Today we'll be looking at the travel choices we make every day.
If you commute to work by car or do the school run
you'll know firsthand it's out of control
but you probably don't know by how much.
Transport accounts for about one third of our total CO² emissions.
Believe it or not, we make longer commutes
than any of our European neighbours.
Are you doing the school run at the moment?
You are? At least there are four of you in the car - that's good.
Believe it or not there are people out there
trying to find another way out of this madness.
I talked to Eimear Cotter from the EPA.
Well there's a number of areas we can look at,
I feel we need to look at the sectors where
the demand for transport actually originates.
Rather than looking at the transport sector in isolation
we start looking at sectors like the households, like schools,
like businesses, where decisions in those sectors
actually create the demand that we have for transport.
Well I think incentivising people to actually move out of their cars onto their bikes
rewarding them for using more sustainable forms of transport
would be one way of doing it
and of course rewarding people for making those better choices
Over the last 10 years we have seen a 30% increase
in our average commuting distances by car.
This has affected our greenhouse gas emissions and our quality of life.
Finola O'Driscoll from Dublin Transportation Office
is encouraging us to take one small step towards reversing this trend.
When it comes to commuting to work or to school, we are all very dependent on our cars.
Everybody needs to use their cars sometimes, Duncan,
but it can become a bit of a habit so the DTO's "One Small Step" campaign
encourages people to look at their travel choices
and to try and maybe make more sustainable options
for some journeys during the week
So what organisations are doing this?
Well there's a mixture of public and private organisations.
We are working with some of the big corporates like AIB, Vodaphone,
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and also some of the Councils,
Dublin City Council and the Department of Environment and Transport themselves.
So how long is it up and running?
How successful and where are you going in the future?
It's been running for about a year Duncan, it's been very successful
and interest is growing in the programme as companies realise
this is a way to combine sustainability and cost effectiveness.
I think it's just work based travel plans are going to become a core part
of any organisation's management in the future.
So far we've had results of about 30% reduced car use which is very good,
that's in line with the UK and international figures
which show that work place travel plans can reduce car use by up to 30%.
So where do you get information about all of this?
You can go to the www.onesmallstep.ie website
which has information on all your travel alternatives
and also has tools to help you make sustainable choices
like the journey logger and carbon calculator and cost calculator.
The Mater hospital have successfully implemented DTO's scheme
so I got on my bike to find out more.
The One Small Step has proven to be a great success
and staff have really embraced the whole concept of sustainable transport.
We've set a target of 23% reduction in car usage and
as of 2006 we achieved a 16% reduction
so hopefully we'll have a comprehensive survey later on in the year
which will confirm that we have achieved the 23% reduction in car usage.
A lot of them have chosen to leave the car at home
and adopt be it cycling, walking, public transport.
An awful lot of them are car sharing,
we launched a car share scheme earlier on this year.
We have guaranteed preferential parking for staff who choose to car share.
With regards cycling, we've improved cycling facilities within the hospital,
we've provided shower facilities, we've put a large extended bike shed,
we have a pool of bikes for staff to use
and a major boost to the number of staff using public transport
has been the tax saver ticket scheme which we would market quite a lot.
Retraining the next generation to rediscover commuting
by walking and cycling, the way we used to do, makes perfect sense.
I got back on my bike to visit St Maelruain's in Tallaght to see real change in action.
Hi Kathy, what's going on here behind us?
Well here behind us Duncan, we have a cycle training programme
which we have instituted in the school over the last number of years
because we have now got the green flag for transport
and that involves children cycling and walking to school
You can park 10 bikes in the area required to park one car.
Three years ago even though the majority of them were able to walk in to school
anything between 40 and depending on the day,
60% of those children could have been coming in cars
And what's the difference now?
The difference now is that we have reduced that by at least half.
A car that weighs approximately one tonne
produces 4 times its own weight in CO² each year.
An Taisce provided us with bicycle shelters
which was a fantastic support for us.
And South Dublin County Council then came down
and did a huge amount of signage outside the school,
boxes, zigzag lines and "Keep Clear" signs etcetera
to indicate to the parents where it would be dangerous to park
from the point of view of the safety of the children walking in and out of school,
cycling in and out of school.
So the signage and the bicycle shelters
were the two biggest and most visible supports
that we would have had for the programme.
The energy supplied to a car by one gallon of petrol
would enable a bicycle to travel 1200 miles.
Creating awareness and a cultural change
back to a more sustainable transport is the way forward.
I talked to Jane Hackett from An Taisce
about the Green Schools travel programme.
It's been up and running since 2005.
We started it as a pilot programme in the greater Dublin area
and then we got funding to roll it out nationwide in 2008.
So how many schools are involved now?
Over 300 schools involved now throughout the country.
Already, which is phenomenal...
The potential is to change our habits
That's what we see it as growing over the next few years
until we hope to have almost 1200 schools participating.
People are addicted to their cars, how do you get them out of the cars?
Well I think we have a lot of reasons why people should get out of their cars
and the big reasons are, for us in Green Schools, it's climate change,
it's congestion on our roads, it's safety issues, health issues.
And if you look at the statistics,
in 1986 40% of all children going to school walked
and in 2006 statistics showed that it was only 19% of all school going children,
which to me is quite a sad trend,
and one that we really want to turn around.
We just need to be smarter about how we use our cars.
And we need to be smarter about how we actually make our journeys
and build it into our daily lives
and then it will become just another habit of just getting on the bus,
or getting on the LUAS or walking or cycling.
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