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Publications archive - Human settlements

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Effective Speeds: Car Costs are Slowing us Down

A report by Paul J. Tranter
School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW@ADFA, Canberra, ACT, Australia
For the
Australian Greenhouse Office, Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004

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Introduction

Formula One racing teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year so that their drivers can travel at very high speeds for a very short time. If these teams want to be competitive, they have no choice but to devote huge amounts of time and money to their cars. But is this strategy a sensible one when applied to everyday transport? Is it worth investing hundreds of hours per year to pay for a mode of transport that might save only half of that in travel time? We can help answer this question by considering the concept of 'effective speed', where speed is calculated on the basis of the total amount of time consumed by a particular mode of transport. Applying this concept of 'effective speed' provides some surprising results in the comparison of cars, bicycles and public transport.

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