Moving Australia



 

Transport Opinion Survey

TOPS is commissioned and distributed by the Institute of Transport & Logistics Studies, University of Sydney. 

TOPS is a quarterly survey of 1,000 adults aged 18 years and over across Australia. The sample is representative of Australia’s population distribution and demographic characteristics. Interviews are conducted by telephone by Taverner Research using trained interviewers.

Do Australians think transport is getting better in their local area? How confident are Australians that transport will improve in the short-term and long-term in Australia? What is the highest priority issue in transport for Australians? Is the state or federal government considered most responsible for transport? Should the private sector be more involved in the provision of public transport? TOPS tracks changes in Australians' confidence and sentiment about transport every quarter, and compares NSW with other states.

TOPS Results


   
TOPS_2018_September
  • A majority of Australians would like to see existing road usage charges, such as fuel excises and vehicle registration fees, replaced with charges more directly linked to the distance and time of day that they travel.  
  • Seven out of ten Australians support the replacement of existing fuel excises with a charge based on distance driven.
  • Six in ten people surveyed said they would be willing to pay five cents for every kilometre they drive in capital cities during the weekday peak periods in return for removal of registration fees.
  • An end to registration fees was supported by 70 percent of Victorians, while the number was 63 percent in Queensland and South Australia, and 55 percent in New South Wales.
  • Australians are now more confident about the future provision of transport infrastructure and services by local and national authorities than they were in 2015.
  • The short-term transport confidence index for local transport is now at 85, compared to 63 in March 2018 and 44 in September 2015.
  • The long-term confidence index for Australian transport also increases to 83 from 74 in the first quarter of this year.
TOPS_2018_March
  • Car sharing services such as GoGet Oneway and Car2Share are growing in popularity amongst travellers at the expense of taxi and ride sharing services such as Uber. 
  • Support for one-way car share services was strongest amongst TOPS participants in South Australia (68 percent), followed by Queensland (67 percent) and Western Australia (64 percent).
  • When asked about the possibility of using a car-share scheme instead of a taxi or Uber service for a one-way trip, well over half (59 percent) of TOPS participants had a greater preference for car sharing.
  • When asked about their view of car-based taxi like services, 39 percent said they preferred regular taxis over Uber type services (22 percent) while the remaining 39 percent of participants said that their preference depended on the circumstances.
  • When it comes to choosing between a taxi and an Uber type services, more than half of those surveyed (54 percent) said that their decision would be based on price while 27 percent indicated that service quality was the most important factor.
  • Vehicle quality was the deciding factor for just 19 percent of respondents.
  • The TOPS six monthly index of attitudes towards the state of local transport services in the short-term deteriorated to 68 from 80 last September while the long term outlook remained unchanged at 74.
TOPS_2017_September
  • Australians are looking forward to self-driving cars but are unlikely to share their vehicles with other travellers contrary to predictions made by transport experts and the motor industry.
  • Road congestion in our major cities is unlikely to ease with the arrival of self-drive cars and could be worse than it is today.
  • One in four survey participants said they would buy a self-drive car for family use if they were available but only one-third of these adopters would lease their vehicles to other travellers when it was not in use.
  • Forty percent of participants said that they would probably use their cars more as travelling became easier while more than thirty percent said they would use their car rather than use some public transport.
  • No survey participants expected their daily travel to remain the same in the driver-less era.
  • Australians have steadily regained confidence in their local transport services but this is still a long way from the high recorded in September 2013.
 

TOPS_2017_March

  • Fewer than half of Australian travellers believe that the nation’s roads are “relatively safe” while a declining number of people have confidence in transport in their local area. 
  • Around 60 percent of participants said that at least one major accident occurred on their regular routes every three months.
  • Nearly 20 percent of West Australians said that up to three accidents occurred on their regular travel routes per month while at the other end of the scale, only 11 percent of South Australians reported up to three accidents per month.
  • Only 15 percent of New South Wales residents believe that transport in their local area will be better in a year from now while 39 percent of Victorian residents expect an improvement over the next 12 months.
  • The public’s transport expectations continues to decline. From a starting point of 100 in 2010, the index in relation to expectations of an improvement in transport over the next year now stands at 66 while the five year outlook stands at 71.
  • In a question related to toll payments, the TOPS survey found that in nearly 80 percent of cases the charge is met by the driver. In around 15 per cent of cases the cost is shared by the driver and a passenger while the driver’s employer picks up the tab less than five percent of the time.

TOPS_Q1_March_2016 TOPS_Q1_March_2016 (442 KB)

 

The latest Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS) found that, on average, Australian residents are prepared for about 37 minutes of commuting each way on a daily basis. This commuting time is relatively constant for commuters living in different states, with Western Australia residents having the least tolerance on commuting time (34 minutes) and New South Wales residents having the most tolerance to commuting time (40 minutes).

