A strategy that provides the blueprint for an integrated, safe and efficient transport system that services and supports a rapidly growing Sunshine Coast has been endorsed by council.
Following a public consultation and feedback process earlier this year, council has adopted a strategy that highlights that improved public and active transport options are needed to reduce our community’s reliance on private cars as our primary way of moving around the region.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Integrated Transport Strategy was closely aligned to council’s vision for the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.
“This strategy responds to the transport challenges and opportunities facing our region and outlines our vision to address the region’s transport needs,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“With around 200,000 more people expected to live on the Sunshine Coast by 2041, it is important we plan ahead to accommodate this population growth, while at the same time helping our community to move around more efficiently.
“The strategy was developed with input from the community, key stakeholder feedback and expert analysis, as well as a review of trends and changes occurring across the transport sector.
“It considers how we currently travel within the region and outlines the known transport network deficiencies which governments at all levels need to address.
“It has to be remembered that public transport and the associated infrastructure are principally the responsibility of the State and Federal governments – not council.
“Council is committed however, to working with the other tiers of government and the private sector to ensure there is a ‘one network’ approach to transport planning, delivery and management of an integrated transport system.
“Increased State Government investment in the public transport network will be critical in creating viable travel alternatives to the car.
“We need to see funding commitments to enable the Sunshine Coast to catch up to where we should be and then continued investment to produce a transport network a growing region of our size requires.”
Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said at its core, the strategy gave the community a common goal to change the way we travel.
It has specific targets to progressively reduce car travel from 85% to 70% and increase active travel from 12% to 20% and public transport from 3% to 10% by 2041.
“Our region is lacking alternative transport methods, resulting in a heavy reliance on private vehicle travel,” Cr Baberowski said.
“If changes are not implemented, it has the obvious potential to significantly reduce the liveability of our region.
“These ‘travel mode shift’ targets will guide planning and investment in infrastructure and programs that will encourage and assist the community to increase their use of more sustainable forms of travel.
“However, assuming transport alternatives improve, the community will ultimately decide whether these targets are achievable through individual travel choices.
“Council will continue to maintain a clear and strong advocacy approach with State and Federal governments for timely investment in priority transport projects, while looking at opportunities for complementary private investment with a view to securing the right integrated transport solution for our region.”
Cr Baberowski said as the Sunshine Coast broadened its appeal as a destination, it was important to also understand the impact of growing visitor numbers on our transport network.
“The range of transport options for visitors is also vital to ensuring we give them the best possible experience while they are here, as well as managing the extra transport impacts for our residents during our heavy visitation times of the year,” he said.