Public transport accessibility in metropolitan areas: A new approach incorporating population density

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, technology - geographic information systems, operations - frequency, land use - urban density, ridership - commuting, planning - surveys


PTAI, Public transport, Accessibility, Network analysis, Population density


Improving public transport accessibility can be considered an effective way of reducing the external costs and negative side effects of motorized commuting. Although there have been many studies conducted that have measured access levels to public transport stops/stations, there has been limited research on measuring accessibility that integrates population density within geographical areas. This study develops a new measure that considers public transport service frequency and population density as an important distributional indicator. A public transport accessibility index (PTAI) is formulated for quantifying accessibility within local areas in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. A public transport network model is applied to identify the service coverage of public transport modes using a Geographical Information System (GIS). A consistent method is introduced for evaluating public transport accessibility for different levels of analysis, from single elements, including public mode stops to network analysis. The Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) is used to evaluate the index and examine the association between commuting trips undertaken by public transport and the level of accessibility within the Melbourne metropolitan region. Furthermore, the new index is compared with two existing approaches using the VISTA dataset. Key findings indicate that the PTAI had a stronger association whilst showing more use of public transport in areas with higher values of the PTAI.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Journal of Transport Geography home Page: