Positive provisioning for active travel

With the federal election looming, Bicycle Network are calling for mandatory positive provisioning that requires all federally funded transport projects to provide infrastructure and facilities for active travel.

Positive provisioning is the commonly used term for framing active travel infrastructure as mandatory components in current and future road projects – as opposed to separate or subsidiary projects.

As we peek out of the pandemic with massive economic deficit and changed attitudes toward transport, it is becoming increasingly important to recognise that people who ride bikes are legitimate road users, and that the inclusion of active travel options in future transport investments should be a condition rather than a consideration.

Incorporating cycling facilities into other transport projects ensures bike riders needs are not forgotten and can reduce costs in the long run, as the labour force is already on site. It also means that bike riders can get some benefits from the huge budgets being allocated to road projects.

Many state governments already have existing legislation that dictates active travel consideration in future transport projects. For example, the Victorian Department of Transport has made a commitment via the Transport Integration Act that every major new transport project includes new or upgraded infrastructure for bike riders and pedestrians.

Similarly in Tasmania, the 2013 Positive Provision Policy for Cycling Infrastructure requires the Department of State Growth to consider cycling infrastructure when it’s upgrading, improving, building or maintaining a state road that is identified in the Principal Urban Cycling networks or arterial cycling networks.

This doesn’t mandate the type of cycling infrastructure to be built and allows for land to be set aside for future cycling infrastructure, rather than building it while the project is underway.

This differs from other states, such as Western Australia where a shared path must be built alongside freeways and highways. Or Queensland, which states that bike paths, lanes or shared paths must be “explicitly provided” on state roads which make up its principal cycle network.

Bicycle Network is calling on the Federal Government to put in place legislation the unifies these state laws and ensures that adequate bike riding infrastructure is a key consideration for all future transport projects around the country.

Any new positive provisioning mandates should also follow the Safe System approach, where people on bikes are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic wherever possible on high volume routes.

Positive provisioning is one of Bicycle Network's five recommendations in our 2022 Federal Election Policy Paper:

  1. An active transport budget
  2. Positive provisioning for active travel
  3. A behaviour change budget for young people
  4. A national bike incentive scheme
  5. Stronger vehicle standards

You can learn more and download the full submission here.

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