March 24, 2011
NSW public transport users are not optimistic about short-term transport improvements even after a change of government this weekend.
The latest quarterly national transport survey from the University of Sydney indicates NSW residents are not confident transport in their local area will improve in the next 12 months.
The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies-Interfleet Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS) shows more than three quarters of NSW residents believe transport in their local area will be the same or worse in a year.
This has remained fairly constant since the first survey was published last March according to Institute Director Professor David Hensher.
“As NSW looks almost certain to move to a new era with a change in government, the absence of increased optimism about NSW’s increasingly squeezed transport systems means significant challenges for a new government,” Hensher says.
“Transport debate during the campaign has rarely progressed beyond which rail project to build first or freeway extensions, which appears not to inspire much confidence from the public.”
Hensher says the Barry O’Farrell-led coalition’s announcement on Bus Rapid Transit could start to change confidence levels.
The latest TOPS survey shows an increase in NSW residents who believe state governments are most responsible for transport in Australia, with more than half of NSW residents rating public transport as the highest priority transport issue in Australia.
“Sixty four per cent of NSW residents think the state is most responsible for transport, compared with 57 per cent last quarter,” Hensher says.
“We saw a similar level in Victoria before that state’s election late last year.”
Despite the NSW result, the TOPS index of Australians’ confidence in transport in their local area has increased from the base of 100 in March last year.
Hensher attributes this to the perceived stability of transport outside of Sydney and Melbourne.
The first national survey to measure transport opinions on a regular basis, TOPS is a reliable indicator of Australians’ ongoing confidence about transport in their local area and transport in Australia.
The March 2011 TOPS report is at sydney.edu.au/business/itls/tops.