Understanding employee travel behaviours in response to workplace relocation: a case study comparing commuting patterns between Subiaco and Perth, Western Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, policy - sustainable, policy - environment, planning - surveys


Commuting habits, travel behaviours, workplace relocation, carbon emissions, sustainable development


Our built environments offer distinct variables that impact behaviour – throughout the world, and equally within Western Australia. However, an in-depth analysis of extant literature indicates that influencing human behaviour is difficult in the absence of a ‘disruption’ event. Accordingly, this organization-level study examined the disruptive effects of relocating from a Subiaco office to a new office in Perth’s Central Business District on the commute habits of its built-environment professional employees. The relocation occurred during a ‘non-lockdown’ period between July and August 2021 (southern hemisphere winter). The study sought to determine if an office relocation constituted a sufficient ‘disruption’ to affect employees’ commute behaviours, and in contrast to state and national figures, to quantify how micro-communities revise and develop commuting habits in response to changing circumstances. It was expected that the shift would increase public transportation reliance, lengthen commute times, and increase expenditure. The study applied a two-part purposive survey using frequencies and a one-sample Chi-Square test at the 95% confidence level. The distance between the two locations and projected trip times through various modes was calculated using Google Maps. The findings indicate that both Subiaco and Perth had higher public transportation utilisation when compared to state and national numbers as a multi-modal means of commuting. Furthermore, car reliance decreased and general satisfaction with commuting choices increased for the Perth study. This suggests that multi-modal public transportation commute alternatives provided a cost-effective and efficient, alternative. The study identified social value and preference propositions beyond return-on-investment for improving existing idle city assets. Lastly, the study contributes to evolving contemporary cross-disciplinary discourse and body of knowledge in human geography, urban community development, and transportation, and sought to concomitantly determine the potential to further extend this research through concurrent collection of employee daily step count data.


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