TOPS_2015_September TOPS_2015_September (498 KB)


Australians continue to back big spending on public transport 
  • In the September 2015 quarter, 14% of Australians nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, down from 17% in September 2014. In the September 2015 quarter, 7% of Australians nominated transport as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, down from 8% in September 2014.
  • In the September 2015 quarter, 37% of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, up from 33% in September 2014. This is followed by road improvements (21%), slightly down from 22% in September 2014.
  • In the September 2015 quarter, 61% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, slightly up from 58% in the September 2014 quarter.
  • In the September 2015 quarter, only 7% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time, down from 11% in the September 2014 quarter.
  • In the September 2015 quarter, 9% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in one year’s time, down from 14% in the September 2014 quarter.
  • In the September 2015 quarter, 22% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in five years, down from 27% in the September 2014 quarter. Compared to the launch of TOPS in March 2010, in September 2015 Australians are less confident about transport in their local areas (Confidence index: down from 100 to 44), and across Australia in one year (Confidence index: down from 100 to 46), and five years (Confidence index: down from 100 to 62).
  • With and available $100bn budget, Australians indicate that they would like to see government spend roughly the same amount of money on public transport (51%) as on roads (49%).
  • With the same amount of money, three in five Australians would prefer to invest in a 30-km rail corridor than 300-kms of dedicated bus lanes.

TOPS_2015_March TOPS_2015_March (517 KB)


Despite political promises Confidence in a brighter transport future plummets - survey
  • In the March 2015 quarter, 16% of Australians nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, up from 12% in the March 2014. In the March 2015 quarter, 7% of Australians nominated transport as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, down from 12% in the March 2014.
  • In the March 2015 quarter, 36% of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, down from 42% in the March 2014. This is followed by road improvements (20%), also slightly down from 21% in the March 2014.
  • In the March 2015 quarter, 59% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, slightly up from 55% in the March 2014 quarter.
  • In the March 2015 quarter, only 9% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time, down from 15% in the March 2014 quarter.
  • In the March 2015 quarter, 11% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in one year’s time, down from 17% in the March 2014 quarter.
  • In the March 2015 quarter, 24% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in five years, down from 30% in the March 2014 quarter.
  • Compared to the launch of TOPS in March 2010, in March 2015 Australians are less confident about transport in their local areas (Confidence index: down from 100 to 54), and across Australia in one year (Confidence
  • index: down from 100 to 56), and five years (Confidence index: down from 100 to 65).
  • 33% of Australians are interested, but have concerns, about riding a bike to go to/from work or school.
  • Aggressive driving behaviour and heavy traffic are the top two barriers to using a bicycle as a mode for the commute. 

TOPS_2014_Sept TOPS_2014_Sept (121 KB)

 
More than one third of Australian could cut traffic congestion by working from home

  • In the September 2014 quarter, 17% of Australians nominated infrastructure and 8% nominated transport as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today.
  • One in three Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (22%).
  • 58% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, up from 55% in the March 2014 quarter (the last survey period).
  • Only 11% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time.
  • 14% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in one year’s time, down from 17% in the March 2014 quarter.
  • Australians have lower confidence that transport in Australia will be better in five years than now, with only 27% now thinking that transport in Australia will be better in five years, down from 30% in the March 2014 quarter. 
  • Compared to the launch of TOPS in March 2010, in September 2014 Australians are less confident about transport in their local areas (Confidence index: from 100 to 65), and across Australia in one year (Confidence index: from 100 to 68), and five years (Confidence index: from 100 to 72).
  • One in three Australians indicated they are able to work at home or telecommute, with or without permission.In addition, two in five workers have home as their regular workplace.
  • A majority (54%) of those who are able to work at home or telecommute also have flexible working hours. 

TOPS-2014-Mar TOPS-2014-Mar (116 KB)



Australians support road usage charges over fixed rego fee 
  • In the March 2014 quarter, 12% of Australians nominated transport and infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today.
  • 42% of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (21%).
  • 29% of Australians said that transport in their local area is worse now than one year ago, up from 24% in the September 2013 quarter (the last survey period).
  • Only 15% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time. Lower level of confidence about transport in Australia in the short-term
  • 17% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in one year’s time, down from 25% in the September 2013 quarter.
  • Australians have lower confidence that transport in Australia will be better in five years than now, with only 30% now thinking that transport in Australia will be better in five years, down from 47% in the September 2013 quarter. 

TOPS_2013_Sept TOPS_2013_Sept (1818 KB)


  • 8% of Australians nominated transport and 14% nominated infrastructure as on eo the 2 highest priority issues in Australia
  • 49% of Australians think the 1st priority issue for transport is public transport improvements
  • 31% of Australians think the 2nd priority issue for transport is road improvements
  • 58% believe that transport in their local areas is the same now as noe year ago (this is an increase since March at 56%
  • 17% of Australians think that transport in their local areas will be better in one year's time
  • 47% agree that transport in Australia will be better in 5 years then in 1 year.

