Macroscopic road safety impacts of public transport: A case study of Melbourne, Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, planning - safety/accidents


Public transport, Transit, Safety, Crashes, Negative binomial, Conditional autoregressive


Mode shift from private vehicle to public transport is often considered as a potential means of improving road safety, given public transport’s lower fatality rates. However, little research has examined how public transport travel contributes to road safety at a macroscopic level. Further, there is a limited understanding of the individual effects of different public transport modes. This paper explores the effects of commuting by public transport on road safety at a macroscopic level, using Melbourne as a case study. A random effect negative binomial (RENB) and a conditional autoregressive (CAR) model are adopted to explore links between total and severe crash data to commuting mode shares and a range of other zonal explanatory factors. Overall, results show the great potential of public transport as a road safety solution. It is evident that mode shift from private vehicle to public transport (i.e. train, tram, and bus), for commuting would reduce not only total crashes, but also severe crashes. Modelling also demonstrated that CAR models outperform RENB models. In addition, results highlight safety issues related to commuting by motorbike and active transport. Effects of sociodemographic, transport network, and land use factors on crashes at the macroscopic level are also discussed.


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


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