Transport mode share to employment areas in Melbourne 2006

In another post, I’ve mapped out the transport mode shares by residential origins. These maps are fairly common. But what are the mode shares like for employment destinations across Melbourne?

In this post I have mapped out the public transport, car and bicycle mode shares for journey work in each “destination zone” (the smallest unit in the ABS journey to work census data) from the 2006 census.

Note:

  • In the mode share maps I have only shown zones with an employment density of 1000 people per square km or higher to avoid small sample sizes causing issues (people work almost everywhere, but I want to focus on denser employment areas).
  • I’ve removed “did not travel”, “worked from home”, “all other modes” and “method not stated” from my mode share calculations. We don’t know the real mode share, but hopefully the mode shares under “all other modes” and “method not stated” are not too different from those where we know the mode.

Employment Density

But before looking at mode shares, it is worth looking at employment density. To view these maps you’ll need to click to zoom (open them in a new window if you can).

You can see:

  • Dense employment in the inner city (no surprises)
  • Industrial areas like Monash, South Dandenong, Somerton, North Altona, Moorabbin, and Bayswater.
  • Major shopping centres (at least those that have their own destination zone) such as Werribee Plaza, Sunshine, Moonee Ponds, Northland, Box Hill, Doncaster Shoppingtown, Greensborough, Ringwood, Knox City, Chadstone, Fountain Gate, Southland, Forest Hill.
  • Other dense suburban spots include Tooronga (Coles headquarters) and Camberwell (shops plus some office buildings)

Looking at the inner city area:

Obviously the CBD is dense, but there is a corridor north of the CBD towards Melbourne University, and south along St Kilda Road. The densities are very high when you have high-rise buildings, so it is a little difficult to show the variation. But can at least look for building shadows on Near Maps.

Public Transport mode share

You can pretty clearly see a high public transport mode share for destinations in the inner city, and very low mode shares in the suburbs.

However there are a few spots in the suburbs with relatively higher public transport mode shares than surrounding areas:

  • Monash University Clayton campus (parking is not easy and this is a focal point for the local bus network)
  • Huntingdale near the station (unclear why the high mode share in 2006)
  • Moorabbin near the station (an activity centre including some office buildings)
  • Box Hill (a Central Activities District on a frequent train line and significant bus interchange).
  • Ringwood (also a Central Activities District on a rail junction in the outer east)

And the mode shares to large suburban shopping centres (remember these are journeys to work only) are surprisingly high (relatively anyway):

  • Chadstone 13%
  • Southland 12%
  • Northland 10%
  • Highpoint 10%
  • Doncaster (Shoppingtown) 8%
  • Fountain Gate 7%
  • Knox City 7%
  • Werribee Plaza 6%

An aside: it’s unfortunate that some shopping centre owners are less enthusiastic about providing good facilities for buses, even though around 1 in 10 of their workforce comes by bus (all of the above listed centres are not served by trains). I am now armed with some factoids.

Notably, public transport mode shares were quite low at three of the nominated Central Activities Districts (CADs), including Broadmeadows, Dandenong and Frankston. If these are to be successful CADs, then public transport will need to be made a much more attractive access mode. I suspect this requires a focus on the local bus networks, as peak rail services to these centres are already quite frequent).

So what about the inner city area? This map zooms in, and I’ve actually labelled the public transport mode share for each destination zone (again you will need to open the enlargement in a new tab to see).

You can see public transport has a high mode share in the CBD grid and surrounds. It peaks at 70% at a few places in the CBD grid.

