Older Aussies would rather drive

According to a roads research survey, middle-aged and older Australians would rather change their driving habits to avoid traffic than catch public transport.

Almost 60 per cent of those aged 45 to 54 say they’d sooner take different routes or ‘rat-run (take side roads), leave earlier, or change appointment and work times to avoid road congestion rather than taking public transport even one day a week.

Of all those surveyed by the Australian Roads Research Board (ARRB), people aged 18 to 24 were more likely to switch to public transport or alternative methods of travel, such as riding a bike or walking, to avoid driving in peak hour.

VicRoads agrees with the findings. In light of the works to the West Gate Bridge, a major arterial linking the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne to the CBD, VicRoads claims that traffic volumes between 6am and 7am have increased by three per cent – suggesting that people are changing their driving habits in order to avoid delays on their morning transit.

The Victorian road traffic authority has also found that traffic has increased by up to eight per cent on alternative roads leading to the city.

However, 22 per cent of those surveyed said they had made the switch to public transport due to increased congestion, with 12 per cent deciding to walk and seven per cent choosing to cycle.

Dr Charles Karl, the ARRB’s National Technical Leader of Congestion, says the generational attitude towards public transport is clear.

Research has found that less than one in three people aged 45 to 65 would switch to public transport at least one day per week instead of driving, whereas three in four of those aged 18 to 24 would.

“While Gen Ys are happy to ditch their cars in favour of public transport, or foot and pedal power, older generations have their hands firmly rusted onto the steering wheel, choosing to work longer hours to avoid the dreaded peak-hour crawl,” said Dr Karl.

Dr Karl suggested that incentives, such as an early bird travel deal, which could offer free or reduced prices for public transport if commuters caught trains, trams or buses before 7am, could change people’s commuting habits.

“The most effective is something that hits your hip pocket,” he said.

But many survey respondents said they would prefer more lanes added to existing roads, additional peak-hour clearways, or greater green-light preference on major roads over side streets, instead of public transport.

Would you travel on public transport one day a week instead of driving at different times? What sort of incentive would lead you to make the switch to public transport? What do you think of your public transport system?

Read more at The Age

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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