Spatial changes in Melbourne journey to work 2006-2011

How have the mode shares of journeys to work changed by different home locations in Melbourne?

The following animations show various mode shares for journeys to work from census collection districts for 2006 and Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) for 2011. These are the smallest geographies available for each census. All the data is by place of usual residence.

I’ve animated each image to alternate between 2006 and 2011, so you can gaze at them and spot the changes. But you’ll need to click on them to enlarge and see the animation.

Public transport

Public transport mode share is mostly up across the board. Some exceptions include:

  • Langwarrin (east of Frankston)
  • Dingley
  • Greenvale
  • Hillside
  • Eastern parts of Rowville

Sustainable transport (only)

This map excludes those who used private transport to reach public transport. It shows that on the suburban fringe, the vast majority of people are still using private motorised transport to get to work. Areas without significant growth include Sunbury, South Morang, Greenvale, Rowville, Berwick north, Skye/Carrum Downs, Mt Eliza, Dingley, areas around the Ringwood-Lilydale rail line, and Westmeadows.

[minor corrections to map made 5 Nov 2012]


Melb train

[minor corrections to map made 6 Sep 2013]

There is growth across mode areas of Melbourne. You can see a massive difference in Roxburgh Park Craigieburn area following the extension of suburban electric services to Craigieburn.


You can see a substantial increases:

  • in Doncaster area following the introduction of 7 SmartBus routes (including 4 to the CBD).
  • in pockets between the Ringwood and Dandenong rail lines in the middle eastern suburbs. These areas had SmartBus routes introduced in 2002/2005, and perhaps it is taking a while to translate to bus in journey to work.
  • Around Abbotsford/Collingwood, perhaps reflecting increased train crowding and introduction of four SmartBus routes along Hoddle Street creating an extremely frequent service to the city.


You can see increased mode share across the network, particularly around the outer end of the tram route to Bundoora (zone 2 only in 2006, included in zone 1 in 2011) (but less so in Vermont South).

Active transport (only)

You can see gains in the Brunswick, Northcote, Kew and Foostcray areas.

Walking only

I can see little change between 2006 and 2011, which is in line with little change in the overall share for Melbourne.


Cycling continues to grow rapidly in the inner northern suburbs, but also a little to the inner east and inner south.

Train and Bicycle

With the introduction of Parkiteer cages at train stations, was there any increase in the number of people riding to train stations?

The numbers are so small, it is difficult to see spatially, but there was a substantial increase in overall numbers from around 1200 to 1800.

Train and bus

You can see increases around the Dandenong rail line, between the Glen Waverley and Ringwood rail lines, around Werribee/Tarneit, and around Sydenham.

Public transport mode shift by SLA

Here’s a map showing the mode shift towards public transport by Statistical Local Area (SLA), the smallest geography for which results are available for both the 2006 and 2011 censuses.

The biggest mode shifts were in the City of Melbourne, followed by Wyndham – south (Point Cook), South Yarra/Prahran, and Moreland – north. Nowhere in Melbourne did public transport mode share reduce.

I’m sure other people will find more patterns in the maps than I have been able to today. Please comment on any interesting finds. I might come back later and update this post when I have more time.

I will aim to do a similar exercise for other cities soon.

10 Responses to Spatial changes in Melbourne journey to work 2006-2011

  1. Ben Rossiter says:

    Thanks Chris, very helpful. Wondering what you found regarding walking – walking only and mode share with PT etc?


  2. Jane Waldock says:

    Nice work, as always Chris.


  3. chrisloader says:

    Ben, sorry about that. Walking only mode share maps now added. Can you spot much difference?


  4. Chris, d you know where I can get the exact figures of modal increases for each municipality? Got no access to TableBuilder Pro


    • chrisloader says:

      Hi Raili, you can get that data from TableBuilder Basic (although only for place of usual residence). You’ll get hundreds of possible mode combinations returned and have to sum them up. I’ve added a map showing mode shift by SLA (the level below municipality).


  5. Chris, Fantastic stuff as we’ve come to expect. Would it be correct to infer that the bus/rail changes come from both the MOTC service upgrades (particularly the span of hours improvements into the evenings) and the Smartbus package (high frequency/span of hours) combined, or is one improvement weighted more highly in this growth?


    • chrisloader says:

      Scott, if you stare at the train + bus map long enough, you’ll see many increases in areas served by SmartBus routes (especially around Warrigal Road, Springvale Road and Northland), but also some areas that don’t have SmartBus services (eg Werribee/Tarneit and towards Sydenham). Unfortunately I cannot easily overlay the SmartBus routes onto the map. I suspect SmartBus will have had more impact than extended span of hours on local routes, as most local routes have always operated in peak periods and SmartBus usually has a higher frequency advantage in the peaks. Train + bus mode share in Melbourne has risen from 0.7% in 2001 to 1.0% in 2011. In Perth it went from 1.0% in 2001 to 2.0% in 2011, but Sydney was highest with 2.5% in 2011.


  6. Greg Barber says:

    What’s the biggest cycling postcode/CCD you’ve found Chris?


    • chrisloader says:

      Greg, use of bicycle in journey to work in Melbourne peaked in an SA1 in East Brunswick, on the south-east corner of Glenlyon Road and Lygon Street, with 28.1% of commuters using bicycle to get to work. It was closely followed by a pocket of Clifton Hill between Alexandra Parade, Smith Street, Wellington Street and Queens Parade at 27.9%.


  7. Cait Jones says:

    Hi Chris,
    this is great. Just wanting to confirm that areas in white have <3% public transport mode share? Or have you chosen to focus on rail catchment areas? Cheers


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