Are they serious? It's fashionable for councils to declare climate emergencies these days. But what are they actually doing to tackle climate emergency?
Is it just words if they don't offer any encouragement or initiatives to help ratepayers know what they can do to change their behaviour and start to make a small difference?
At a global webinar recently, mobility futurist Tim Papandreou said: "Round-trip car sharing is the only proven tool that can change the congestion situation and create the precipitous drop needed in car ownership.
"It's the first thing I would focus on if I led a city."
Emissions caused by cars are one of the biggest contributors to the climate emergency, but what is the council doing?
Councils around the country have declared the house is on fire but they're keeping the gas on.
The car and our attitude to it need a serious rethink. One simple action businesses and local government could act on is to support and encourage a reduction in car ownership and use round trip car share.
This small change would achieve better traffic flow, and result in fewer cars sitting in traffic jams which means less pollution. Back to base car share is recognised as the next big transport mobility disrupter.
Research shows two thirds of car journeys are short – less than 2km. So most people have an expensive large machine parked for 94 per cent of the time to do largely short journeys which could often be done via walking/biking.
Without a car, people question how many trips do I really need in a car or could I walk, bike, bus, train and so on. This change in behaviour from not owning a car doesn't happen with other transport modes, it comes from car share because it's the closest thing to car ownership.
Car sharing helps people think differently while offering them what car ownership does, mobility and flexibility.
Auckland Transport research last year showed over 49 per cent of Cityhop members no longer owned, had sold a car or delayed buying a car after joining the car share service. This is the equivalent of every Cityhop car removing 14 private cars off the road.
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Car share members drive less - on average 2000km less. This provides significant reductions in congestion, emissions and creates more public space.
Research shows two thirds of car journeys are short – less than 2km. So most people have an expensive large machine parked for 94 per cent of the time to do largely short journeys which could often be done via walking/biking. For longer journeys when you need a car - carshare is the answer.
It's the gateway for owning one less car and using all the other mobility choices. So what could our councils do?
We need good local government leadership and what Tim Papandreou calls some civic guard rails. If this new mobility doesn't meet core fundamental criteria than councils aren't looking out for their residents, workers or visitors.
Guard rail number one, is safety. Does the mobility provider offer a safe operating system?
Car share operators in New Zealand abide by the Land Transport Act, have a rental service licence and cars have a Commercial Warrant of Fitness which means a higher standard of safety.
Papandreou says the world over, the private car is over subsidised and car share is undersubsidised so we need to work out how to flick that switch.
The more cars added to car share, the better chance of reducing individual cars.
Papandreou suggests cities start with themselves, show leadership, give every council employee a car share membership and get rid of the council fleet. The car share operator will operate them better, maintain them better and more people can use them out of hours. The same is true for business fleets.
Cities should make laws so that every new residential or commercial development has to provide car share. It creates a virtuous cycle and steady supply.
Make sure there are always car share spaces near hubs, transit, and places with a lot of retail shopping. Anywhere people gather, make more space for car sharing.
Those one or two dedicated car parks will be used 10 times more than a private car will use the space, there will be more synergy, less people owning, more space freed up, more money saved and then spent locally, it's a virtuous cycle. Better still, it will be a significant plank in a climate change programme.
• Victoria Carter is chair of the International Carsharing Assoc and founded Cityhop NZ's largest car share operator which she sold last year.