Psaros / News

Life without a car puts more people in the fast lane

Mounting traffic congestion in Perth is inspiring a new trend, with contemporary homebuyers gravitating towards the city fringe and choosing to beat the peak-hour rush by living without a car.


According to a Main Roads WA report in March, peak-hour trips now take Perth motorists longer than ever. To make matters worse, congestion is expected amplify over the next decade. This correlates with a nation-wide drop in motor vehicle registrations, with ABS figures revealing growth in car registrations has fallen from 4 per cent to 2.5 per cent over the past five years.


The evidence suggests more people are choosing to live without a car and are instead moving to the city fringe. They’re also making greater use of both public transport and active transport such as cycling. In fact, one in eight Perth commuters currently travel to work via public transport, and that’s expected to grow to one in five by 2031. Cycling trips into the CBD also increased by 16.4 per cent in 2013.


According to Perth property developer Psaros, congestion is now a major factor in attracting buyers closer to the city. Managing Director Mike Enslin said increasing numbers were even choosing to sell their car, or avoid buying one in the first place, as life in Perth becomes increasingly cosmopolitan.


“It’s becoming very evident that people are fed up with being stuck in traffic and would much rather a lifestyle that doesn’t involve long commutes to and from work,” Mr Enslin said.


“Living closer to the city allows for this. We’ve even had some buyers who’ve sold their cars altogether because, for them, it’s simply not a necessity anymore. In effect, it’s very liberating because it allows them to escape the rat-race without actually leaving the city.” 


In inner Perth, the shift away from car ownership has prompted Psaros to explore new initiatives that encourage alternate transport. They range from recharge stations for electric bikes, cycling racks and even a car sharing service where residents can hire an on-site, communal car should they need. Some developments are also being built without car bays.

“For many apartment buyers, sustainability is now a key consideration when choosing a home. We aim to facilitate this lifestyle by building close to public transport or with easy access on bike or foot to businesses, schools, shops, health care, gyms, and sporting and cultural activities,” he said

“We appreciate that not everyone can live without a car. But as Perth becomes more cosmopolitan and higher-density living becomes more common, I think we’ll see an increasing number of people for whom owning a car isn’t essential.”


The environmental and health benefits of not owning a car also translated to financial savings, according to Mr Enslin.  


“Abandoning the car in favour of active transport such as cycling, walking and even catching the bus or train, isn’t just better for the environment and your health, it’s also good for your hip pocket, as you save financially on petrol, servicing, insurance and licencing,” he said.

Bicycling WA CEO Jeremey Murray welcomed new initiatives being incorporated into residential developments that are making it easier for people to leave the car behind, with electric bikes providing a middle ground alternative to motorised transport.


“Bicycling WA supports the adoption and use of electric bikes as a great alternative to the car or, even public transport, especially in suburbs close to the CBD, which are serviced by well-connected bike and shared paths.”