Public transport service level trends in Australian cities


  • To measure the quantity of urban public transport provision in Australian cities in the decade between 2003-04 to 2013-14
  • To explore if and how urban public transport provision has kept pace with population growth.


  • Compilation of public transport vehicle kilometres and urban population data for selected Australian cities by year
  • Comparison of public transport vehicle kilometres per capita by year in Australian cities.

Key results

Public transport service provision per capita has been declining in recent years in South East Queensland, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Fig. 1 Change in urban public transport service per capita in Australian cities (2003-04 to 2013-14)

Source: Currie (2014)

  • Total urban public transport service provision in selected Australian cities (South East Queensland, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide) has increased from 280 million vehicle kilometres in 2003-04 to 400 million vehicle kilometres in 2013-14; this is a 43% increase over 10 years
  • All selected Australian cities experienced a net increase in public transport service provision per capita between 2003-04 and 2013-14; however, this has declined in recent years in all cities except Perth
  • Monitoring public transport service levels per capita over time provides a useful way of determining whether public transport provision is keeping pace with population growth.


Currie, G. (2014) Public Transport Progress and Failure – Keeping up with growth in Australian cities, presented to ADC National Infrastructure and Cities Summit, Melbourne, March 2014.