We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home Features What costs society more: cars or trains?
Text size :
TAGS Public transport, Transport, Sustainable transport, Transportation planning, Traffic congestion, Garry Glazebrook
The private cost of driving is much higher than taking public transport, but negatives like traffic congestion and road casualties mean the social cost of driving is similar to the public subsidy for trains and buses.
Two of the key issues in urban policy are the external (social) costs imposed by cars and the level of public subsidy required to keep public transport running.
Knowledge about these two closely related issues — the former is the key justification for the latter — is so fundamental to urban policy that there should be dozens and dozens of research projects in Australia on this subject. Yet it seems there are hardly any.
I last looked at this topic three years ago (see Should cars be subsidised?). I noted then how astonishingly difficult it was to find reliable, objective and independent studies.
Unfortunately, the landscape doesn’t appear to have improved; like so much in urban studies, the sorts of issues that are directly relevant to policy-formulators and decision-makers seem to be neglected by researchers.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Alan Davies is a principal at Pollard Davies Consulting working in transport and town planning. He blogs at The Urbanist.
Read Related Content
The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released a technical paper on the external benefits of public transport in December 2014 (http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Transport/Reviews/External_Benefits_of_Public_Transport/16_Dec_2014_-_Draft_Report/Review_of_external_benefits_of_public_transport_-_December_2014).
Although submissions to this paper are now closed, it will inform the approach to regulating fares for buses, trains and ferries in the Sydney area. An issues paper on these fares is expected by the end of May 2015; this will be followed by a public forum to consider external benefits, the fares issues paper, and how the two processes come together. Further updates will be posted on the IPART website.
Pingback: Australian Car Insurance | Insurance City - All About Insurance()
Pingback: Public transport or cars: what costs society mo...()