Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, mode - mass transit, ridership - modelling, ridership - growth, ridership - forecasting


public transport use, Australian cities, patronage growth, population growth


From the end of the Second World War in 1945 to the late 1970s, Australian urban public transport (UPT) suffered a large decline in absolute terms, and much more in mode share terms, as car ownership and suburban development boomed.

This report models UPT in the period from the late 1970s - when the decline in UPT mode share started to bottom out. The aim has been to be able to develop models of UPT that would allow long-term forecasting of UPT demand to be made. These would then be available to inform policy decisions regarding UPT infrastructure planning, urban transport reform, urban form, congestion and road safety. The basic finding of the modelling was that UPT’s share of total passenger travel has been basically flat at about 10 per cent from the late 1970s to 2004. But from 2005 to 2010 the UPT share rose, due to lower UPT fares and constraints on household disposable income. Forecasting using the models reveals that the rapid growth in UPT in the late 2000s is likely to slow. Nevertheless, even with lower growth rates, UPT demand should increase by about one third between 2010 and 2030, with implications for infrastructure provision and other policy issues associated with public transport in our cities.


© Commonwealth of Australia 2013