, scoot, catch public transport and interact and connect with others;
- improved place-making outcomes with renewed demand resulting in amenities such as shade trees and other landscaping;
- reduced road trauma and traffic incidents;
- more efficient use of your time, which potentially incorporates more physical activity; improved health and wellbeing; and
- environmental benefits through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Riding a bike
I’m particularly keen to explore the opportunities for women in my electorate to start riding a bike as a mode of transport; whether this be to the local shops, to work, to take children to school, or for other purposes.
Combining bike riding with other forms of transport, including buses or private vehicle, is a great option. You don’t have to ride all the way to the city from the southside.
As some examples, you could instead:
- ride with your kids to school and then catch a bus to work from there;
- ride to a rapid bus stop and either take your bike on the bus to store it securely in your workplace during the day; or park it in a secure Bike and Ride facility; or
- drive part way or get a lift (with your bike), park your car (or get dropped off) in an appropriate location and ride your bike from there to the city or other workplace.
Bike riding offers a range of personal benefits including:
- much needed and valuable ‘me’ time;
- an efficient way to incorporate regular, physical activity into your daily or weekly routine;
- mental health and wellbeing outcomes;
- community connection and social cohesion; and
- a quicker travel time for short journeys.
Bike riding must be the easy, convenient and safe option for it to be viable, and for you to consider it as a preferred option. It should not be a chore.
I know there are challenges, and I’m keen to work through them with you; addressing them one by one. On your behalf, I’m keen to also work with the ACT Government to make bike riding a reality and something to be enjoyed by everyone.
You can access my Her Way Discussion Paper here. It provides further information, and some discussion points to get the conversation started.
- Canberra Times, 9 August 2021, 'Marisa Paterson urges southside women to rethink commute ahead of Woden light rail build'
- Canberra Weekly, 11 August 2021, 'Her Way is the bike path, Labor MLA believes'
- Canberra Weekly, 11 August 2021, 'Why Canberra Women enjoy cycling'