27 September 2023

Public transport loses way at the fringes

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A report on the accessibility of public transport in Australia’s major cities published by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has found growing communities on the outskirts of the cities are the most poorly serviced.

In its report Outer Urban Public Transport: Improving Accessibility in Lower-Density Areas , the independent IA says the communities are being left behind at a time when the nation should be preparing for unprecedented population growth in the coming years.

Executive Director of Policy and Research for IA, Peter Colacino said Infrastructure Australia was calling on State Governments to improve the efficiency of existing transport networks and consider new models to service communities in the growing outer suburbs.

“While existing transport infrastructure serves inner city areas well, people living on the outskirts of our major cities are being disadvantaged by a lack of access to frequent public transport services,” Mr Colacino said.

“This impacts on their ability to access jobs, education and other opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.”

He said close to half the population of the five largest cities — Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide — lived in the outer suburbs.

“However, our research shows that people living in these areas experience lower levels of service and accessibility to public transport, poor service frequencies and longer travel times compared to inner city residents,” Mr Colacino said.

He noted that traditional public transport models were most efficient and effective in areas of high demand, often requiring higher density.

“However, new technology and delivery models, such as on-demand buses, offer an immediate opportunity to confront these challenges by increasing the flexibility and reach of the network and therefore serving a more diverse range of destinations,” Mr Colacino said.

IA’s 89-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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