Water transit and excess travel: discrete choice modelling of bus and ferry trips in Brisbane, Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - ferry, place - australasia, place - urban, ridership - mode choice, technology - passenger information


Excess travel, ferry, public transport, mode choice, smart card, Brisbane


Recent investment in urban ferry transport has created interest in what value such systems provide in a public transport network. In some cases, ferry services are in direct competition with other land-based transport, and despite often longer travel times passengers still choose water transport. This paper seeks to identify a premium attached to urban water transit through an identification of excess travel patterns. A one-month sample of smart card transaction data for Brisbane, Australia, was used to compare bus and ferry origin–destination pairs between a selected suburban location and the central business district. Logistic regression of the data found that ferry travel tended towards longer travel times (OR = 2.282), suggesting passengers do derive positive utility from ferry journeys. The research suggests the further need to incorporate non-traditional measures other than travel time for deciding the value of water transit systems.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.