Older Aussies would rather change their driving habits than use public transport

Older Australians would rather change their driving habits than catch public transport.

traffic jam in Australia

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



    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Apr 2016
    There is no way I ever want to have to use public transport, crowds -- unreliable and slow -- last time I used it was off peak in 1989
    19th Apr 2016
    You have got to be joking ! Not prepared to spend all day trying to get somewhere on Public Transport. It's overcrowded and expensive and loaded with obnoxious bogans. So are the roads but at least I can go from A to B in the same vehicle and easily carry my stuff in the car.
    19th Apr 2016
    we live 12k as the crow flies from the GPO and have no public transport within 30 minutes walk,no parking at the nearest bus stop and 20 minutes drive to the most convenient train station.There is also no public transport for those who wish to go east or west as all routes go straight for the city .It is also cheaper to drive to town when we do go on the weekends
    Star Trekker
    19th Apr 2016
    I would not use local public transport. I will not wait 1.5 hours for a bus. I use PT when in Capital cities when not constrained by a timetable or appointment times.
    19th Apr 2016
    I'm just sick of appallingly bad mannered high school kids and abusive others I can't mention because if I did it would be considered to be a racial slur.
    19th Apr 2016
    How many times have the bogans taken up seats on the buses reserved for the elderly? Constantly and with obnoxious impunity!!!
    Not Senile Yet!
    19th Apr 2016
    Would use it more if they improved it and actually supplied more carriages and seats!
    But that involves spending more money....and receiving less tax on fuel....which no one is willing to do!
    19th Apr 2016
    Public transport in general throughout Australia is woeful.

    Is it governments fault or the ever gullible apethetic public for putting up with it.

    If we had a standard we could compare our services with we may see some improvement, until then I think I will drive.
    Happy cyclist
    19th Apr 2016
    Several years ago I decided to leave my car at home 3 days a week and take the bus to work. I lkive 20 kms from work and due to long hours sometimes at work the bus didn't really work for me so I got a bicycle. My round trip to work is 40 kms. I am in my 60s. Its the best thing I ever did. There are so many benefits to cycling over driving, not just the huge savings I make in fuel. I used to change my car every 3 years, but now have no wish to do so and my current car is well over 10 years old. I have saved myself SO MUCH MONEY but its the other benefits which are the greatest. I recommend to everyone to get cycling.
    ray @ Bondi
    19th Apr 2016
    if your health does not deteriorate, then it is a good idea, but most of us after 60-65 start feeling our age.
    19th Apr 2016
    We are lucky to live near a railway line where there is parking at the station. We are about 100kms from the city. I always use the train in preference to driving to the city or the airport. It is much cheaper than the cost of driving --- we have concession Go Cards --- and we don't risk the all too often 4 or 5 hour hold up when there is a crash on the Bruce Highway.

    19th Apr 2016
    19th Apr 2016
    Um - no toilets on some trains and the station master makes sure the ones on the platform are locked. No parking in cooee of the popular stations. One train every 2 hours - mmmm.
    I have a solution though. Get the uni students and parents taking their kids to school off the roads. I realise this is impossible, but only because the government(any) has made it that way. I used to love bad weather days as it it would get all the "I think I'll just go out for the day" drivers off the road.
    19th Apr 2016
    50 odd years ago I lived with a group in Melb. They took the train to work and I always walked. Even then I hated public transport. I always had their coffee ready for when they eventually got there. Now I live rural, our town (of 5k) hasn't even got a cab. W
    hat public transport?
    19th Apr 2016
    In regional areas the bus system runs at best every 1/2 hour during a set period of the day and every 1 hour on weekends up to a certain time of the day. That's 1 hour waiting time every working day 5 days per week and 2 hours waiting time on weekends. But, outside the set operating hours there are no buses eg, after 9pm. This limits social life, limits how much shopping you can carry. Some bus stops are three long blocks away and that's inconvenient for elderly people, even if it was one day per week.
    19th Apr 2016
    More roads means more congestion. Counter-intuitive but true. Better, faster and more frequent public transport will make it more attractive for everyone.

