Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spatial Network Analysis of Multimodal Transport Systems: Developing a Strategic Planning Tool to Assess the Congruence of Movement and Urban Structure

by Jan Scheurer and Carey Curtis

This paper introduces a GIS-based tool designed to assess centrality and connectivity in urban public transport networks. Despite some recent progress and supportive rhetoric by policy makers, the public transport systems of large Australian cities remain characterised by market shares significantly below those in most developed cities outside the US. Public transport users and experts have long lamented that sizeable proportions of Australian metropolitan areas have no access to high-quality public transport services and where they do these services only cover a limited range of possible destinations. Public transport thus largely fails to live up to a ‘go anywhere, anytime’ principle that would make it more competitive with car travel. The spatial network analysis of multimodal urban transport systems tool (SNAMUTS) endeavours to identify and visualise strengths and weaknesses of geographical coverage, network connectivity, competitive speed and service levels in a coherent mapping exercise. The tool is designed to aid discussion and to lend weight to decision making within the fields of land use planning and transport planning, particularly where outcomes leading to more sustainable transport options are needed. The development of the tool has been closely linked to needs arising from the recent metropolitan planning strategies: Melbourne 2030 and Perth’s Network City, where there are movement and activity centre networks promoted as redevelopment corridors and nodes. While such strategies articulate key sustainable transport concepts such as the desire to ‘promote public over private transport’ and land use transport integration, to date the basis for critical decisions as to which centres should be promoted or where to improve the public transport network have been made in a vacuum. This tool aims to fill that vacuum and can thus serve as a communicative tool for transport and land use planners, urban designers and community advocates.
An earlier study conducted a review of ways to measure accessibility (Scheurer and Curtis, 2007) and this assisted in the development of the model. The model was first developed in 2006 for Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs in a project initiated by seven local councils and convened by the Metropolitan Transport Forum. In 2007-08, as part of an ARC Linkage grant on Transit-Led Development in a New Rail Corridor, it has been applied to the entire Perth metropolitan area to conduct a before-and-after assessment of the impacts of the Perth to Mandurah railway opening later in the year. The findings from this assessment are documented in this paper.

more about urban transportation:

Journey-to-Work Patterns in the Age of Sprawl: Evidence from Two Midsize Southern Metropolitan Areas

Reduction of CO2 emissions of transport by reorganisation of urban activities


Centrality in networks of urban streets

Spatial Network Analysis of Public Transport Systems: Developing a Strategic Planning Tool to Assess the Congruence of Movement and Urban Structure in Australian Cities

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