People, not price

Population density is likely to be the main influencing factor for Sydney bus users

People, not price

Studies have shown the public transport users in Sydney are more likely to be influenced by population density than any other factor.

A recent study by the University of Sydney Business School’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) found an increase of 10 per cent in the number of people living in a given area produced a boost in demand for public transport of between 5 and 5.6 per cent.

In contrast, the study found that a reduction in fares of 10 per cent increased public transport usage by only 2.1 to 2.6 per cent.

The researchers say demand for public transport in the city is influenced more by population density than any other factor including fares and the standard of services.

 "The message for city planners is that higher density living results in greater demand for public transport and fewer cars on our heavily congested roads," says Senior Research Analyst Patrick Tsai.

Commenting on the New South Wales State Government’s recent decision to increase public transport fares, Tsai says that while unpopular, they were unlikely to have an impact on the current demand for services.

"The unfortunate truth is that existing public transport users tend to be captive and hence increased fare will not force them to shift to other means of travel."

ITLS Chair of Public Transport Professor Corinne Mulley pointed to Green Square on the southern edge of Sydney’s CBD, as an example of the kind of higher density development likely to drive up demand for public transport services.

"Developments, like Green Square, which allow residents to use public transport effectively, are an important way of promoting Sydney as a liveable global city," Mulley says.

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