Thursday, July 29, 2010

Audio: Can TravelSmart Work in the U.S.?

Randy Salzman, author of the article “Changing the Car Culture Down Under” in the Spring/Summer issue of InTransition, discussed how Australia’s TravelSmart program has successfully boosted the use of transit, walking and biking, and may provide a model for America during a July 27 presentation at the NJTPA headquarters in Newark.

TravelSmart provides educational, individualized marketing to households about how residents can change from driving themselves to more sustainable travel methods. In one 1.6 million community, TravelSmart was credited with decreasing car starts by 30 million annually while increasing transit boardings by 4.2 million.

Salzman said skeptics often wonder if such an approach would be easier to implement in Australia than the U.S., when in reality, the opposite may be true. He said Australia almost totally dismantled its rail system during a post-World War II population boom, leaving the nation more dependent on the auto than America.

The soft travel demand consultant and former communications professor detailed the root of his strong feelings about America’s need to ween itself off petroleum for travel. Salzman once held a hazardous job drilling for oil in the fields of his native West Texas, and recently welcomed home a son who served the U.S. in the Iraqi war effort.

Audio and PowerPoint files of Salzman’s presentation can be viewed here.

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