Public transport vital but must meet community needs: ACTCOSS
ATSB reviewing derailments, finalises reports
Limited real-time freight data causing delays
The contribution of rail in Australia
This 100-year-old rail line could connect Canberra to the coast
Another light rail election on track after Libs slam contract delays
Construction underway on Canberra’s 14th light rail stop
National Cabinet raises IA evaluation threshold, takes national approach to port infrastructure charges
Meeting business and community expectations
Canberra light rail: Decision in hands of Environment Minister, Sussan Ley
Prior to the pandemic, it was pretty much taken for granted by most of those interested in cities that the long-term future of Australia’s capitals would be public transport. But now the great advantage of public transport – shifting large numbers of people in a small space – looks like it could be a serious weakness.
Absent a vaccine or breakthrough therapies, will Australia’s capital cities grind to a halt, choked by endless streams of dirty, dangerous and noisy cars? As travellers seek an alternative to trains, buses and trams, will traffic congestion spread across most of the day and across more and more streets?
Perhaps, but if so it won’t be because public transport became less attractive. Public transport has a critical role in cities and likely will have a much bigger role in the years to come, but even before the pandemic it was never going to be the way of the future.
The key challenge was always to find ways to improve private transport and, in particular, to civilise cars. There’s a number of reasons why public transport was never likely to replace cars as the dominant mode in Australia’s major metropolitan areas.
Australia’s low density cities aren’t friendly to public transport. High capacity public transport needs concentrated destinations and/or origins, whereas Australia’s capital cities are mostly dispersed; that’s true for jobs as well as residences.
Consider that even in inner city Melbourne, there’re only circa 350,000 residents living within approx 5 km radius of the CBD, compared to 2.2 million residents in the comparable area of transit-oriented Paris. There’re also around 36 million visitors annually overnighting in Paris.
Appeal of private transport
Private transport – mostly cars – out-competes public transport in Australian cities for the great bulk of trips in terms of travelling time, convenience, privacy and comfort. Private transport accounts for 84% of all motorised travel in metropolitan Sydney and 89% across all capital cities.
Travellers value the attributes of private transport highly and they’re prepared to pay a lot for them e.g. the average motorist pays over $10,000 p.a. to own and operate a car, rather than the circa $2,000 p.a. it costs for an annual unlimited public transport pass.
Public transport was once the dominant urban mode in Australia, supported by a huge network of publicly provided train and tram infrastructure. It was effectively annihilated by the car in a handful of decades. Its mode share of urban transport collapsed from 90% of motorised passenger kms in 1920 to 25% by 1960.
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2021 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.