Keeping an Economic Centre Moving and Igniting Long Term Behaviour Change; Applying Travel Demand Management to Network Disruptions in an Urban Space
Adrian Barritt, Mott MacDonald, Frances Parrott, Mott MacDonald
Travel demand management has a growing role to play in the future vitality of our urban environment. As evidenced in Sydney and applicable to other cities, disruption through construction projects can be a catalyst for lasting travel behaviour change
Theme: URBAN MOBILITY
Sydney’s CBD – the economic powerhouse of Australia – is undergoing transformational change through a once-in-a-generation investment in transport infrastructure improvements. But how do you keep such an important city moving throughout an intensive three year construction period when everyday journeys are disrupted and transport capacity is reduced?
The solution is a first of its kind travel demand management (TDM) programme, based around an extensive construction timetable. It is designed to keep their biggest stakeholder, the travelling public, engaged and informed of all changes on the network to ensure travel behaviours can be permanently influenced.
The purpose of the project is to keep Sydney ‘open for business’ throughout construction by using behaviour change practices to maintain network equilibrium. The programme has ambitious and specific objectives to reduce vehicle trips into the city centre during the weekday peak hour (8am-9am) by 5% in the first year to 15% in the third.
Sydney is the first city to apply TDM to a long-term set of network disruptions in an urban space and the outcomes have so far been impressive. In the first six months of the project, city traffic volumes have decreased by 3% in the peak hour, more than 450 businesses are engaged and congestion is less than originally modelled.
The study demonstrates that changing commuting behaviours is possible during a long term construction project, not just for a one-off event. In Sydney, commuters have changed how they travel, when they travel and on which routes they travel. This demonstrates that by applying a focused TDM programme, disruption becomes a positive catalyst for behaviour change.
However, to be successful a coordinated approach is essential. The TDM programme has to be the centrifugal point for all engagement with the impacted audiences. There needs to be clear and defined audience segmentation so the appropriate message can be assigned.
The lessons from Sydney are applicable to many urban environments and pertinent to cities across Europe. As European cities continue to grow and improvements made to transport networks, TDM principles should be applied before and during the improvements so behaviour changes can be harnessed and the economic performance of the city can be enhanced.
Association for European Transport