Riding a bicycle has an economic benefit of about $1.43 per kilometre, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese.
Traffic congestion in urban areas was estimated to cost $20.4 billion by 2020, Mr Albanese said.
Nearly one in six Australians – 3.5 million people — rode a bicycle at least once a week to local shops, work, school, visiting friends and recreation.
More than eight million Australians rode at least once a year.
Mr Albanese made his comments when he released the Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: supporting active travel in Australian communities on July 30.
The report sets out the Federal Government’s plan to increase the proportion of people who are walking and riding for short trips and using public transport. The draft report released last October received nearly 200 public submissions from all levels of government, businesses and the community.
Traffic congestion in urban areas was a central consideration for transport, and was estimated to cost $20.4 billion by 2020, Mr Albanese said.
One in seven adult Australians drove less than five kilometres to work or study.
In Victoria, 55 per cent of all trips were five kilometres or less, of which 85 per cent were by car. Shifting even a small proportion of those short-distance trips to walking and riding could reduce congestion across urban transport networks and result in improvements to the environment, people’s health and liveability, he said.
For walking, the economic benefit was estimated about $2.12 per kilometre walked – a significant figure given that almost 220,000 people walked to work in capital cities every day, around 3.8 per cent of journeys to work.
Cycling had an economic benefit of about $1.43 per kilometre and 3.5 million people – nearly one in six Australians – rode a bicycle at least once a week. More than eight million Australians rode at least once a year.
The Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport: supporting active travel in Australian communities supported a number of national strategic plans already being implemented including the National Urban Policy, National Road Safety Strategy and the National Cycling Strategy. It recognised the value and importance of state and local councils for this and that better results could be achieved if the three tiers of government all worked together, Mr Albanese said.
Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport—supporting active travel in Australian communities (released July 2013)
- Full document [PDF: 10713 KB] 
Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport—draft report for discussion (released October 2012)
- View the draft report
- Submissions to the draft report