Transport choices



Transportation is the movement of both people and goods from one location to another using various modal choices1. People use various modes of transport such as road, rail, air or water depending on their choice of travel. In addition, these movements are facilitated by the existence of various transport infrastructure such as roads, railways, airways, canals, waterways, pipelines as well as terminals which are inclusive of airports, railway stations, bus stations truck terminals and warehouses2. The availability of a transport system enhances the existence of trade amongst people which is fundamental in promoting development and civilization. Transport choices provide individuals within a region with a range of both efficient and effective choices as well as information which is very essential and complicated3. Therefore, transport agencies make sure that people have direct and quick access to any public transport facility of choice and at the same time supports the people choices by offering an extensive range of information on topics such as weather road conditions as well as travel times to name a few4. The availability of these transport choices comes with responsibilities which entails monitoring and managing of the transport networks with which the transport choice operates. In addition, responsibilities involving coordinating of a wide range of services intended to offer more predictable travel times is in place to ensure that people possess the right information they require so as to make appropriate travel choices to meet their individual needs. On the other hand, there is a misconception that any investment directed towards a transport system involves cars and roads. In fact, the most effective transport choice in an urban setting which are integral to any modern transport include cycling, walking and public transport to name a few5.

Therefore, this essay will discuss the various modes of transport choices in the city of Perth comparing it to those in Melbourne. In addition, it will discuss the factors that affect an individual’s decision on a certain type of transport system. Furthermore, the essay will demonstrate the individuals response to changes in the economy as well as the governmental policies set to evaluate the effectiveness of various transport systems.

The city of Perth in Australia is characterized with a well-integrated Perth Central Area Transit System which comprises of four bus routes that traverse the centre of Perth. To be specific, two use routes in Fremantle whereas the others routes in Joondalup. In addition, it has the Rockingham City Transit and the Midland Gate Shuttle. Other than the Perth Transit System, the city has a public transport system which comprise of trains, buses and ferries which are offered by Transperth. Perth offers zero-fare train trips to people who frequent the specific transport system6. They have suburban rail systems which have 69 stations as well as 15 bus stations within the metropolitan area. In addition, they have a wide bus network that serves the wider Perth metro area and which act as key feeder routes connecting the main rail lines7. The graphs below shows the public transport mode share and transport patronage in journey to work. Transport choices 1Transport choices

Source: Charting Transport 2013.

They also have electric trams which operate as far as Claremont to Weshpool. These tram systems are privately funded and were integrated into their transport system with the intention of offering better coordination of the network8. Furthermore, the residents of Perth embrace cycling as a means of transportation system. It is very common especially on roads and paths chiefly for recreation, sport or even commuting. For example, between the years 1998 and 2009, there was an exponential increase in the number of cyclists by almost 450 per cent.

On the other hand, the capital city of Victoria, Melbourne has a privatized public transport system which includes trains, trams as well as buses. These are considered the main form of public transport within the Central Business District (CBD)9. Trains are also considered to be fundamental form of transport through the wider Melbourne Area. In addition, the City Circle Tram is the quickest way for an individual to traverse the CBD. Then again, the best choice of transport away from the CBD is to catch either the trams or trains although buses still operate through the same route.

The tram transport system in Melbourne is the largest form of public transport within the state. It is integrated with both the road and rail system. It consists of almost 300 buses and 16 lines services all over Melbourne10. Other than the tram system, Melbourne has a bus network that is operated by various bus companies under governmental franchise. There consist of 300 routes all over Melbourne served by both Smart bus orbital bus system and nightrider bus system. These bus systems use ticketing system. Also, Melbourne comprises of a suburban and regional rail system. This is because Melbourne is a centre of statewide railway network which is composed of both freight and passenger services11. The graph below shows Melbourne CBD commuter transport usage statistics and share.

Transport choices 2

Source: Charting Transport 2013.

