- Last updated:
- 26 May 2022
- ThinkChange is council’s branded travel behaviour change program and is a key action of council’s Integrated Transport Strategy.
- ThinkChange aims to sustain and enhance the unique lifestyle and environment of the region by facilitating a shift towards more sustainable travel choices. It achieves this by supporting people to think about and plan ways to make their life easier by doing things differently, now and into the future.
- ThinkChange is focused on empowering everyone in the community to make small changes that can have a large, collective and lasting impact. It embraces a collaborative approach working with people and organisations to identify ways they can reduce their car use.
- ThinkChange encourages and supports all of us to think differently about how we get to and do our activities, so that we have less congestion and better liveability on the Sunshine Coast. It doesn’t rely on waiting for physical changes to the environment, but it will build on changes that give people more travel choices over time. It’s about generating new, and often simple, ideas and turning them into action.
ThinkChange was developed through collaboration and participation with key internal and external stakeholders during each development stage. Over the past two years, council has consulted and collaborated with the Sunshine Coast community through:
- engagement with stakeholders from council, State Government, non-government organisations large and small, workplaces and schools
- targeted engagement with and listening to the community – people who live, work and play in the Sunshine Coast and who would benefit from a program of ThinkChange initiatives aimed to protect and enhance the lifestyle and environment of the Sunshine Coast.
From this consultation a clear understanding was gained of what the community loves about the Sunshine Coast - the sunshine, the beaches and hinterland, their communities, the walks, the cleanliness, and the family friendliness. However, there is concern over the impacts of population growth, with increasing traffic and congestion. Nevertheless, when asked, people could think about small changes that would reduce their car use such as:
- going to a closer activity
- doing something as part of another trip
- using online services
- sharing a ride
- asking a friend or neighbour to do something for you on their trip
- replacing a short car trip with walking, scooting or cycling.
Some people may already be implementing this approach without consciously realising it!
ThinkChange will deliver a coordinated rolling program of initiatives in partnership with willing organisations and individuals who are prepared to reduce their car use to achieve lifestyle benefits.
The Sunshine Coast region prides itself on its lifestyle, competitive advantage and outstanding natural assets. Without intervention, an increasing population heavily reliant on private car use, is likely to negatively impact our liveability, now and into the future.
The current level of car use on the Sunshine Coast is unsustainable and incompatible with council’s vision as Australia’s most sustainable region: Healthy. Smart. Creative. In the context of increasing driver licence holding levels in the region, continuing trends of higher household car ownership levels leading to more vehicle trips, and transport’s contribution to emissions, the imperative for change could not be greater. Combined with a rapidly growing population, and as new businesses and new residents choose the Sunshine Coast as their home base, there is a great opportunity and need to change the trajectory of travel choice. The reality is that people, whether long term residents or newly arrived, control the outcome through the choices they make.
Bold action is needed if we are to modify our travel behaviours and achieve a healthier, more connected, and sustainable region. That action is ThinkChange.
ThinkChange presents a significant and exciting opportunity to decide on the future (aspired to by council and residents) and plan for that, rather than relying on the predict and provide approach.
Even little changes at an individual level have the potential to have a big impact, with an expected cumulative effect across the Sunshine Coast.
Achieving a reduction in private car use (i.e. less car trips, less car kilometres travelled and more efficient use of the car) offers significant benefits both to individuals and wider society, including:
- improved health and wellbeing
- reduced carbon emissions
- increased productivity and economic prosperity
- deferred investment in infrastructure
- reduced inequality
- improved mobility and liveability
- improved public places in which to live, work and play.
ThinkChange initiatives will be grouped into five broad categories, with activity across the region. A selection of pilot initiatives will start things off, with an aim to expand over time. A process for working with the community to identify and co-design new initiatives will be implemented. The five categories of initiatives are:
- Community-based: initially focusing on new estates, then extended to existing developments
- Education-based: initially focusing on 1-2 schools, then extending across the region
- Workplace-based: initially focusing on new, expanding or moving organisations, then turning to established workplaces
- Event-based: initially focusing on smaller scale regular events like sporting club matches and activities, then expanding to larger, less frequent events
- Visitor-based: focusing on the travel choices of people who visit the Sunshine Coast.
No matter where you live on the Sunshine Coast, you can play a role in reducing car use and get involved in ThinkChange. You don’t need to be part of a formal ThinkChange initiative. It will be easier for some people than others. The thing to remember is small changes can add up to something bigger. Here are some tips to get you started thinking about your life and travel:
- Rethink: Can you plan ways to make life easier by doing things differently?
- Reroute: Can you take a road less travelled and discover the Sunshine Coast?
- Retime: Could you travel at a different time to avoid traffic?
- Reduce: Can you plan your day or week so that you make less trips and enjoy the added benefit of more time for yourself?
- Remode: Are there short trips you make in the car that could be done by walking, scooting or cycling?
ThinkChange is not for council to deliver on its own. This is a program that is designed with organisations, businesses, and community groups in mind. Council encourages you to ThinkChange about benefits to you and the community.
To get started on a ThinkChange initiative in your area, in your organisation, or for your event we suggest you do the following:
Have a conversation amongst yourselves about the specific problem(s) you are trying to address and how it relates to ThinkChange. Some questions to get you started – What is being impacted? Is there traffic congestion? Is it taking longer to get places? What is your desired outcome? When you clearly articulate the problem, solutions become more obvious!
Once you have identified the issue and thought about any potential solutions, contact Sunshine Coast Council – the website will have details about the ThinkChange contacts. Don’t worry you won’t need to have all the solutions and answers before you contact us. We are here to support and work with you.
Council is rolling out a multi-year ThinkChange program, with a selection of pilot initiatives to start off with. Beyond these, there are willing partners with other identified opportunities that can follow. We also want to work with any new partners in business, and the community to identify and co-design other initiatives.
Whenever there is a new initiative within ThinkChange it will follow the process of ‘co-design’ – ensuring the people it effects are part of the process of designing the solution. The co-design process will identify the issues, design a solution and a plan, identify who can help and collaborate, and put it into action. The goal is agreement on what the initiative is trying to achieve and how it will achieve them, so that measures can be put in place to assess impact.
You can choose to take part by changing things you do or by coming up with ideas for others to do. ThinkChange is about supporting you to do that. Any time you have any questions or ideas you can contact council on the following details: 07 5475 7272, ThinkChange@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or online at sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
The Transport Levy will likely fund the majority of ThinkChange initiatives. Funding will therefore be limited and be sought annually through the Transport Levy budget process for council’s consideration.
Participating partner organisations are required to nominate and commit at least a primary representative and resource the equivalent of approximately one day per week for the duration of the initiative to work in partnership with council and any skilled consultant(s). The commitment of resources, consumables and existing support systems will be the subject of negotiation for each initiative.
Go back to the ThinkChange webpage.