TOPS_2013_Mar TOPS_2013_Mar (502 KB)

  • In the March 2013 quarter, 8% of Australians nominated transport and 15% nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today.
  • Over half (53%) of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (26%).
  • 56% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, up from 55% in the September 2012 quarter (the last survey period).
  • Only 18% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time. Views stable on transport in Australia in short-term • 24% of Australians think that transport in Australia will be better in one year’s time, up from 20% in the September 2012 quarter.
  • Australians continue to be more confident that transport in Australia will be better in five years than in one year, with 46% thinking that transport in Australia will be better in five years.,
  • Compared to the launch of TOPS in March 2010, Australians are much less confident about transport in their local areas in March 2013 (Confidence index: from 100 to 88), unchanged in confidence about transport in Australia in one year, and less confident about transport in Australia in five year (Confidence index: from 100 to 97).
  • Half of the residents in Australian capital cities reported that they drive to work during peak periods at lleast one day per week.66% of peak car driving commuters in capital cities said that they have no flexibility in selecting the departure time to work, whilst 34% said that they have plenty of flexibility.
  • If there was a peak period charge of 5 cents per km imposed on all major roads, 13% of peak car driving commuters in capital cities said that they would switch to public transport, and 22% would switch out of the peak periods and drive to work during the off-peak periods instead.
Q3 2012 (September)
  • In the September 2012 quarter, 8% of Australians nominated transport and 13% nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today.
  • Over half (51%) of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (27%).
  • 55% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, down from 56% in the March 2012 quarter (the last survey period).
  • Only 17% of Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time.
  • In the September 2012 quarter, 43% of Australians reported that the level of crowding on local train services in the peak is intolerable.
  • Bus Rapid Transit is an innovative public transport (PT) system and value for money investment in public transport, which involves buses on dedicated corridors. However, only 8% of Australians correctly described BRT as buses operating in their own corridor.
Q1 2012 (March)
  • Nearly half of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (28%).
  • 56% of Australians said that transport in their local areas is the same now as one year ago, down from 59% last quarter.
  • Only 16% Australians said that transport in their local areas will be better in one year’s time, the lowest in nine quarters.
  • 68% of Australians said that the highest priority for public transport should be investing in public transport (PT) within cities; while only 23% support high speed rail (HSR) between cities. Support for investing in public transport within cities was highest amongst people living in capital cities, students, and frequent PT users.
  • In the March 2012 quarter, 51% of Australians said that taxi services in their local areas have not improved in the last 12 months; while only 14% said that taxi services have improved.
Q4 2011 (December)
  • Australians prefer investment in urban rail over high-speed services
  • More Australians want improved rail services in major cities rather than high-speed intercity rail, the latest quarterly national transport survey from the University of Sydney shows.
  • Strong support for public transport, consistently ranked the top transport priority for Australia since our quarterly survey began in March 2010.
  • More than half of respondents in the latest survey said investment in rail within our cities was the highest priority. One third of respondents said high-speed rail between our cities, currently under investigation by the federal government, was most pressing.
  • Support for rail within cities was highest amongst frequent public transport users, Victorian residents, and people living in capital cities.
  • Confidence about transport nationally remained constant, with 46 per cent of respondents saying transport would improve across Australia in the next five years.
 
 Q3 2011 (September)
  • In the September 2011 quarter, 8% of Australians nominated transport and 12% nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, a slight decline from the last quarter, with transport highest in NSW (10%).
  • Half of Australians (51%) said the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, compared to 25% for road improvements. Support for public transport continued to be highest in Victoria (60%).
  • 22% of Australians said transport in their local area will be worse in one year’s time, and 20% said it will be better. Victoria had an increase in confidence after the large decline in confidence last quarter.
  • 63% of Australians said fuel for buses should not be included in the federal government’s proposed carbon tax, disagreeing with the government proposal to include buses from 2014 which may increase the price of public transport. A quarter of respondents (24%) said fuel for buses should be included.
 Q2 2011 (June)  
  • Transport increasing as highest priority issue
  • Public transport the highest priority for transport
  • Decline in confidence about transport in local area Divergent views about transport in Australia in short-term
  • Australians confident about transport in long-term
  • Government responsibility and private sector role
 Q1 2011 (March)  
  • In the March 2011 quarter, 7% of Australians nominated transport and 14% nominated infrastructure as one of the two highest priority issues in Australia today, with transport highest in NSW and Victoria.
  • Half of Australians (49%) said the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements. Support for public transport continued to be highest in Victoria.
  • One in five Australians (20%) said transport in their local area was better now than a year ago, similar to the previous quarter, and 23% said transport is worse now.
 
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