Indicator Rationale

Access to public transport is a key ingredient for liveability. Efficient and accessible public transport reduces inequities by facilitating access to services, education and jobs for low-income earners who may not be able to afford a car, individuals too young to hold a drivers licence and people with restricted mobility due to disability and/or older age. Additionally, living close to public transport supports community health in two significant ways: by encouraging walking and reducing people’s dependence on cars.

People who live within walking distance of public transport stops, that is, 400m or approximately a 5-minute walk, are more likely to use public transport, and in turn achieve daily recommended exercise targets. However, the incentive to use public transport is also influenced but other factors including comfort, overcrowding, cost, directness of service and service frequency. For example, if residents have access to a nearby public transport stop but this stop is only serviced every 2-3 hours, then there will be less motivation to take public transport due to the inconvenience and cost of waiting.

A public transport stop is considered to have regular service if there is at least one scheduled service every 30 minutes between 7.00am and 7.00pm on a normal weekday. Normal weekdays exclude school and public holidays.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals

Measures

Average distance to closest public transport stop

Percentage of dwellings within 400 m of a bus stop

Percentage of dwellings within 400 m of public transport with a regular 30-minute weekday service (7am and 7pm)

Methodology

Three datasets were used in the GIS analysis: public transport stops, a pedestrian road network and sample points.

Pedestrian road network distances were calculated from each sample point to the closest public transport stop.

Public transport stops with regular service were identified using service timetables data obtained from the OpenMobilityData GTFS feed portal, or state transit agencies. Stops were considered to be frequently serviced if the average interval between departures was 30 minutes or less between 7.00am and 7.00pm, Monday to Friday, excluding school and public holidays. The reference time period used across GTFS feeds for the included public transport indicators was 8 October 2019 to 5 December 2019.

References

Badland H, Mavoa S, Villanueva K, Roberts R, Davern M, Giles-Corti B. (2015). The development of policy-relevant transport indicators to monitor health outcomes and behaviours. Journal of Transport & Health, 2:103-110

Besser LM, Dannenberg AL. (2005). Walking to public transit: steps to help meet physical activity recommendations. Am J Prev Med, 29(4): p. 273-280

Cerin E, Nathan A. (2017). The neighbourhood physical environment and active travel in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 14(1): p. 15

Currie G, Richardson T, Smyth P,  Vella-Brodrick D, Hine J, Lucas K, Stanley J, Morris J, Kinnear R,  Stanley J. (2009). Investigating links between transport disadvantage, social exclusion and well-being in Melbourne—Preliminary results. Transp Policy (Oxf), 16(3): p. 97-105