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Spatial network analysis of public transport systems : developing a strategic planning tool to assess the congruence of movement and urban structure in Australian cities

Scheurer, J. and Curtis, Carey and Porta, Sergio (2007) Spatial network analysis of public transport systems : developing a strategic planning tool to assess the congruence of movement and urban structure in Australian cities. In: Australasian Transport Research Forum, 2007-09-25 - 2007-09-27.

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This paper introduces a GIS-based tool designed to assess centrality and connectivity in urban public transport networks. Despite some recent progress and supportive rhetoric by policy makers, the public transport systems of large Australian cities remain characterised by market shares significantly below those in most developed cities outside the US. Public transport users and experts have long lamented that sizeable proportions of Australian metropolitan areas have no access to high-quality public transport services and where they do, these services only cover a limited range of possible destinations. Public transport thus largely fails to live up to a ‘go anywhere, anytime’ principle that would make it more competitive with car travel. The spatial network analysis of public transport systems endeavours to identify and visualise strengths and weaknesses of geographical coverage, network connectivity, competitive speed and service levels in a coherent mapping exercise. It is closely linked to the movement and activity centre networks promoted as redevelopment corridors and nodes in recent metropolitan strategies such as Melbourne 2030 and Perth’s Network City, and can thus serve as a communicative tool for transport and land use planners, urban designers and community advocates. The model was first developed in 2006 for Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs in a project initiated by seven local councils and convened by the Metropolitan Transport Forum. In 2007, as part of an ARC Linkage grant on Transit-Led Development in a New Rail Corridor, it is being applied to the entire Perth metropolitan area to conduct a before-and-after assessment of the impacts of the Perth to Mandurah railway opening later in the year.