Commuting to work is one of the most important and regular routines of transportation in towns and cities. From a geographic perspective, the length of people’s commute is influenced, to some degree, by the spatial separation of their home and workplace and the transport infrastructure. The rise of car ownership in Australia from the 1950s to the present was accompanied by a considerable decrease of public transport use. Currently there is an average of 1.4 persons per car in Australia, and private cars are involved in approximately 90% of the trips, and public transportation in only 10%. Increased personal mobility has fuelled the trend of decentralised housing development, mostly without a clear planning for local employment, or alternative means of transportation. Transport sector accounts for 14% of Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions. Without further policy action, Australia’s emissions are projected to continue to increase. The Australian Federal Government and the new Department of Climate Change have recently published a set of maps showing that rising seas would submerge large parts of Victoria coastal region. Such event would lead to major disruption in planned urban growth areas in the next 50 years with broad scale inundation of dwellings, facilities and road networks. The Greater Geelong Region has well established infrastructure as a major urban centre and tourist destination and hence attracted the attention of federal and state governments in their quest for further development and population growth. As a result of its natural beauty and ecological sensitivity, scenarios for growth in the region are currently under scrutiny from local government as well as development agencies, scientists, and planners. This paper is part of a broad research in the relationship between transportation system, urban form, trip demand, and emissions, as a paramount in addressing the challenges presented by urban growth. Progressing from previous work focused on private cars, this present paper investigates the use of public transport as a mode for commuting in the Greater Geelong Region. Using a GIS based interaction model, it characterises the current use of the existing public transportation system, and also builds a scenario of increased use of the existing public transportation system, estimating potencial reductions in CO2 emissions. This study provides an improved understanding of the extent to which choices of transport mode and travel activity patterns, affect emissions in the context of regional networks. The results indicate that emissions from commuting by public transportation are significantly lower than those from commuting by private car, and emphasise that there are opportunities for large abatment in the greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector related to efforts in increasing the use of existing public transportation system.
Available online from 7th October 2011
Field of Research
129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design