Measuring Public Transport Accessibility in Metropolitan Area

Measuring Public Transport Accessibility in Metropolitan Area

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7943-4.ch001

Abstract

Improving access to public transport can be considered an effective way of reducing the negative side-effects of motorised commuting. This chapter used the large dataset of Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity (VISTA) to introduce a new approach measuring public transport accessibility within the Melbourne region, Australia. A public transport accessibility index (PTAI) is a combined measure of public transport service frequency and population density as an important distributional indicator. Although many studies have measured access levels to public transport stops/stations, there has been limited research on accessibility that integrates population density within geographical areas. Employing geographical information system (GIS), a consistent method is introduced for evaluating public transport accessibility for different levels of analysis, from single elements, including public mode stops, to network analysis. The proposed index is compared with two common existing approaches using regression models. Key findings indicate that the PTAI has a stronger association whilst showing more use of public transport in areas with higher values of the PTAI.
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1.1 Introduction

Shifting from private motorised vehicles to non-motorised modes of transport such as public transportation, walking and cycling can increase the sustainability of transportation and consequently, improve the environment, public health and the economy (Elias and Shiftan, 2012). A user-friendly public transportation system should consider accessibility to stops/stations, the mobility of the system and the connectivity to other transportation modes (Cheng and Chen, 2015). In recent decades, automobile-oriented developments along with increased car ownership have encouraged people to spend more time travelling by car. High levels of car dependency not only affect the quality of life, but also threaten people’s health. On the other hand, growing use of private motorization has resulted in critical issues such as traffic congestion and environmental impacts. Use of public transport has been recently considered within the definition of active transport as it often involves some walking or cycling to make connections from the origins to the destinations (Taniguchi et al., 2013). For this reason, the provision of high levels of accessibility for public transport systems with good connectivity can promote active transport and sustainability.

Australia has been categorized as a country with high car ownership (Lucas, 2012) with particular groups of people such as youths, seniors, low-income households and Aboriginals encountering difficulties in accessing work, education and social or cultural activities (Lucas, 2012, Altman and Hinkson, 2007, Johnson et al., 2011). It has been shown that some suburban and regional areas in Australia are disadvantaged with respect to public transport, where distance is a major barrier (Currie and Stanley, 2007). As Wang and Chen (2015) argued transportation equity affects residents’ economic as well as social opportunities. In other words, transportation problems may result in social exclusion, as reported in several studies (Fransen et al., 2015, Priya and Uteng, 2009, Delmelle and Casas, 2012, Lucas, 2011).

Ceder et al. (2009) argued that an effective public transport service can be defined as minimum in-vehicle travel time and waiting time. Although physical access to public transport stops is important, the time taken to travel between an origin and destination by public transport modes can be considered as another substantial factor (Lei and Church, 2010). Accessibility measures have been generally categorized into three groups, access to public transport stops, duration of journeys by public transport modes and access to destinations by public transport modes (Mavoa et al., 2012). A large number of studies have focused on the proximity to a public transport stop/station for measuring accessibility (Biba et al., 2010, Currie, 2010, Furth et al., 2007, Lovett et al., 2002). Typically, the maximum acceptable walking distance is considered as 400 m and 800 m for public transport stops or stations (Currie, 2010, Currie, 2004, El-Geneidy et al., 2010).

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