Public transport makes a crucial contribution to liveable cities providing access to employment, education, recreation and community services, as well as contributing to social equity and relieving traffic congestion.
2011 is seeing unprecedented attention given to public transport policy by our political leaders, media and the public. This reflects growing traffic and public transport congestion due to population growth and delays in overdue transport infrastructure investments. Public transport issues are also gaining greater recognition as a greener urban transport solution, as Australia faces the imperative of a shift to a lower greenhouse gas-emission economy.
An international comparison of public transport mode share (based on journeys to work) shows that Australian cities have a lower share than European cities and some of the larger cities in the USA, including New York and Chicago. However, public transport has greater importance in central areas of our cities. A key challenge confronting public transport operators is how to accommodate rising demand while improving customer satisfaction with the service provided.
Striking a highly positive note, this report traces a quiet revolution within public transport service operations that in the last few years has delivered major benefits to the Australian community. But this report goes further, highlighting research that indicates the path to further improve the customer experience of public transport.