More than 90% of the time our private vehicles are not in use, and when they are in use, in the vast majority of cases, they are mostly empty. It seems we all understand that there must be a more efficient way to get from place to place without everyone having to haul along a mostly empty, heavy, metal box that expels harmful gases to the atmosphere. Sustainable transport is our shared effort to minimize the use of private vehicles and expand the use of alternative modes of transport that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment (and to our wallets). Sustainable transport improves public health, minimizes traffic accidents, reduces harm to the quality of the environment and the atmosphere, and reduces both energy consumption and the costs involved in producing and purchasing energy. Likewise, it reduces harm to open landscapes, strengthens local economy and commerce, encourages social interaction and neighborhood and community relations and promotes the economic and social integration of those who do not have a private vehicle or who are unable to drive.
The regional strategy for sustainable transport:
The Partnership for Regional Sustainability is developing a common strategy for sustainable transport with meaningful dialog among the many stakeholders who are members of the partnership. The strategy deals with three central questions: what is the current situation in this field (what are currently the main problems and opportunities), what is the desired future situation (what are we aiming for) and what are the steps that must be taken in order to actually realize the defined vision. In order to develop a strategy, we set up a task group whose members represent the range of stakeholders. The group met for a series of workshops in which the main issues were defined, understandings were formulated with respect to the main aspects of the current situation in the region, and the desired future situation was developed. At a later stage of the process, the group determined aims for advancement, defined directions of action and suggested a range of projects for implementation.
What are the central issues that the strategy deals with?
Binyamina train station Interface between Bicycles as a mode of transport
public transport activists and municipalities
Parking Carpooling Development oriented towards public transport
Raising awareness Walkability Laying new roads
Regional traffic regulation Connectivity between Educating the public communities to change travel habits
What’s happening in our region:
As part of the strategic planning, Tamar Keinan, the expert accompanying the group, examined the current situation in the region of the Partnership. The region is characterized by a number of main trends:
Bicycles – the region of The Partnership for Regional Sustainability is characterized by a highly-developed awareness and culture of cycling. In most of the councils that are partners in the Partnership, there are programs for developing cycle paths, although currently there is still a lack of cycle path infrastructure in most councils. Most use of bicycles is still for the purpose of sport and leisure and less for daily needs.
Public transport – the suburban nature of building in the communities is a challenge for public transport. In the region of the Partnership there are many service lines, however, the level of service of the public transport is inadequate (connectivity, travel times, frequency). One of the reasons for this is that there is no regional arrangement with public transport companies or with the Ministry of Transport.
Train station – the location of the Binyamina train station is an unfulfilled potential. The surroundings of the train station are biased towards private vehicles and the connectivity of public transport to the train station is inadequate.
What can be done?
- Regional service lines operated by the partner councils
- A system of carpooling to the train station in the region and creation of parking for carpoolers in the carpark of the train station to reduce heavy traffic and parking
- A full network of cycle paths that allows daily travel from place to place within and between communities
- A common and safe walking/cycling program for schools
75% of the people who use the Binyamina train station reach the station in private vehicles, a situation that causes heavy traffic in the region, parking problems around the station and much time spent looking for parking every day. A collaboration between The Partnership for Regional Sustainability, Israel Railways and the transport organization Today and Tomorrow, generated a first-of-a-kind pilot in Israel: Israel Railways set aside a designated parking area at the Binyamina station for travelers who share their journey in a private vehicle (driver + at least two passengers). The aim of this innovative process is to allow more people to use the train while giving up on driving to the station. Twenty designated parking spots were set aside in the first stage of the pilot. The number and mode of use of these parking spots are documented and in the event that demand exceeds supply, Israel Railways will expand this exclusive parking area. Likewise, in accordance with the success of this experiment, the process will be expanded to other stations in the region and eventually throughout the country.
Linking up to carpooling can be done in many ways, including via the Moovit Carpool service. Car drivers are welcome to register on the Moovit Binyamina website in order to offer a journey to other travelers. At this stage, the service is available to Android users.