Passenger Transport Performance across Australia

A collation of articles and websites on passenger transport performance across Australia. Australian Public Transport Barometer  The Australian Public Transport Barometer has been developed in partnership between the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) and L.E.K. to provide up-to-date insights about the performance of major metropolitan public transport networks in Australia. As each of the major … Read more

What are some of the challenges in evaluating public transport?

The difficulty in the appraisal of public transport projects is well understood.

The main issue relates to accurately identifying and describing the costs and benefits.

Any initiative that improves public transport could be expected to increase public transport use.

Costs are short term (capital infrastructure and vehicles) and long term (operations and maintenance), and low or high cost.

Benefits can be short or longer term, quantifiable in monetary terms or described in qualitative terms and difficult to isolate from a whole range of other factors.

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Estimating patronage demand for public transport: optimism or exaggeration?

Large public transport projects require patronage demand estimates for planning and investment purposes. While patronage forecasting has been in use for over 50 years, providing the basis for determining the best option to a transport problem and guide investment decisions, they are more often than not, wrong!

Forecasts involve large data collection and analysis exercises using sophisticated strategic transport models to produce forecasts and estimates. Understanding and making judgements on critical assumptions in these models is complex and there are only a very limited number of experienced public transport forecasting professionals.

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Show me the money

Our cities are slowing down. Traffic speeds have continued to slow in metropolitan cities over the past 10 years.

This affects mobility increases fuel use and vehicle emissions and makes road based public transport slower and more expensive to operate.

Professionals are facing significant challenges in the provision of mobility and access – a major challenge is insufficient funding for needed transport infrastructure and services.

Yes, we can make better use of the existing infrastructure, by reallocating road space and providing priority to higher value use like freight and public transport. And we can increase throughput by the use of intelligent transport systems technology, such as providing priority at traffic signals, or managing traffic flows by variable speed limits and ramp metering.

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Bus network design: CSO or ROI?

Bus network design involves difficult choices, and trade-offs between competing objectives, within funding constraints.

At one end of the spectrum, investment in public bus services aims to achieve the strategic community outcome of moving people in an efficient manner. I refer to this as ROI or return on investment, using the commercial definition.

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Are buses really running so late?

Criticism of the performance of public transport has been in the media, with headlines like: “Brisbane buses late 16 per cent of time”.

This is as a result of the Queensland Government restarting the publication of performance report called TransLink Tracker, with the second quarter of 2015/16 being published this month.

Public transport performance is a key metric to monitor as reliability is a key attractor of patronage (customers value reliability very highly) and it is a key means of ensuring quality of service and value for money.

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Where Next with Public Transport?

The Australian Infrastructure Plan released in February 2016 by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has some key findings and recommendations for public transport across Australia.

With the project growth in population to 30 million over the next 15 years, and 5.9 million of that growth occurring in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, there will be much greater demands on public transport services, and government budgets.

What is needed according to IA is high-frequency, interconnected public transport systems to move people efficiently and comfortably.

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What are fair public transport fares?

Public transport fare policy is complex and fraught with compromises.

Some call for free public transport.

Others suggest the cost of car travel in peak periods should be have a congestion charge to provide a more level playing field (like London and Singapore).

At the same time, governments are trying to balance budgets, with less revenue and increasing demands for services.

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