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New study measures support for public transport policies in Sydney

27 April 2018
Analysing support for transport policies in inner Sydney
There are high levels of support for a public bike share program and more cycle paths in inner Sydney areas, according to a new study by University of Sydney researchers.

Despite Sydney residents supporting transport policies most relevant to their own lives, there is a high level of overall support for cheaper public transport and a public bike-share program, according to a new survey.

The findings are published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health today, and are led by Professor Chris Rissel from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

“Investment in bicycle paths and public transport in inner-Sydney makes sense both from a health and traffic congestion point of view,” said Professor Rissel.

“Our study shows there is already significant public support for active travel in Sydney. The high level of support was consistent, regardless of age, sex and how people commuted to work.”

The study was based on a cross-sectional online survey of 846 participants aged between 18 and 55 from inner Sydney areas including Redfern and Glebe.

Key findings:

  • 85 percent support for cheaper public transport
  • 82 percent support for more bicycle paths separated from motor vehicles
  • 72 percent support for a public bike-share program

Support for a public bike share program similar to those in London and Melbourne was relatively high, with 71.6 percent of respondents agreeing with the potential policy. The lowest level of support was among current bike users themselves (64.6 percent) and the highest was from walkers (80.7 percent).

Other active travel supportive policies to receive high levels of support in the study included making public transport cheaper and having more bicycle paths separated from cars.

Motor vehicle restrictive policies including reducing motor vehicle speeds to 30km in built up areas, received lower levels of support.

Reducing the number of car parking places received the lowest overall support at 13.6 percent.

The overall support for other potential policies included:

  • Increasing the cost of car parking (21.5 percent)
  • Building more urban freeways (30.8 percent)
  • Implementing more traffic calming measures such as blocked street sections (32.4 percent).

The authors write, “Transport planning in Sydney and other Australian capital cities has historically, and continues to be, focused on motor vehicle solutions, such as building bigger and more extensive motorways.

“However, motorised modes of transport are costly and unsustainable, and active travel options are important from a health, congestion avoidance, and sustainability perspective.”

The study was authored by Professor Rissel with Associate Professor Li Ming Wen and Melanie Crane from the School of Public Health, and Professor Stephen Greaves, Chris Standen and Richard Ellison from the University of Sydney Business School's Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies.

Katie Booth

Media & PR Adviser