The “Carless whisper” project is part of the Dandenong South (DS) Integration Plan. Recognising that automobiles are not a sustainable mode of transportation and may hinder certain groups of workers from accessing the DS, this project proposes alternative modes of transportation. The strategies include improving amenities at transit stops and creating a walkable environment. Additionally, this project considers the use of micro transit concept for employee transportation and micro mobility to facilitate workers' movements within the industrial areas. The short-term implementation will take place through a pilot project in certain test sites prior to the broader application of the strategies.

Unlocking access vulnerability in Dandenong South

The abundance of job opportunities in manufacturing industries in Dandenong South must be accessible for all the potential workforce regardless of car ownership.

What problem does this project attempt to solve?

The “Carless whisper” project is part of the Dandenong South Integration Plan. This project focused on enhancing current transit amenities and improving walkability to make public transportation more attractive. Dandenong South (DS) industrial area is currently not well served by public transport, making it more reliable and convenient to travel there by car. As a result, disadvantaged workers were unable to take advantage of the abundance of job opportunities. With better public transit amenities, it is expected that those workers could have greater access to job opportunities in manufacturing sector, which are likely to provide better and more stable employment.

Why is it crucial to increase public transportation access?

Poor accessibility prevents workforce with low educational attainment and workforce from ethnically diverse background from taking advantage of job opportunities in the area. If no action is taken to improve public transportation, accessibility could make them feel compelled to purchase a vehicle. Whereas, having a car could result in a financial trap. It would reduce a significant portion of their income that could force them to sacrifice other necessities like quality food and reducing their potential to spend money for the local economy. Furthermore, car dependence is detrimental to the physical and mental health of workers as well as to the environmental sustainability.

What is the plan for addressing this issue? and where will it be implemented?

The attractiveness of public transportation will be enhanced by providing proper amenities for bus stops, including better footpaths. It is expected that there will be a pedestrian network that connects bus stops, workplace, training center, place to socialise, and other destinations. Besides increasing the attractiveness of public transportation, an appropriate network of footpaths could also make the area more active and vibrant due to the stimulating effect on human activity on the ground.

Hammond Road Corridor, a site for testing the intervention

A bus stop in Hammond Road corridor is chosen to be a testing site. It is situated in proximity to Swift Way where there are some destinations aside from workplace, such as diners as well as potential training centre and community hub. An unsealed footpath is proposed as concrete footpaths are not feasible due to the existence of some underground utilities. Planting more trees will be critical to the success of this initiative as trees provide shade, a cooling effect, and fresh air to make walking more pleasant and enjoyable.

Implementation plan and possible further actions

Aside from providing a proper bus shelter and footpath in Hammond Road, short term implementation will include tactical road allocations along Nicholas Drive. Further strategy to unlock access vulnerability is to advocate for the introduction of a micro transit concept for workers that links the main transit gate (Dandenong Station) with the industrial area. Additionally, a concept of micro mobility with shared bicycles or scooters could provide an alternative method of supporting worker’s mobility within the industrial area.
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