But it drops off fairly quickly as you move away:

  • Mode share drops into the 21-45% range in the Southbank/South Melbourne area. Essentially most people need to transfer to tram to get there (the 55 tram runs through the middle of it, but the only real train interchange location is Flagstaff, in the north of the CBD)
  • The Parkville precinct has mode shares around 35% (accessible by frequent trams that do interchange with Melbourne Central station).
  • The northern parts of Docklands have only 22% public transport mode share. These areas are awkward to reach by public transport (long walk from Southern Cross station, a slow tram connection, or a walk from a bus stop)
  • The Dynon area (WNW of the CBD) has only 8% mode share, despite being served by frequent buses. This is probably to do with the industries present – freight transport (early starts) and the Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market (which opens at 3:30 am or 4:30 am depending on the day of the week).
  • St Kilda Road to the south of the CBD has many high-rise office blocks, but public transport mode share ranges from 23 to 32% in the lower section, despite extremely frequent tram services along St Kilda Road that provide direct access from many inner south-eastern suburbs. In the AM peak, the busiest direction for trams on St Kilda Road is actually southbound – as people transfer from trains at Flinders Street.  The new rail tunnel is proposed to run through the CBD and terminate at Domain Road. The tunnel won’t improve public transport access for the thousands of employees who live  in the inner south-east until it is extended to Caulfield (I’ll look at this in more detail in another post).
  • The Fishermans Bend area (across the river, WSW of the CBD) has mode shares around 5%. This area is served by buses from the CBD that actually have a peak flow out of the CBD in the AM peak. As I will show in another post, most of the workers in Fishermans Bend come from the western suburbs of Melbourne, and presumably a great many of them drive to work across the Westgate Bridge. There is one bus route (232) that runs across the Westgate Bridge and along Williamstown Road (which borders the Port Melbourne industrial area to the south), however it has a very limited catchment in North Altona.

If density is good for public transport, then where are the dense employment areas with low public transport mode share? The following map shows destination zones with employment density over 3000 per square kilometre and public transport mode share less than 10% (arbitrary cut-offs I realise):

These should be strong candidates for gaining greater public transport mode share, perhaps if they were better served by better public transport.

Walking through the locations:

  • Fishermans Bend already has reasonable peak period public transport, but it comes from the CBD, while the workers come from the western suburbs and have to transfer.
  • Werribee town centre and Werribee Plaza Shopping Centre – the bus routes to these centres run every 40 or 60 minutes in the peak.
  • Tooronga – the Coles Headquarters – a long walk from the station or nearby tram, or a half hourly north-south bus service. Not to mention some big hills and presumably cheap parking.
  • Large areas of Monash including Clayton, Notting Hill, Mount Waverley. Some parts of this area were serviced by SmartBus routes (703 along Blackburn and 888/9 along Springvale Roads) in 2006. Another (900) has been introduced along Wellington Road since. However issues in this area include that many of the employees come from the south-eastern suburbs (requiring transfers from a train as opposed to easy access from the Monash Freeway), and that the road grid spacing is large – many workplaces will be a long walk from bus stops.
  • Glen Waverley – around the train station. Note really sure why, it has good access by bus and train.
  • The Tally Ho business park in Burwood East (at the intersection of tram 75 and a SmartBus route 888/9). A classic car-orientated suburban business park (including a VicRoads office no less).
  • The south-eastern corner of Moorabbin – this area is served by a few peak period only bus trips.
  • Central Dandenong – many bus routes into Dandenong operate only hourly. A SmartBus route has since been introduced (901).
  • Fountain Gate – again many hourly or worse bus frequencies in the outer south-eastern suburbs.
  • Cranbourne Shops – many low frequency bus routes (some trips bypass the shopping centre in peak periods).
  • Central Frankston – on a train line, but many low frequency bus routes. A SmartBus route has since been introduced from the north (901).
  • A patch in Kew along Denmark Street. Which happens to include the VicRoads head office and Xavier College  (PT mode share around 9%).
  • Along Whitehorse Road in Blackburn and Mitcham, including areas a decent walk from the train stations. A SmartBus service (901) has just been introduced along this stretch of Whitehorse Road.
  • Bayswater industrial area – served by some peak period only bus deviations.
  • Heidelberg – just west of the rail line include the Austin Hospital. A SmartBus route (903) has since been introduced through Heidelberg. The area around Box Hill Hospital shows up – this may reflect the many shift workers involved in a hospital operation.
  • Preston around High Street. A SmartBus service (903) now goes through here also.
  • Broadmeadows – a Central Activities District which was at the end of a metropolitan train line in 2006 and buses ran relatively infrequently (many every 30-40 minutes). On Near Map it looks like half the landspace is occupied by car parking! It’s recently had two SmartBus routes introduced (901 and 902).
  • Sunshine, north of the station. The main retail area was developed away from the station and bus interchange and half the landscape is filled with car parking. A SmartBus route (903) now runs through this area. And would you believe there is a major VicRoads office there also?
  • Central Greensborough – two SmartBus routes have now been introduced to this centre (901 and 902), improving access from all directions

