Toxic Custard newsletter transport

Luckily most people don’t bring their cars to central Melbourne

Sometimes in the city, it’s a bit like a Where’s Wally book.

Bourke Street Mall, lunchtime

City of Melbourne figures indicate the average daily population for the CBD and surrounding council area is 844,000.

But Christmas shopping is a very busy time of year.

City of Melbourne has some very clever pedestrian monitoring systems, which can tell us just how busy different parts of the city are. They have sensors around the place, including in the Bourke Street Mall — on both sides, though the northern side one is currently not working, which is a shame as I suspect it’s a bit busier. The southern side one shows pedestrian numbers peaked yesterday around lunchtime (when the photo was taken) at about 5000 per hour — about 45% higher than the 52 week average, showing how the nice weather and Christmas shopping has a huge effect.

Pedestrian count, Bourke Street Mall - south - 18/12/2014 (City of Melbourne)

How do people get to the city? The Census has very good data on travel for work (and this appears to include study) which shows about 65% of people working in the city centre (or thereabouts) come in by public transport as their main mode. About 25% are by motor vehicle. The rest are by other means including walking and cycling.

ABS Census 2011: Mode to city

City of Melbourne has a smaller survey (the Central Melbourne travel survey) that captures all city visitors (not just workers). It shows a slightly lower public transport share — 59% — and also lower for walking and cycling, but higher for motor vehicles — 37%.

City of Melbourne survey: mode to city

They also have a survey showing trips around areas of the city. Unsurprisingly, this is dominated by walking and trams.

City of Melbourne survey: Mode around city

It’s lucky most of people coming into the City don’t bring their cars with them.

Well, they can’t really — parking supply for them all thankfully isn’t provided. If it was, it wouldn’t be the dense inner area that we know it, but dispersed by lots of space taken for car parks — a completely different city centre that I dare say wouldn’t attract the booming daily population of residents, workers and visitors that come now.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Luckily most people don’t bring their cars to central Melbourne”

I know quite a number of car-centric people in their senior years, all living in the outer areas. They all say the same thing. They drive everywhere else, and drive quite a lot. It is only when they need to visit the CDB that they would take public transport, and will often visit the CDB and use public transport for that reason.

For many, it is the combination of the heavy traffic, as well as the lack of parking.

On the other hand, I once met this very old couple a few years ago, they are strictly car only. Too old and fail to handle public transport. They too find that ‘you can not drive in the CDB anymore’ and due to that, they never go into the CDB anymore.

Me, I do not drive. One of few people in the outer areas who flatly will not. None the less I have quite a number of pro-car drivers all around me.

Great report Daniel – I had no idea that the Council monitors transport into and within the city in such detail.
I’m surprised cycling is so tiny. What do others think?

PS PTV has announced that the early bird train on weekdays has been retained, at least for 2015. This means you can catch free train into town and (next year) use a free tram in the CBD. And you no longer need to touch off on the way home. Yah!

I know a lot of people who have never gotten their licence in Melbourne and are now in their 40s and 50s. I have not driven in 10 years but still renew it ID and just in case. The people who I have worked with who drove into the city where always having to move their cars or had a good spot they would not give up. My parents get the train down to Melbourne rather than driving these days, even to the airport as they stay at the hotel overnight. Saves having to do a trip to drop off/pick up.

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