Travel to work in Australian capital cities, 1976–2006

All authors:
Mees, P., O’Connell, G., Stone, J.
Host organisation: CoE Melbourne, Australia
Country: Australia
Publication year: 2008
Published in:
Urban Policy and Research, Vol. 26 (3): 363—378.
Research theme: Policy and Planning
transport policies, trends, modes of ransport, journey to work, peak-hour traffic volumes, Australia
Research article
Increasing traffic levels are causing concern in all of Australia's large cities. The sustainability of current urban transport patterns is also being questioned, in light of climate change and the rising price of oil. All State and city governments claim to be committed to reducing the dominance of the motorcar and promoting alternatives, but their transport policies are not always consistent with these declarations. The Victorian government recently released modelling results suggesting that mode shift away from cars is not an effective policy response to greenhouse emissions, because these can be addressed through more efficient engines, increases in car occupancy rates and behavioural change programs such as 'Travelsmart'. Even in states with a stronger commitment to mode shift away from the car, actual policies tend to follow a 'balanced transport' model in which improvements to public transport proceed in tandem with new motorway construction. This paper seeks to contribute to transport policy debates by examining trends in the modes of transport used for the journey to work in Australian capital cities, employing data from the census conducted each five years. Although the journey to work only accounts for a minority of urban travel, it is the major factor behind peak-hour traffic volumes. And because the Australian census has incorporated a question about the mode of travel used for the journey to work since 1976, much more information is available about this type of travel than other journey types.
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