Section 3.4 Australian mode share by state from ABS data

The ABS Census includes questions on how we get to work and where we live. ChartingTransport.com compares the trends in Australian cities from 1976 to 2016.The graphs for walking and cycling are shown in this section.

Australia is a low cycling country and the graphs show that it has always been that way. We have seen some improvement in Canberra. More cycle to work in Canberra than in other Australian cities. The cycling mode share is tiny in Australia compared with a 10% and greater mode share in European countries. Even Vancouver in Canada has reached 10%.

Cycling to work

Journeys to work by bicycle only

Over a 40 year period, between 1976 and 2016, the mode share for cycling increased in Canberra from just below 1% to 3%. At this rate it would take over 120 years to get to 10%.

Canberra is better than other Australian cities, where the cycling mode share is generally less than half what it is here. Australia is a low cycling country.

Journey to work by bicycle only. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS
Figure 3-10 Journey to work by bicycle only. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS

Multimode travel

Multimode travel refers to trips where more than one form of transport has been used. “Park-and-ride” combines car and bus. Walking, cycling, and scooters can be combined with public transport for the long-distance transit. Public transport is part of the active travel mix.

Figure 3-10 shows that the mode share for cycling in the ACT was 3% in 2016. Figure 3-11 shows trips that included some cycling but not just cycling. In 2016 it lay a little above 3%. Less than 0.5% of Canberrans combine cycling with some other transport, such as a bus.

Journeys to work involving a bicycle. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS
Figure 3-11 Journeys to work involving a bicycle. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS

Figure 3.12 shows multimode commuting that includes some cycling but excludes walking. Imagine, driving and then cycling, or cycling and then taking the bike on the bus. Multimode commuting is uncommon: around 0.34%.

Journeys to work bicycle + another mode (other than walking). Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS
Figure 3-12 Journeys to work bicycle + another mode (other than walking). Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS

Walking to work

Walking to work is the oldest way to get to work. Living within walking distance from work is untypical for most of us but it is more common than cycling to work in Canberra.

The number of people walking to work has hardly increased in 40 years in Canberra (5.3% of Canberrans in 2016). We do better than most cities in Australia, except Hobart.

Journeys to work by walking only. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS
Figure 3-13 Journeys to work by walking only. Chart: ChartingTransport. Data: ABS

Location, location, location

The old real estate adage “location, location, location” is true for cycling, too. We are most likely to commute to work on a bicycle if we live close to Civic. Canberra North does best with about 10% cycling mode share around the ANU. The suburbs of Belconnen and Canberra South creep up to 8% cycling mode share in places. Weston Creek and Woden Valley come in after that. The mode share for cycling in the far north, Gungahlin, and the far south, Tuggeranong, is generally 2% or lower.

This following map (figure 3-14) was produced with ABS Census 2011 data. Figures 3-10 to 3-13, show that between 2011 and 2016 there was little change in the data. Cycling mode share in Canberra is low and has a long way to go.

Bicycle in journey to work (%) ABS Census 2011, place of residence
Figure 3-14 Bicycle in journey to work (%) ABS Census 2011, place of residence

Well, there it is. Cycling mode share in Canberra has a long way to go. The good news is that there is plenty of space upwards to improve.

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