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Higher density living key to greater public transport usage

09 Jan 2014

The image is courtesy of © State of New South Wales through the Department.

Researchers at the University of Sydney Business School's Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) say that demand for public transport in Sydney is influenced more by population density than any other factor including fares and the standard of services.

A recent study by the ITLS found that an increase of 10 percent in the number of people living in a given area produced a boost in demand for public transport of between 5 and 5.6 percent.

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

"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," said Senior Research Analyst, Dr Patrick Tsai.

The 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," Professor Mulley said.

Commenting on the State Government's recent decision to increase public transport fares, Dr Tsai said 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," Dr Tsai said.