The project will produce evidence and tools to assist both the public and private sectors provide transport options to residents of Melbourne’s new suburbs as soon as they move in.

  • Project dates: 2018


Melbourne’s infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with current population growth. New suburbs are expected to accommodate an extra half a million new homes over the next 35 years. With scarce local employment and services, residents in outer suburbs can spend 15 or more hours per week commuting. Most travel by car on congested roads as public transport is absent, unreliable, overcrowded or increases commute times. Thus, transport costs are externalised to households, while transport inequities and health disparities increase between residents of established, well-serviced suburbs and those attracted to more affordable housing on the urban fringe. To address these inequities it is critical to deliver efficient public transport, and infrastructure that supports active transport, early on in the lifetime of the suburbs.

Project Goals

The project “Early delivery of equitable and healthy transport options in new suburbs” will produce evidence and tools to assist both the public and private sectors provide transport options to residents of Melbourne’s new suburbs as soon as they move in. It will identify ways to improve resident transport and health outcomes; government processes; and transport infrastructure and service financing. The project will build evidence of resident transport experiences; and develop tools to overcome legislative, procedural and funding barriers to implementing early transport delivery; as well as financial models and tools. It will also identify pathways for collaboration between public and private actors – including local governments, planning agencies, and developers – given that the complex policy, financial and funding mechanisms of new transport delivery depend on their collaboration. Through this, the project aims to address critical problems identified by project partners.

The project goals include:

  • Identifying ways to increase local transport options and improved mobility for residents in new suburbs from the start, in order to improve individual and societal health benefits and reduce resident economic and spatial disadvantage;
  • Developing models for a more transparent transport infrastructure financing system and more efficient and equitable ways for spending public and private funds for transport infrastructure and services;
  • Building further government knowledge and ability to achieve its policy goals (reducing gaps between policy targets and realised outcomes); and
  • Improving certainty and clarity of regulations for developers.

Research design

The project team will conduct policy, spatial, social and economic analyses. The research components will include:

  • Measuring transport policy goals against current policy outcomes;
  • Using existing data, analysing transport mode choice and linking this to resident health outcomes;
  • Interviews with residents about transport experiences and preferences;
  • The analysis of infrastructure funding processes to critically examine past approaches and identify methods for improved modelling of real transport options to better meet residents’ demands and preferences; and
  • Developing models that provide evidence on cost and benefit implications of early and late transport provision and novel funding modelling tools for walking, cycling, public transport infrastructure and services.

Expected Results

The research will produce cross-sectoral evidence not previously collected and analysed for Melbourne. It will provide the project partners with analytical policy briefs which recommend changes to legislation, policies and regulations (Year 1); an evidence base of residents’ current travel habits and preferences (Year 2); and, modelling of alternative financing tools which incorporate timing of delivery and cost benefit analysis (Year 3). The project will contribute to RMIT’s new Urban Observatory with interactive data visualisations to communicate findings to public and private sectors.

Key People

Lead researcher

Professor Robin Goodman

Professor Robin Goodman

Professor, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

View profile

RMIT Project Team

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