Therefore, when you compare the transport systems in both Perth and Melbourne, there are quite some similarities in the modes of transport. Although, the city of Perth embraces more of Central Area Transit buses whereas Melbourne embraces the city trams12. Melbourne has experienced quite some challenges due to their poor planning. For example, the capital has experienced the facing out of Hitachi trains since passengers preferred trains networks. In addition, Melbourne experienced overcrowding on their trains as well as their trams due to the fast growing population. In addition, their smart bus services also provided poor services for instance, issues of infrequency especially during the weekends. They had no competition to the average motor cars, in spite of the increase in traffic congestion and the effects brought about by the rise in petrol prices and concerns about emission. On the other hand, this is not the case of transportation system in Perth13. Their transport system has brought about the smooth movement of people. In addition, it has managed the rate of congestion within the city and also it has created development opportunities.

The factors that affect the decisions of individuals on their choice of transport system can be evaluated using the consumer choice theory. This theory is a branch of microeconomic which indicates that a utility is the satisfaction or even the pleasure a consumer derives from the consumption of a certain product or service14. The factors that influence the mode of choice includes socio demographic characteristics, trip purpose, time of the day, access and frequency of the public transport and parking, travel time, convenience and cost. Therefore, using consumer choice theory to evaluate socio demographic characteristics of the population in Perth, the individuals who bear satisfaction of using their own private modes rather than public transport includes the households with higher incomes, working age group (31-60 years olds) as well as the couples who have children in their households15. They choose to utilize car more than public transport due to their need of comfort.

In addition, individuals tend to choose transportation modes with regard to their trip purpose. This clearly indicates their need to satisfy their essence of trip. Therefore, individuals, for example, in the city of Perth utilize car as a mode of transport taking about 89 per cent particularly for work-related purposes16. On the other hand, individuals who choose public transport take about 27 percent for education and about 20 per cent for trips. This statistics shows an individual’s choice of transport based on their trip purpose. Furthermore, the time of the day plays a major role in determining the choice of transport. Throughout the day, the need for the use of private vehicles is more consistent. Trains as well as buses are mostly used either during the early mornings or during the afternoon peaks. This is primarily because the user’s needs for a fast transport system avoiding all the congestion17. Also, this is because congestion brings about pressures on travel times as well as other accruing costs eventually making private car travel less attractive during these periods.

Another factor that affects the choice of transport system is the accessibility and frequency of public transport. From statistics provided by HTS, they suggest that most people tend to utilize private transport because of the inaccessibility of public transport. In addition, other individuals choose to use public transport because of the convenience they derive from their accessibility18. For example, some individuals reside in areas where the public transport system terminal is right beside their place of residence. This prompts them to prefer public transport than private means. Furthermore, in Australia, a review indicated that the improvement in the public transport especially in the rail transport, would reduce the number of private car travel reducing the rate of congestion. Also, in the UK, studies indicated that individuals who used car as a means of commuting would choose public transport if relevant improvements were made.

Parking, travel times, convenience and cost also plays a major role in choosing a certain type of transportation system. For instance, in Sydney, about 22 per cent of the individuals who use public transport whereas the remaining 73 percent use private transport19. A large percentage of those using public transport assert that they do so in order to avoid parking problems. In addition, others choose to use public transport due to the high cost of owning a car. Travel times were also essential in determining the choice of an appropriate mode of transport. Most individuals prefer the need for comfort and convenience. This results to them choosing public means due to its convenience and their aspect of relaxation while travelling20.

Additionally, change in the income, prices of vehicles, petrol prices and parking fees affect individuals with regard to the choice of transport system. When an individual’s income increases, there are higher chances that he or she will purchase a vehicle of their choice therefore adopting to private transport. Also, when the price of vehicles drop, there will be a high response by individuals purchasing more vehicles. This will encourage them to use private means which also is disadvantageous since it will result to occurrence of traffic congestions. Furthermore, when the price of petrol skyrocket, more people will prefer using public means due to the amount of money they would use per litre as opposed to paying a fee for public transport21. Finally, if the parking fees increases, more people will feel comfortable leaving their individual cars at home and using public means. Individuals will choose public transport since they will not incur any parking fees.

