Alternative travel — do you really need to drive?
For many young people obtaining a learner driver licence is a step towards independence. However, others will choose to delay getting their licence for a range of reasons. This section explores travel options for young people other than driving.
Students who choose not to obtain their learner driver licence as soon as they are eligible may need support against peer pressure to get their learner licence before they feel ready.
Those students who prefer an alternative method of travel should still benefit from learning about aspects of driving such as braking distances, how to appear more visible to drivers in bad weather and at night. Also they could learn how best to support their driving friends if they have driven to a party and need to remain sober.
Non-driving students also need to be aware of how they should share the road with other road users and the needs of other road users.
The federal and state government now encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, which are promoted as healthy alternatives to driving a vehicle. There are definite health benefits in walking and cycling that decrease the risk of serious medical conditions later in life.
One reason for choosing not to learn to drive may be the significant financial cost incurred in learning to drive and purchasing a vehicle. Students should discuss the financial pros and cons between various methods of transport.
Students could then identify a route they take regularly, for example, from home to school, from home to a part time job, from home to a sporting venue. They investigate the cost of travelling this route by public transport and compare it to the cost of going by car. (Remember, there are a range of costs involved in running a car including insurance, maintenance, registration and petrol).
Apart from the financial implications, what are some of the other advantages and disadvantages of travelling by public transport and by car?
Questions for discussion:
- What safety issues might exist with alternative forms of travel?
- What forms of alternative travel exist in your community?
- What are the advantages of alternative travel?
- Even when you have your licence, when might you need to use alternative travel?
- What are your attitudes towards other road users?
- How can we ensure that positive attitudes towards other road users are instilled?
Students investigate the environmental arguments for using alternative transport. They discuss the following issues:
- How does keeping more vehicles off the road affect transport alternatives and contribute to cleaner air in busy CBD (central business district) areas?
- How could money that has been spent on road building be diverted to other community facilities?
- It is argued that the more roads that are built, the more people will use them. Therefore, within several years there will be an increase in traffic so that once again the road system will be unable to cope.
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