Transurban COVID-19 survey reveals an increase in bike usage

Queensland’s major toll-road operator Transurban has forecast a major increase in bike usage as society recovers from COVID-19.

Transurban commissioned a study which surveyed 4500 people in Australia and selected urban areas of North America. (https://www.transurban.com/content/dam/transurban-pdfs/03/Urban-Mobility-Trends-from-COVID-19.pdf)

Brisbane’s most exciting stat out of the whole survey shows up in how people expect their transport use will change. In Brisbane, use of the bicycle as a transport mode is up 36%, which is great. What is more surprising is the expected (future) use of the bicycle is up 71%.

In comparison, the expected use of cars and motorcycles is to stay the same, with train and bus public transport is expected to be down 15%.

Brisbane specific statistics highlight a major increase in bike usage as a mode of transport.

Data from road and public transport authorities show both private vehicle and public transport use was down during the lockdown stages of the pandemic. Sadly, private vehicle use has rebounded close to previous levels. Public transport use remains around 35-40% of previous levels.

The survey found that ‘personal health and safety’ has moved ahead of convenience in as a determining factor for the choice of transport mode.

Of the six factors influencing transport mode choice in the survey, sustainability remains the bottom of the list.

Transurban is not a neutral observer in this process. Their report reflects this, urging Governments to bring forward major road projects in response. They say these projects must include active transport options, saying “our survey showed an increased of up to 27% in cycling in most cities”.

Bicycle Queensland sees these results as confirmation of the findings of the survey we ran during the pandemic. Similarly, our survey found that 80% of respondents said they planned to cycle the same or more after the pandemic.

In conclusion, these survey results highlight the need for greater investment in active transport. For instance, it highlights the need for a safer environment for people switching from public transport, but also to provide those people driving motor vehicles, trapped in even greater congestion, to have another option to save time and money while boosting sustainability back up to its rightful place as a transport choice factor.

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