More workers catching the train in Australia's capital cities

Trains are experiencing the greatest increase in patronage of work commuters, although private car is still the most used mode of transport

Last updated 17 Jan 2017

In Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the number of people catching a train to work recorded the largest increase proportionally between 2006 and 2011. The very large increase in rail passengers in Perth can be attributed to the opening of the Mandurah railway line, which runs to the south of Perth, in late 2007. This increase in Perth rail patronage shows that well targeted investment in transport infrastructure will have beneficial results.

Figure 1: Increase/decrease in different modes of transport to journey to work 2006 to 2011

Source: ABS Methods of Travel to Work in 2011

However, by far and away the greatest number of people in each city used a car (as either driver or passenger) to get to work. For example, Sydney recorded 1,200,506 people using a car to get to work in 2011, being 58 per cent of all employed people aged 15 or more living in that city. Even larger numbers are seen in Melbourne, where 1,249,345 workers (65%) used a car to get to work. In Brisbane (64%), Perth (67%) and Adelaide (69%) going by car to work was just as popular.

The very large numbers of workers using a car to get to work reflects the fact that most jobs are not concentrated in the central business districts (which are the focus of much public transport) but are scattered throughout the metropolitan area and are often not well serviced by public transport. (see AHURI Brief – ‘Where are the well paid and less well paid jobs based in Australia’s capital cities?’)