Network planning, Swiss style: making public transport work in semi-rural areas


Tim Petersen

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, ridership - commuting, place - rural


In Australia, it is often taken for granted that public transport cannot attract any significant percentage of passengers outside our largest, most densely-populated cities. Instead, smaller towns and settlements are poorly served– if at all– by 'welfare'-style public transport services that have little effect in reducing car use.

Yet Switzerland is able to provide an attractive public transport system in semi-rural areas: in Zurich's Weinland region, public transport mode share for the journey to work exceeds that of Australia's largest capital cities.

Although semi-rural Switzerland is densely populated, it has developed a model of service provision for high quality public transport that makes efficient use of resources. Regular services are planned to make closely-timed connections in multiple directions, creating an effective regional public transport network with convenient links to national services.

This paper outlines the network planning methods and policies applied in Zurich's Weinland. It extends the analysis in Petersen (2009) which compares the sub-region with Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, and it seeks to draw lessons for public transport service planning in the most densely populated parts of rural Australia.