Lesson 10 – Transport Patterns in Natural Building

Why do we need to change our Transport patterns?

Inwestern countries, cars account for approximately 50 percent of our total transport greenhouse gas emissions.

The other half includes emissions from trucks, buses, aviation, railways and shipping.

In addition to contributing to global warming, car exhaust contains toxic pollutants that are dangerous to our health.

As the population of cities increases so does traffic congestion, further multiplying the amount of exhaust pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in our air.

Research has shown that approximately 80% of western adults rely on their car to commute to work. It should be our aim to substantially reduce this figure.

And while governments are working on the provision of sustainable transport modes (i.e. public transport services and bicycle lanes), we also rely on collaboration with private developers to encourage the use of these services.


By reducing the reliance on private car trips, you can:

  • Reduce overall building construction costs;
  • Reduce expenditure on petrol and car maintenance;
  • Improve air quality and reduce the incidence of respiratory illness, especially in the young and very old;
  • Improve occupant’s health and fitness;
  • Eeduce greenhouse gas emissions to support our community’s environmental targets.
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Reducing Onsite Car Parking

Reducing onsite car parking can save construction costs as either less space is required, or more space can be used for other purposes (i.e. bicycle parking and storage).

In areas with readily accessible public transport and bike routes, weshould consider reducing the minimum number of car parking spaces required.

This is provided that a Green Travel Plan is in place and that sufficient provision for alternative transport modes, such as bike parking and car sharing facilities, has been provided.

Fuel Efficient Transport

In addition to promoting public transport, cycling and walking, allocating onsite car spaces for smaller sized vehicles will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This is because smaller cars generally generate less greenhouse gas emissions than larger cars. The same applies for the provision of parking spaces for scooters and / or motorbikes.

According to relevant Standards, a parking space for small cars is commonly 2.3m by 5m in size.

Encouraging the use of electric vehicles, powered by renewable energy charging stations, will also support development applications as it in achieving sustainable transport goals.

Public transport Developments should encourage the use of public transport (tram, train, bus, ferries) by providing annual public transport tickets and informing residents, staff and visitors about nearby public transport links.

You can do this by making available signs, maps and public transport information in common areas.

What’s more, the inclusion of Green Travel Plans in Building Users Guides is an excellent way of making residents and staff aware of their public transport options.

Car Share

An emerging low-cost alternative to car ownership, car sharing is available in 600 cities world wide.

Generally, the cars are owned by a company who leases them out to a user for a minimum of 1 hour or for a whole day.

The car share vehicles are commonly found in a designated parking bay on the street for access by a range of potential users who live or work nearby. A Car share vehicles may also be located on site in multi-residential or large commercial developments.

The space should be located on the site to maximise accessibility on a 24/7 basis to members of the relevant car share scheme (not just the residents or workers within the building).

Every car share space takes about 7-10 cars off the road, reducing transport greenhouse gas emissions.

For people who drive less than 15,000kms per year, research indicates that car sharing will save money as opposed to owning a vehicle.

And, car sharing encourages more sustainable travel patterns for users who already rely on public transport, cycling and walking.

Provision of a car share system within or near a large development, can form an important part of a Green Travel Plan and reduce onsite car parking requirements.

Bicycle Facilities

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Bicycle use is growing in popularity, so it’s important to offer residents, workers and visitors convenient and secure bicycle parking facilities.

Whilst the city Planning Schemes define the allocation of required bicycle spaces for each building type, these figures represent absolute minimum requirements.

Meeting these requirements does not represent a sustainable transport solution.

Exceeding the minimum requirement will encourage the use of sustainable transport modes and therefore reduce a development’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

As a rule of thumb, at least one bicycle space should be provided per dwelling for residential buildings. Non-residential buildings should provide spaces for at least 10% of building occupants.

To complement this, incorporate appropriate signage to guide bike riders from the entry point to the bike parking area.

Further to bicycle parking for residents and staff, a development should provide visitor bike parking.

Residential developments should provide 0.25 visitor spaces per dwelling, offices should provide 1 visitor space per 500m2 net lettable area.

Visitor spaces are best located in an accessible location, sign posted and close to a major building entrance.

Showers and Lockers for Staff

In addition to secure bicycle parking facilities, building staff will appreciate the availability of showers and lockers when either using their bicycle to commute to work or walking to work.

Office buildings and other workplaces should offer one shower per 10 bicycle spaces and one secure locker for each bicycle space provided.

Bicycle Parking

When designing bicycle parking facilities, it is important to consider their space efficiency, accessibility, security and convenience.

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Below, we have summarised key design considerations:

  • Which style of rails suits the need of the development’s users?
  • Is there an opportunity to install different types of rails that cater for different user’s heights and strength? Children and the elderly, for example, wouldn’t be able to use hanging style rails.
  • Do the selected rails comply with Standards?
  • Is there enough room to park and remove a bike without bumping into other bikes?
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Traditionally, the urban design of our cities has been based on car usage.

Important amenities including public transport, parks and open spaces, schools and other services, were often located in areas that are not easily accessible by foot.

An important concept in sustainable urban design, walkability is a measure of how good an area or particular site is for walking.

Whilst the location of a site is often pre determined at the planning stage, it is a worthwhile exercise to determine what amenities are accessible within walking distance of your site to help support your application.

Walkscore is an online tool based in the United States. The Walkscore algorithm provides a site with points that are based on the number of amenities located nearby.

What is a Green Travel Plan?

A Green Travel Plan is a suite of onsite initiatives and offsite services to encourage residents and staff of large developments to use sustainable transport options.

Depending on the development type, a Green Travel Plan should highlight:

  • Parking facilities for bicycles, motor bikes, small cars, electric cars and onsite and nearby car share systems;
  • End of trip facilities for staff, including the location of showers and the availability of personal lockers;
  • Bicycle and walking maps;
  • Nearby public transport stops;
  • Timetables for public transport services;
  • Availability of free or substituted public transport tickets through the employer or relevant Owners Coperation ;
  • Nearby recreation areas (e.g. parks);
  • An organisation’s car-pooling scheme.


A Green Travel Plan is highly valued by future residents and staff. It provides a valuable resource when choosing sustainable transport options such as walking, cycling, car-sharing and public transport.

A Green Travel Plan assists property developers to actively advocate for the sustainability initiatives incorporated in a building’s design and operation.

It allows organisations to meet environmental targets, such as the reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Residents and staff will also value the associated health and fitness benefits when increasing their activity levels through regular walking and cycling.

A Green Travel Plan should be a dynamic document that reflects changing on and offsite services.

Providing and implementing a Green Travel Plan not only brings a number of social, economic, environmental and health benefits to occupants, but also to the wider community.

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