A will but no way

by frog

Today’s Shape New Zealand poll asked respondents a series of questions about what actions they have taken personally in the past year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help manage climate change.  Some of the transport answers are:

  • Used alternative everyday travel options rather than use a vehicle – 25%
  • Walked (rather than using the car) – 49%
  • Cycled (rather than using the car) – 16%
  • Used public transport – 31%

And then the survey asks respondents of their intentions for the next year

  • Choose alternative everyday travel options rather than use a vehicle – 25%
  • Walk (rather than drive) – 48%
  • Cycle (rather than drive) – 22%
  • Use public transport – 32%

Normally you would think that intentions would be significantly higher than previous commitments.  But not here.  In some cases they are lower. (Although possibly people may have read the question as what new are you going to do next year?)

The Herald quotes University of Auckland senior marketing lecturer Rick Starr:

“New Year resolutions are a good example. You need complete and total conviction to change behaviour. Green intentions are up, which is good. We need to then make realistic options available to people.”

The problem is that the alternatives transport options are not currently there for people to shift towards.  Many of our roads and towns are not designed with cyclists and pedestrians in mind.  Public transport is not always available, efficient or affordable. People who want to make changes are looking around, struggling to see what the obvious change is to make, realising there is no obvious solution and giving up.

Interestingly the survey notes the people who are most likely to consider changing their transport for environmental reasons are in households earning less than $20,000 a year, one parent families with one or two children, flatting or boarding – or living in an extended family. These are some of the people that can benefit most from the universal policy of improved accessible efficient and affordable public transport.

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Wed, October 15th, 2008   

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