There are many concerns about the number of vehicles traversing our roads this days. For example, from a statistics in the UK, there are 55 percent of car journeys which are under 5 kilometres. This short distance could be facilitated by walking, or cycling rather than using vehicles. Therefore, governments come up with policies which can be used to govern the effectiveness of certain modes of transport. The government can offer funds to local transport so as to develop their transport services in order to encourage the use of public transport rather than private transport for their efficiency. In addition, governments also promote highway maintenance programs which help manage the road networks. Furthermore, the government also tries to make bus services more affordable, punctual, interconnected, green and most importantly accessible. They do this by coming up with transport terminals where it meets convenience22. They also encourage the use of bus services and also helps the local authority develop low carbon buses. Furthermore, they provide free travel for older and disabled individuals.

To sum up, the movement of people highly depends on the modes of transport they choose. Whether they decide to use road, rail, air or water. Many individuals prefer one mode of transport to the other due to the following reasons; socio demographic characteristics, trip purpose, time of the day, access and frequency of the public transport and finally, parking, travel times, convenience and cost. These factors play a major role in whether an individual will choose private or public transport. In addition, individuals also respond differently as a result of various aspects in the society. These aspects include; change in income, price of vehicle, petrol prices and parking fees. These factors also contribute to the choice of transport system they prefer. Finally, government policies are also essential and are set to identify the most effective mode of transport so as to ensure easy movement of people and goods within a society.


Australian Transport Council. National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia, Australian Transport Council, Canberra, 2006.

Charting Transport. Visualising the changing socio-economic landscape of Melbourne, 2013.
Viewed from

Cherchi, E. and Polak, J.W. The implications of income, taste and substitution effects for the assessment of user benefits using discrete choice models, Working Paper, Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College London, 2004.

Corpuz, G. Analysis of Peak Hour Travel Using the Sydney Household Travel Survey Data Papers from the 29th Australasian Transport Research Forum. Gold Coast: ATRF, 2006.

DfT, Transport Analysis Guidance. UK Department for Transport ( 2006.

Hensher, D., Rose J. & Greene W. Applied Choice Analysis A Primer. Cambridge University Press, 2005. pp xxiii, 62 – 87.

Kingham. S., Dickinson J. and Copsey, S. Travelling to work: will people move out of their cars Transport Policy UK: Elsevier Science, 2001, 151-160.

Lucas, Clay. «Hard times just the ticket for public transport«. The Age, (Melbourne, Australia), 2009.

Australian Transport Council, National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia, Australian Transport Council, Canberra, 2006

Ibd., 12

DfT, Transport Analysis Guidance, UK Department for Transport ( (2006)

Cherchi, E. and Polak, J.W. The implications of income, taste and substitution effects for the assessment of user benefits using discrete choice models, Working Paper, Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College London, 2004.

Lucas, Clay. «Hard times just the ticket for public transport». The Age (Melbourne, Australia), 2009.

Ibid., 14

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Ibd., 22

DfT, Transport Analysis Guidance, UK Department for Transport ( (2006)

Ibd., 16

Ibd., 12

Hensher D, Rose J, Greene W Applied Choice Analysis A Primer Cambridge University Press, 2005. pp xxiii, 62 – 87

Ibd., 35

Kingham S, Dickinson J, Copsey S Travelling to work: will people move out of their cars Transport Policy UK: Elsevier Science, 2001, 151-160

Ibd., 21

Ibd., 18

Ibd., 42

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Corpuz G Analysis of Peak Hour Travel Using the Sydney Household Travel Survey Data Papers from the 29th Australasian Transport Research Forum. Gold Coast: ATRF (2006)

Ibd., 55