Are regional commuters getting sick of the daily travel grind?

CUR PhD student Todd Denham is investigating changing commuter trends for people travelling from regional Victoria to Melbourne for work.

The direction of population growth to regional areas, along with the continued investment in V/Line services and the freeway network indicates that regional-urban commuting will continue to grow, but how will this impact on regional cities and towns? And will this growth translate to stronger regional economies and better employment opportunities?

Centre for Urban Research PhD student, Todd Denham is investigating the rise in the number of people living in regional areas and commuting to work in Melbourne, looking at whether this rise in metropolitan commuting is generating employment in regional communities.

“There is evidence to suggest that regional-urban commuters will have a positive impact on the economic health of regional communities” he said.

“This is because regional-urban commuters tend to have higher incomes than regional workers and families who remain and shop in regional areas”.

Denham is currently surveying commuters about whether they have considered ending their commuting and working locally or forming their own business.

According to Denham, a longer-term impact of commuting growth can potentially be seen as being of more substantial benefit to regional areas than their higher incomes, as regional-urban commuters are likely to work as managers and professionals, and have higher levels of education and therefore add to the skills and capacity of the regional workforce.

Currently, Plan Melbourne is under review by the State Government, includes a strategy to “rebalance Victoria’s population growth from Melbourne to rural and regional Victoria”.

Denham says he hopes the project will result in new insights into planning for population growth in areas surrounding Australia’s capital cities, including strategies for Local Government to make the most of the people already residing in their Council areas, helping regional communities benefit from the steady influx of metropolitan workers.

If you live in a regional area and commute to Melbourne to work, please consider taking 10 minutes to contribute to this research via a survey online. You can directly access the it here.

The survey link and updates on the project will be posted on the Regional Commuting Research Facebook page.

For more information about this project, or for questions regarding the survey, email Todd Denham