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Investigation 12 - Car use


Students record how cars are used in their daily lives and in the lives of Australians.

Please note that although your students may have completed other surveys of car use or modes of travel in their schooling,

the CARisma survey collects current data about family car use and is specific to CARisma outcomes. 


Over one week, keep an individual record of your family’s use of the car. To summarise the survey, collate all results and consider, individually and as a class, the possibilities of change.


It is surprising how often we just ‘jump in the car’ to go somewhere.

  • Over one week, each student records the purposes and distances of all the trips done by the family car, whether the student is a passenger or not.
  • At the end of the week: 
    • tally the kilometres travelled each day and then a grand total for the week's travel.
    • list the purposes for all of the trips. 
  • Discuss:
    • Why were all these journeys done by car?
    • How else could people have travelled to complete these errands/purposes? 
    • Calculate the greenhouse gases that have been generated by that car travel.

As a class, students:

  • summarise the various purposes of car travel during the week
  • total the distances travelled for all members of the class 
  • calculate total greenhouse gas emissions generated, using either the Carbon Neutral or Green Vehicle Guide calculator 
  • record the transport alternatives that could have been used considering the distances involved.


Each student chooses three of the trips on their record and:

  • suggests how they could have been travelled using an alternate mode of transport
  • completes a PMI for each choice of travel, considering ease of use, efficiency, environmental impact, etc..

Remember! Save your work.


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