Posted: June 27, 2011 Filed under: Public transport | Tags: ATRF, Department of Transport, environment, fitness, health, Meltlink, patronage, Public transport, Simon Gaymer, Victoria
Factors affecting public transport patronage growth, 2002-07, Melbourne (DoT)
According to a recent paper, research by the Victorian Department of Transport (DoT) suggests concern for the environment and a healthy lifestyle is a key driver of the recent surge in public transport patronage in Melbourne.
DoT initially concluded that the primary drivers of growth over the period 2002-07 were population growth, higher petrol prices and growth in CBD jobs (see exhibit). Neither traffic congestion nor public transport service quality appeared to play a significant role.
However a large proportion of the patronage increase on trains – equivalent to about 40,000 extra daily passengers – was not explained by the variables and/or the elasticities that DoT assumed in its modelling. This unexplained increase is labelled “Other factors” on the exhibit.
Some research undertaken by Dot and Metlink suggested it might possibly relate to attitudinal factors. Of the top eight reasons given by respondents for reducing their vehicle use, environmental concerns and health & fitness ranked equal second behind petrol prices, but ahead of parking costs.
DoT subsequently undertook a telephone survey of 1500 Melburnians aged over 16 years, asking them about their attitudes to travel options and their existing travel patterns. Using cluster analysis, the researchers identified six main “attitudinal segments”:
Public transport lifestylers (19%) – “Using public transport as much as possible is just the right thing to do. Apart from being a part of my basic day to day life, it has the advantage of being better for the environment when compared to other transport modes”
Public transport works for me (17%) – “I value the time I spend on public transport. I get things out of using public transport that I wouldn’t with other modes”
Public transport rejecters (18%) – “I wouldn’t use public transport even if it was free”
Car works for me (16%) – “Car is the most convenient and useful way for me to get around. It’s not that I have a big problem with public transport; it’s just that it doesn’t suit me as much”
Agnostics (15%) – “I’m just not all that interested in the matter of how I get around. Some people are car people and some like public transport, but I’m not overly fussed either way. If you changed the public transport system, I probably wouldn’t even notice”
Convertibles (15%) – “I use my car mainly but am actually pretty open to using public transport more….but it will need to improve before I do”
Thus according to this research, nearly a fifth of Melburnians are now Public transport lifestylers who “align themselves with public transport due to a strong belief in environmental and sustainability issues, as well as a desire to live a healthy lifestyle”. What’s surprising is that all six segments have almost no (significant) relationship with age, gender, income, education or distance from the CBD e.g. the large Lifestylers segment is not just made up of inner city Greens voters.
While respondents in this segment don’t necessarily all use public transport, the paper concludes that “the results strongly point to attitudinal change having played a significant role in recent patronage growth”.
I’d like to, but I don’t buy the implication that this attitude is a major independent driver of patronage growth. My interpretation is that there’s a cluster of people who have green attitudes and not surprisingly also have a positive attitude to public transport. But I don’t think they’d use public transport in significantly greater numbers if it took longer or was more expensive than the alternatives. They’d use public transport for the same reasons most people do – because for some trips it’s cheaper and/or faster than the alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 10, 2010 Filed under: Energy & GHG, Planning | Tags: Alphington, environment, forest, golf, Green Acres Gold Club, Ivanhoe, Kew Golf Club, Latrobe Golf Club, park, Yarra river
As I noted yesterday, the Yarra River park system – that ribbon of green that runs north east from the vicinity of inner suburban Kew and Abbotsford to Warrandyte State Park – is one of Melbourne’s great assets. Few other cities have such a vast expanse of relatively undeveloped land threaded through residential areas so close to the city centre.
Like Melbourne’s green wedges it is used for all sorts of purposes, but rather than the sewage works, quarries and airports that sully the good name of the wedges, the Yarra River park system is mostly occupied by real “green” uses – primarily golf courses and sporting fields. At the time these facilities were established, this land was floodplain with few alternative uses.
Just looking at the Melways, I can see 10 golf courses along the Yarra, of which six are clustered at the southern end of the river around Fairfield-Ivanhoe. There’s a nine hole course in Yarra Bend Park, Yarra Bend Public Golf Course at Fairfield, Latrobe Golf Course at Alphington, Green Acres Golf Club at Kew, Kew Golf Club, Ivanhoe Public Golf Course, Freeway Public Golf Course at Bulleen, Yarra Valley Country Club at Bulleen, Rosanna Golf Club and Heidelberg Golf Club at Lower Plenty.
The Yarra River park system is a very special asset, but I’m not sure it’s used as well as it could be. In particular, there’s very little forest in the park. There’s a bushland area around Wilson Reserve in Ivanhoe that’s used by locals for walking, but its small and one of very few within the lower reaches of the park system.
Melbourne could however have one of the largest urban forests of any city in the world. Such an asset would provide enormous environmental, recreational and tourism benefits for the city.
If the three adjoining private golf courses at Alphington and Ivanhoe, say, were returned to native forest, it would produce a centrally located bushland region covering an area of around three square kilometres – more than eight times the area of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 9, 2010 Filed under: Cars & traffic | Tags: compressed natural gas, electric car, environment, Melbourne, Public transport, sprawl, suburbs
It seems likely that many more Melbourne travellers will drive cars in the foreseeable future than take public transport.
This is not necessarily the disaster that it might at first appear – improvements to the environmental and fuel efficiency of cars will make them much more environmentally friendly and offer a fair trade-off for their many advantages. Read the rest of this entry »