Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit, place - australasia


pulbic transport, patronage levels, mode share, useage patterns, light motor vehicles


The last few years have seen substantial rises in passenger numbers across many Australian public transit systems, partially due to periods of higher than average fuel prices and to various infrastructure expansions. To properly assess the likely scope for any future changes in patronage levels, across the various urban passenger modes, a sound knowledge of what has happened over time, in urban transport patterns, can be of significant value. This paper presents long-term time-series for the usage patterns of Urban Public Transport (UPT) – compiled for each of the Australian capital cities, and covering a period of more than a century (1900 to 2010). Such long-term historical estimates demonstrate how radically the share of total urban travel due to UPT has changed over time – with public transit dominant through the early part of last century, and still accounting for more than half of total urban passenger-kilometres up till around 1950, before gradually losing market share with the growing popularity of private car travel (resulting in close to 90 per cent of current urban travel being done in light motor vehicles and about 10 per cent by rail, bus and ferry). Long-term trends in patronage levels (both total and per capita) are given for the various UPT modes, along with aggregate modal share patterns across the Australian capital cities.