Any reduction in car dependence will lead to fewer cars on Yarra’s streets, better residential amenity, less pollution, improved road safety outcomes and a better environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

City of Yarra agenda for the council meeting on 14th October 2003

One of the great advantages of walkable, liveable streets is that they reduce the need for each person in a household to own and operate their own car. If a household needs one fewer vehicle, that household has more money to spend on paying off their mortgage, putting their kids through school, or saving something extra for retirement.

How car dependency grows

If not addressed, car dependency grows over time:

How car dependency grows over time. Image credit: Transportation Alternatives.

Car dependency is a spectrum

a community is not simply car-dependent or not – there is a spectrum

Matt Pinder
Car dependency is a spectrum. Image credit: Matt Pinder.

Simple lifestyle changes

For those who are willing to have a go, the following article discusses some of the adjustments to deal with life with one less car. It’s American, but most of the tips translate well to Australia:

Image credit: The Simple Dollar

The article describes nine simple lifestyle changes, including:

  • Sell your car when you move – and be smart about the location of your new residence
  • Get maximum value from mass transit
  • Get your exercise on a bicycle equipped with a bag, pannier, or rack
  • Get additional exercise from walking/rucking
  • Shop with friends and share resources
  • Consider carpooling, too!
  • Rent a car for longer trips
  • Get an ‘everyday carry’ bag and stock it appropriately
  • Canvas your nearby area thoroughly for entertainment and social options

Car sharing

Car sharing is another possibility, allowing convenient rental on an hourly or daily basis. GoGet, Flexicar and GreenCarShare are commercial companies operating in Yarra, and there is also peer-to-peer sharing via Car Next Door.

GoGet offer car sharing. Image credit: GoGet.

Traffic evaporation

Often proposals to change a street layout to reduce the number of traffic lanes or relocate parking to side streets results in the claim that ‘we need the traffic lanes and on-street parking’, or that it will ‘result in traffic chaos’. The reality is quite different, because much of the traffic evaporates.

Image credit: NACTO

Research findings suggest that when street space is reallocated to active transport, “predictions of traffic problems are often unnecessarily alarmist, and that, given appropriate local circumstances, significant reductions in overall traffic levels can occur, with people making a far wider range of behavioural responses than has traditionally been assumed.”

Image credit: Municipal Engineer 151, via NACTO

How you can help

You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.

Let’s build a beautiful, liveable and accessible city