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Packaging the Travel Choices: COMMUNITIES

TravelSmart Communities programs and the role of TravelSmart officers

Australia is at the forefront of international experience with the development and delivery of household-based TravelSmart programs. They are often run as part of a broader community-based TravelSmart initiative usually arranged through a partnership with local government and targeted on individuals who reside in a particular area such as a suburb or a municipality. These programs are designed to increase people’s awareness of their travel options and where feasible, make travel choices which reduce their use of the private car. Their local community focus makes them an ideal link for a TravelSmart officer who is working in the relevant local government authority.

Walking to school in the rain

The most widely applied household travel behaviour change programs are based on either Travel Blending® or IndiMark® – which are both described in this section. You may see those programs referred to as Household Travel Behaviour Change Tools. While there is still much more to learn about the impacts of these programs on people’s travel behaviour it is fair to say that the results to date have been very positive overall. Increases in public transport use, walking and bicycling have been observed along with reductions in the distance travelled by car by about 10 per cent.

This component of the Training Resource Guide provides insight into the nature of these programs and is structured around the following topics:

The running of the travel behaviour change programs themselves requires a great deal of specialist expertise (as you will come to appreciate as you learn more about the programs in this section). The programs (Travel Blending®, IndiMark® or other variations) are usually delivered by consulting organizations which may be engaged by the State Government Department running the TravelSmart program. In this way the local government-based TravelSmart officer has an important supporting role to play in the assisting with the delivery.

In addition to households in the community being given the opportunity to participate in one of the travel behaviour change programs mentioned above, other initiatives may be undertaken to promote community participation in travel behaviour change. For example, the travel options available to access a local festival could be emphasised by noting the availability of bike parking, public transport routes serving the venue etc. The local TravelSmart officer can play a valuable part in maximising the exposure to the TravelSmart message in the community. You can also assist in putting the consultants, who are delivering the program, in touch with key members of the community who could assist with tailoring the programs to local needs. There is also scope to provide feedback to the community (through local government or community group newsletters, local presentations etc.) about the success of the program and its local impacts. Once the initial program has been delivered, the local TravelSmart officer has an important role to play in ‘maintenance’ activities which could be developed to maintain the momentum of travel behaviour change initiated with the original program.

To be able to effectively support the work of the consultants who are delivering the travel behaviour change program, you need to have an understanding of the nature of the programs they will be delivering. That is precisely what this section of the Training Resource guide is designed to do.