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: 2018–2021


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.

This project is funded by RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capabilities Platform, the Victorian Planning Authority, the City of Casey, the City of Wyndham and Stockland Corporation.

Final Results

Final Report – Updated version November 2021

Summary of Findings – Updated version November 2021

Briefing and Working Papers

Please contact if you are interested in any of the following papers.

Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne’s Growth Areas: Initial Thoughts on Processes and Trade-offs, October 2018

Transport Goals in the Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines, March 2019

Development contributions and other schemes for funding infrastructure in Melbourne’s growth areas, July 2019

International examples of transport options delivery and funding, August 2020

Alternative funding options for the early delivery of transport options in new suburbs, November 2020

Benefits and costs of early delivery of transport options in new suburbs, November 2021

Behavioural Change, Choice of Travel Mode and Residential Relocation, July 2021

The lived transport experience of residents in Melbourne’s growth areas, February 2022


Policy Briefs 

Coordinated and sequenced growth area development

Alternative funding options for the early delivery of active and public transport in new suburbs

Transport Options in New Suburbs: Early delivery of multiple transport options is needed in new suburbs

Transport Options in New Suburbs: A more strategic approach towards funding projects through the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC)

Costs and Benefits of early delivery of transport options – Updated version November 2021

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Gunn, L., Kroen, A., De Gruyter, C., Higgs, C., Saghapour, T., Davern, M. (2020). Early delivery of equitable and healthy transport options in new suburbs: Policy, place and people In: Journal of Transport & Health, 18, DOI:10.1016/j.jth.2020.100870

Kroen, A., De Gruyter, C. (2021). Development Contributions for Regional and State Infrastructure – A Case Study of Melbourne, Australia In: Urban Policy and Research, 39(2), 157-174, DOI: 10.1080/08111146.2020.1816542

Goodman, R., Kroen, A., Davern, M. (2021). Quality of Life, Sustainability and Transport: The Case of Melbourne, Australia In: Handbook of Quality of Life and Sustainability, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Cham, Switzerland, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50540-0_11

Kroen, A., Taylor, E., Goodman, R. (2021) Precinct planning for active and public transport in growth suburbs. In: Australian Planner, 57(3-4), 177-187, DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2021.2017991

De Gruyter, C., Gunn, L., Kroen, A., Saghapour, T., Davern, M., Higgs, C. (2022) Exploring changes in the frequency of public transport use among residents who move to outer suburban greenfield estates. In: Case Studies on Transport Policy, 10(1), 341-353, DOI: 10.1016/j.cstp.2021.12.014

Past Newsletters

Issue 11 April 2021

Issue 10 January 2021

Issue 09 October 2020

Issue 08 July 2020

Issue 07 April 2020

Issue 06 January 2020

Issue 05 October 2019

Issue 04 July 2019

Issue 03 April 2019

Issue 02 December 2018

Issue 01 September 2018

Workshops and Seminars


Webinar: Early delivery of equitable and healthy transport options in new suburbs.
Liveability, health impacts and the early delivery of transport options.
Local government and the connection between public and active transport, liveability and health.

Key People

Lead researchers

Emeritus Professor Robin Goodman

Emeritus Professor Robin Goodman

Emeritus Professor

Dr Annette Kroen

Dr Annette Kroen

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Lucy Gunn

Dr Lucy Gunn

Senior Research Fellow

Professor Melanie Davern

Professor Melanie Davern

Director, Australian Urban Observatory

Research assistants

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News & Blog

CUR Stories

Livin’ on the edge: How to plan a new suburb on Melbourne’s fringe

18 February 2019

With the Victorian Government releasing 50,000 housing lots for 12 new suburbs on Melbourne’s urban fringe, how can we ensure new areas like these are liveable and thrive?

CUR Stories

Researchers inviting participants for transport project

22 August 2018

A team of researchers at RMIT University are seeking interview participants for the project “Early delivery of equitable and healthy transport options in new suburbs: Critical reform and tools”.

CUR Stories

Rail access improves liveability, but all regional centres are not equal

13 June 2018

Our research on the liveability of regional cities in Victoria has identified an important element: liveability in these areas requires fast, reliable and frequent rail connections to capital cities.