    19th Apr 2016
    Last job I had (in Melbourne) I took the train to and from - a 3 km walk to the train and another 2 km to work - giving me a bit of exercise for a job I sat at all day. This, together with travelling early (6:10 AM train) to work and home (3:25 PM train), I avoided most of the passenger traffic, making the most of an unavoidable necessity.
    19th Apr 2016
    I live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. For 12 years I have caught a train to work in the city. Prior to that I drove, sometimes for an hour each way to work (if the traffic was good!).
    Occasionally over the past 12 years I have had to drive... I hate it! It is MUCH slower driving to the city than catching a train, far more stressful and tiring and more expensive (and I am not even factoring in parking costs!). I use trains on weekends too if I have to go to the city or anywhere where traffic or parking is a problem. Yes the immediacy of getting into your car and going when it suits you is nice and on weekends thewre are longer gaps between trains, but it is very easy to time trains to suit what you are doing. A little planning and forethought goes a long way!

    Parking at my station is very safe. There are CCTV cameras which have meant very little or no damage occurs in the carparks, the toilets are clean and there are transit officers on the station from 6.00pm until the last train. I know that my station is a "premium" station and some at smaller stations are not as well off, however the majority of stations on Melbourne train line are similar to my own.

    Yes train travel is not perfect! Sometimes trains are late or cancelled. They are always crowded during peak hours. BUT delays factor only <5% of my train travel. I ensure that I board the train at or near the beginning of the line so that I can have a seat (after all who wants to stand for an hour) and I find the train is almost always cool in summer and warm in winter. There are far more issues with traffic accidents and delays and lack of parking (and the expense!!!) if I chose to drive. Not to mention I can read, listen to music, watch videos, catch up on my emails, chat or even sleep on the train!

    I understand the many, many issues and bad experiences that people my age and older people have had with trains in the past 30 - 50 years... I had them myself. However, how many of the people who are complaining actually have been catching trains regularly in the past few years? Things change, PT is continually improving, the traffic and parking are not.

    Maybe the difference between Gen Y and older generations, is that they are actually prepared to try PT in the longer term and not use old or the odd poor experience to colour the whole idea and complain about absolutely everything to do with PT?
    19th Apr 2016
    If you live within 20 km of where you need to go; shops, work, family, etc.; it is worth considering the change from a car to an electrically assisted bicycle. They are more comfortable and easy to ride (no sweat, no license), incur no parking costs and are often faster than the car. Older, or physically less fit riders can easily commute by e-bike. Because of the electrical assistance, the rider may choose more hilly side streets with less traffic. Electric bicycles are also a good alternative to irregular buses, or for commuting after hours to and from train stations. Many train stations are now equipped with safe storage cages for bikes which are ideal for storing e-bikes. Try an e-bike at your nearest bike shop!
    19th Apr 2016
    Are those bikes called "Hardly Davidsons" SWOZ ?
    ray @ Bondi
    19th Apr 2016
    no licence not in NSW it is now against the law not to have ID, very Orwellian if you ask me, do you mean no registration?
    19th Apr 2016
    We live in Country NSW so need our car. It is disgusting that our Government is trying to get olde rdrivers off our roads. The Federal Government wants us to work until we turn 70, and the NSW Police want us to hand our drivers licenses in the day after. So under the Liberals its WORK UNTIL YOU DROP.
    19th Apr 2016
    That smirking slob Joe Hockey -- what a creep wanting people to work till they are 70 -- when he has not done a days hard work in his silver tail life along with all the other smirking lot.
    ray @ Bondi
    19th Apr 2016
    sadly true
    19th Apr 2016
    Public transport not an option where I live!
    19th Apr 2016
    Until the public transport system is fast, reliable and easier to use, i will happily drive my car
    ray @ Bondi
    19th Apr 2016
    if it was timely, not crowded or plain uncomfortable, I would use it a bit more, but it is slow compared to car and unrealistic for going anywhere other than local, an hour trip turns in 2-3 hours.
    19th Apr 2016
    I doubt I would ever change to public transport as at 67 years of age some of the types you get on public transport leaves a lot to be desired. Recently I had reason to catch public transport in Perth after a concert one evening. There were so many odd and creepy people around I was thankful when I was home 1-1/2 hours later. By my own transport I would have been home in 25 minutes!! Say no more!!
    20th Apr 2016
    Yes same here the less I have to mix with the creeps that are around these days the better
    20th Apr 2016
    I love the way it is presumed that everyone live reasonably close to public transport. or have some sort of shopping centre nearby!
    I live 30 km from my nearest reasonably sized town. There is a small IGA store in the small town I live in which carries limited amounts of vegetables and doesn't stock a lot of the groceries I like....plus understandably their prices are high.
    So once (sometimes twice) a week I go to "town" to shop.... no public transport, too far to walk....so what am I and many others like me expected to do?
    21st Apr 2016
    I hear you, Mamacrystal. When there is little or no PT, there really is no option but to take the car. Especially if there are large distances involved and carrying shopping is too onerous.