Car mode share

Public transport doesn’t represent the full sustainable transport mode share as many people can walk or cycle. So the following chart looks at non-sustainable mode share – ie cars.

Apart from the inner city areas, car clearly dominates. The furthest out any level of escape from the car reaches is St Kilda in the south, Brunswick in the north, and Glenferrie in the east (probably the Swinburne University campus).

In the inner city area:

You can see high car mode shares even near the city:

  • Car mode share is in the 60s around Melbourne University (the main university campus area itself at 40%)
  • Most of St Kilda Road around the 60s
  • 92% in Fishermans Bend
  • 80% in Abbotsford on the north side of Victoria Street (a very heavily congested street due to lack of options in the area)

But you can also see the area immediately east of the CBD block at 28%. This block is full of decision makers from the Parliament House and several central agencies of state government. Is that encouraging? For the record: census day in 2006 was a parliamentary sitting day.

Bicycle mode share

Finally, a look at bicycle mode share (although actually this is any trip involving bicycle, including riding to a train station). This is a bit unkind because it all depends on the weather of the day (I cannot find records, but as I recall it was not a very rainy day).

The numbers are very small, but there are a few standouts:

  • 10% mode share to the main Melbourne University campus (and remember, this is only journeys to work, not journeys to study)
  • 9% mode share to the Victorian College of the Arts in Southbank
  • 8% in central Fitzroy Street, around Brunswick Street. Very bike friendly streets in this area, and car parking is more limited.

It will be very interesting to see these numbers for 2011, as there has been a boom in cycling in Melbourne in recent year.

A future post will look at where employees come from for each major employment area. Do public transport join homes and workplaces well?

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3 Responses to Transport mode share to employment areas in Melbourne 2006

  1. Alan Davies says:

    Chris, excellent post. I’ve also done some analysis of jobs, focussing on the suburbs (i.e. > 5km from the CBD). Although I’ve used a different methodology, I expect my findings would be broadly similar to yours.

    I think there’s a few things worth noting.

    First, most jobs in Melbourne are in the suburbs – 72% by my method.

    Second, that cluster in and around Clayton has by far the largest number of jobs of any suburban cluster. The next largest suburban clusters are around Tullamarine, Kew/Hawthorn and Box Hill. In comparison,the rest of the dense areas have relatively small absolute numbers of jobs.

    Third, the great bulk of jobs in the suburbs aren’t in these denser area – they’re at low densities.

    Like

  2. Rick Williams says:

    Hey Chris,
    Thanks for going to the effort of turning out this sort of analysis. It’s interesting to see the plots of what one already has a ‘feel’ for. As you say, arming us with factoids. 😉 I found the emp mode share to shopping centres surprisingly high too, but the share and Dandenong not a surprise. As you noted, the train is the primary PT mode available. But I find the train staiton fairly uninviting. Perhaps the CAD ‘rejuvenation’ under way there will help improve the walkability of the area, and in turn make PT more attractive (with walking as the access/egress mode).

    Cheers,

    RIck

    Like

  3. […] accompanying map from Charting Transport shows the proportion of journeys to work in Melbourne’s CBD undertaken by car in 2006 — the […]

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