Carbon reductions and co-benefits: final report – part I
Describes current planning and policy interventions in place in Australia to encourage low carbon active transport forms such as walking, cycling and using public transport.
Project RP2015 was a scoping study designed to inform the CRC on the needs for R&D on the potential health and productivity co - benefits of low carbon planning and design for precincts. This Part I report provides a review of international research on co - benefits, examining and discussing current Australian policies in this area. The report meets the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living’s (CRC LCL) milestones R2.4.1 ‘Audit of current Australian policies (national, state, metropolitan and regional urban planning and health policies)’ and U2.4.1 ‘ Policies (nationa l, state and local) where the co - benefits calculator can be used identified ’, and provides directions for the CRC’s research on co - benefits. Co - benefits are defined to be ancillary benefits – such as community health and productivity gains – that result fr om intentional decisions to address low carbon living through energy demand and greenhouse gas emission reductions, with a focus on low carbon precincts.
The report describes current planning and policy interventions in place in Australia to encourage low carbon active transport forms such as walking, cycling and public transport. It describes the importance of research on co - benefits and the need for the CRC to support a major research initiative in this field. Such a project will identify and quantify co - benefits for public health and productivity from the planning and evaluation of low carbon urban precincts – the core activity of the CRC’s Low Carbon Precincts research program.
The review found clear and growing interest in co - benefits, but also indicate s that while there are some significant programs in the health sector, these interests are largely uncoordinated, especially from an urban planning perspective. In addition, there is a need for quantitative tools to allow the co - benefits to be included in the economic evaluation process of precinct assessment. The review found three relevant existing tools: the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) transport project evaluation tool and the United Nations University (UNU) co - benefits evaluation framework. Contrary to some expectations at the start of the study, there are few, if any, ‘co - benefits calculators’ suitable for use by planners, government agencies and devel opers. None of the precinct assessment tools such as Local A rea Envisioning and Sustainability S coring System (LESS) and Sustainable Systems Integration Model (SSIM), Precinx and Mutopia (see Newton et al, 2013) include co - benefits calculations, although t here is a clear desire to include these in evaluations. Further, none of the existing tools (HEAT, UNU and NZTA) are explicitly designed for use in precinct assessment. While each of the existing tools has useful aspects for inclusion in co - benefits analys is for precinct assessment, none of them provide a stand - alone capability.