    Deb, (below) says "Public transport in NSW is not woeful." I agree, except that NSW isn't just Sydney, Newcastle and the 'Gong (tell our State Govt in Macquarie Street!).

    I gotta admit I'm addicted to my car - it's my home away from home. I love driving because I feel free to do whatever, change my mind or do something spontaneous. Can't wait for affordable electric cars and long-lasting batteries, so I can charge my car with solar and reduce toxic emissions and running costs.
    20th Apr 2016
    I don't believe that there is any expectation that ALL Australians should stop driving. Clearly in regional and rural areas where public transport is scarce or non-existent cars are an absolute must. However for the larger number of Australians who do live in metropolitan areas and large regional towns that are serviced by public transport, the expectation is that they should start to use it more and derive less, causing far less road congestion - especially for travel to and from work.

    If you live in a metro area and the public transport system is not good enough, then ignoring it and joining the already overcrowded road system will NOT improve anything. Us public transport and join the lobby groups and PTV users associations in each state to improve it. If you can't or won't do this, then don't gripe about PT or the congested and overcrowded roads.
    21st Apr 2016
    Public transport in NSW is not woeful. I've been using it for several years and it is generally very reliable and on time. I also walk and ride a pushbike to get around and I'm fitter and healthier than most people half my age as a consequence. All the people who insist on driving everywhere would be better off getting out of their comfort zones, their privileged safe little cocoons and off their backsides and become used to other modes of travelling around other than in a big metal box pumping out greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. Other benefits of catching public transport are that you can relax, read or just stare out of the window without having to deal with crazy traffic, crazier drivers and parking nightmares. Surviving without total reliance on a car will help to make you stronger and more resilient and if eligible for a senior's discount you can travel all day for just $2.50. It's definitely a no brainer.
    21st Apr 2016
    Deb, if you have to carry a load of shopping -- or wait for the bus to get you to where you want to go --

    which in my case is 70k one way - to town -- it would be time to come home b4 I got there with all the stops and starts. You might live in a city I don't and wouldn't want to.

    Thank but I will stick to MY CAR and enjoy the peaceful travel.
    21st Apr 2016
    Melbourne, the worlds most liveable city, what a joke. A third world public transport system and grid locked roads by 2020. Visit Europe and find out how public transport should be run and copy them.
    22nd Apr 2016
    IMO NO city is livable -- I hate all cities and really couldn't care less about seeing any of them ever again. Especially the big ones
    Ageing but not getting old
    22nd Apr 2016
    Is there REALLY such a position as a " National Technical Leader of Congestion"?
    23rd Apr 2016
    Yes, indeed there is! In fact Dr. Karls full job title is -

    "National Technical Leader, Congestion Freight and Productivity, the Australian Road Research Board Group" ..!!

    His business card must be the size of an envelope to fit all that on!! LOL


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