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Analysis and Comment (34)

Brisbane’s CityCats have helped push up property prices. Brisbane’s CityCats have helped push up property prices. Dan Peled/AAP

What Brisbane’s ferries can teach us about funding public transport

Traditional funding sources are becoming inadequate to meet public transport demands in Australian cities, despite the broad economic and social benefits public transport brings, such as cost savings associated…
We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting for public transport, but would we pay more tax for improvements? We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting for public transport, but would we pay more tax for improvements? Purple Wyrm/Flickr

Six ways to boost funding for better public transport

Although Australia’s tax-to-GDP ratio is low by international standards, no-one wants to discuss how we might pay for the improvements needed to public transport, and even less the need for taxation to…
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore gives car-sharing a try. By 2016, one in ten of the city’s households will have joined a car-share scheme. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore gives car-sharing a try. By 2016, one in ten of the city’s households will have joined a car-share scheme. AAP Image/Paul Miller

1,000 cars and no garage – why car-sharing works

Owning a car can be a hassle, especially if you live somewhere where driving is an occasional, rather than daily, necessity. This might help to explain why car-sharing schemes are going from strength to…
Hidden benefits. Hidden benefits. Roger Mackett

Free bus passes for pensioners are too successful to cut

Taxpayers in Britain spend more than £1 billion a year providing free bus travel. Mostly used by pensioners, some disabled people qualify for this concessionary travel, and there are fears that an austerity-driven…
Helmet-free on Washington DC’s Captial Bikeshare. Helmet-free on Washington DC’s Captial Bikeshare. Ben Schumin

Hard Evidence: do bikeshare schemes lead to more head injuries among cyclists?

Public bikesharing schemes are sprouting up in towns and cities worldwide. The bikes are generally provided without helmets, and this has led to concerns regarding the risk of serious head injuries. It…
Australia’s transport is among the least energy efficient, largely thanks to continuing investment in roads over rail. Australia’s transport is among the least energy efficient, largely thanks to continuing investment in roads over rail. Phillip Capper/Flickr

Australia’s transport is falling behind on energy efficiency

Australia has scored poorly in the energy efficiency of its land transport, and is well behind other major economies, a recent international scorecard has revealed. That means Australians are using more…
Stuck in the past: Sydney’s rail system is crying out for investment, but Australian approaches to fares and funding are out of date. Stuck in the past: Sydney’s rail system is crying out for investment, but Australian approaches to fares and funding are out of date. Chris Hale

Public transport has been let down by our reluctance to pay for it

Public transport has a problem with money. Campaigners often argue that mass transit is a public good in its own right, and hence should be very cheap or even free. Mainstream media and even many self-proclaimed…
Listening to that questionable music is one of the reasons we’re still driving cars. Listening to that questionable music is one of the reasons we’re still driving cars. Rommel Canlas/Shutterstock

To get people out of cars we need to know why they drive

Cars are still the favoured mode of transport in Australia, despite their known environmental and health impacts. We know that alternatives exist — walking, riding, and public transport — that can get…
Roads are the way to go for the 2014 federal budget. Roads are the way to go for the 2014 federal budget. tim rich and lesley katon/Flickr

Federal budget 2014: infrastructure experts react

The Abbott government has committed an additional A$11.6 billion for an “infrastructure growth package” that is heavy on roads, but aimed at fast-tracking what it considers critical infrastructure. The…
High-speed trains, such as this one on the Hangzhou-Shanghai route, will soon link China’s entire urban spine from Beijing to Hong Kong. High-speed trains, such as this one on the Hangzhou-Shanghai route, will soon link China’s entire urban spine from Beijing to Hong Kong. Chris Hale

With a bullet: China’s high-speed rail dream begins to take flight

As a young university student, I first visited Guangzhou during the mid-1990s and found it a gloomy and unsettling place. The third world, undoubtedly. When I went back again in 2010, it was transformed…
Melburnians have taken to the streets to challenge government transport policy priorities. Melburnians have taken to the streets to challenge government transport policy priorities. AAP/Joe Sabljak

Without a national cities policy, who joins all the planning dots?

Australia does not have a national cities policy. But in committing funding to transport infrastructure, the federal government is significantly shaping Australian cities. Local government and community-based…
There hasn’t been a radical increase in violent acts on public transport, despite growing public concern. There hasn’t been a radical increase in violent acts on public transport, despite growing public concern. AAP/Dan Peled

Tranquil travel: violence on our public transport networks

Last month, a video of an elderly man’s alleged assault on a Gold Coast bus went viral on social media after a passenger filmed the confrontation. The incident put the sometimes-ignored issue of violence…
Show me the way to go home. Show me the way to go home. Martin Keene/PA Wire

Commuter chaos, but Tube staff make moral case for strike

Predictably, the newspapers have been full of reports of “Tube chaos”, millions “facing transport misery”. In the Daily Mail, an enterprising editor has conflated the storms which have caused rail cancellations…
More people in fewer cars, especially in the countryside. More people in fewer cars, especially in the countryside. Owen Humphreys/PA

Cars cost more in the country: here’s some ways around it

As a parallel to fuel poverty, where the cost of heating and lighting accounts for 10% of a household’s income, the RAC Foundation has suggested a similar idea of transport poverty. And while Britain’s…
Car Free Day - every Sunday in Jakarta. Car Free Day - every Sunday in Jakarta. Gunawan Kartapranata

How cities of the future could see cars parked for good

Is a car-free city possible? In many European cities walking and cycling already account for more than half of all journeys. In Britain, the Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns project between 2004-08…
The world, north of the M25. The world, north of the M25. HS2

HS2: how will it affect my town?

