Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bike, mode - pedestrian, mode - mass transit, place - australasia, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - forecasting, policy - sustainable


transport behaviour, commuters, walking, cycling, public transport, Canberra, sustainable travel


To understand the impacts of current policies and to guide planning for future infrastructure and services, it is important to monitor and analyse trends in transport behaviour. The ABS Census is an under-utilized source of travel behaviour data that, because of its method of collection, avoids the problems associated with other survey methodologies that rely on generalisations from small samples. This paper reports on an analysis of travel mode and destination zone for people in the labour force using data from the 2001 and 2006 censuses for the Australian state capitals and Canberra. Destination-zone data is publicly available only for these two censuses. This work builds on earlier analysis of Australian journey to work data between 1976 and 2006. We analyse the spatial distribution of recent growth in urban public transport patronage, as well as walking and cycling, to determine the extent to which inner-city workers are contributing to recent increases in travel by sustainable modes. We expected that, because services and infrastructure are principally designed for this market, work travel to the inner zones of Australian cities would account for most of the growth in the use of sustainable modes of transport. However, for public transport, the results did not follow this pattern. The proportion of work trips by public transport to destinations in the inner zones fell between 2001 and 2006 in all cities except Sydney and Canberra.