Professor Peter Mackie Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds Leeds and its metropolitan region should be one of the big winners from HS2. Financial and legal services, engineering consultancy…
It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? Gareth Fuller/PA

Hard evidence: is it possible to forecast HS2’s benefits?

The recent publication of the government’s strategic case for HS2 has added to mounting concerns about the strength and validity of evidence put forward to support the project. Previously, the business…
Leeds should do well, but what about the surrounding towns? Leeds should do well, but what about the surrounding towns? Lad2011

HS2: vital for the north, or just a quick escape route?

David Cameron said recently that opponents of HS2 are “putting the future of the north of England at risk”. Is he right? Professors Colin Bamford and Paul Salveson from the University of Huddersfield present…
Under the sea or through mountains, it’s all the same. Under the sea or through mountains, it’s all the same. Roger Wollstadt

Explainer: how to build a tunnel

Londoners will be aware that there is a lot of work going on under their feet at the moment. There is the new Crossrail railway with eight subterranean stations, expansion of Tottenham Court Road, Bond…
Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. Cars stuck in traffic at an intersection. www.shutterstock.com/e2dan

Stuck in traffic: how to get our cities and economy moving

The strength of Australia’s economy depends on how well our cities function - yet right now, it’s as if we’re driving with the handbrake on. Cities are crucial to productivity. When they work well, they…
Rail has been a part of Federal “knitting” since, well, Federation. Rail has been a part of Federal “knitting” since, well, Federation. Annie Mole

It’s not in the knitting? Urban rail’s growing significance

Tony Abbott has created a new phrase that wonderfully describes a political tradition or paradigm: “not in our knitting”. “We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it’s important that we stick…
Transport in Perth has become a major talking point for the upcoming state election. Transport in Perth has become a major talking point for the upcoming state election. Flickr/eGuide Travel

Ring around the rail in the Western Australian election

Public transport has risen to the top of the campaign to-do list for the upcoming Western Australia election. Both Labor and Liberal have unveiled plans to bring a rail network to the airport - it’s now…
Australia’s transport planners are better than most at dealing with disasters. Australia’s transport planners are better than most at dealing with disasters. AAP Image/Supplied by SES, Samantha Cantwell

Keeping Queensland moving: transport in a flood crisis

Transport access is essential for people to get to the goods and services they need in daily life. Never is that basic access more appreciated, and more desired, than when it’s taken away from us, such…
If you don’t deal with road transport, you’re really not dealing with emissions. If you don’t deal with road transport, you’re really not dealing with emissions. Rachel Wray

Oil’s well in the white paper’s version of future transport

Much of the recent debate over Australia’s new Energy White Paper deals with climate change, the planned growth of Australia’s coal and gas exports, and the future of electricity sector. And although when…
Our lives and lifestyles depend on mobility of people and freight; are we ready to lose that? Our lives and lifestyles depend on mobility of people and freight; are we ready to lose that? Martin Wurt

Wean transport off fossil fuels, or grind to a halt

Over the next 50 years the world will increasingly confront a dilemma. On the one hand, the global economy and local lifestyles depend on the mobility of people and goods. On the other, that mobility depends…
Infrastructure lobbyists are pushing for more funding to fill the “infrastructure gap”, but the investment doesn’t make sense. Infrastructure lobbyists are pushing for more funding to fill the “infrastructure gap”, but the investment doesn’t make sense. Indiana Public Media

Is Australia heading for a transport infrastructure bubble?

Every Australian State and Territory has an ongoing roads program and a “wish list” which it brings to the Federal Government for funding. The current extent of the multi-billion dollar program can be…
London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. London’s Olympic Lanes are getting a lot of negative coverage, but they’re not a recent invention. Joe Goldberg

London Olympics transport - not as bad as you might have heard

The London Olympic Games open on July 27, but designating one lane on the M4 motorway between Heathrow Airport and Central London as an “Olympic Lane” for athletes, officials, sponsors and media has already…
Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Sydney’s Olympics transport couldn’t have been smoother; London’s has already ground to a halt. Andy Rain/EPA

Olympics transport: how did Sydney handle it?

The London Olympics seems paralysed with problems. The latest is protests from taxi drivers - who say they need access to special “Olympics lanes” - which have brought traffic to a halt. Is London going…
US Republicans are sick of urban ‘elites’ and want to take their public transport funds away. US Republicans are sick of urban ‘elites’ and want to take their public transport funds away. Vittorio Sciosia

‘Kill the Subways’: the US Republican revolt and the politics of public transport in Australia

There is a high level of bipartisan support for public transport investment in Australian politics. Parties of all colours are willing to promise rail schemes and bus improvements (in marginal electorates…

Research Briefs (1)

Child hunger level underreported

A new study has shown that addressing child hunger at an individual and family level may not be enough, with only 70% of…