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Project Proposal On Melbourne Transportation Improvement

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Melbourne has one of the best transportation systems yet with increase in the population of traveller have lead to long waiting times for buses, trains, and trams which has pushed people into taking private vehicles for travel. From 2013 to 2014, the population of Victoria was increased by 106,700 to 5.84 million and by 2016; Melbourne population reached a mark of 4,64,1636.

As population increased, the challenges with public transportation escalated resulting into people shifting to private cars. This is reflected in the increasing sales and ownership of cars in Melbourne people. Only 2-3rd of the population in Melbourne use public transportation services like trains and trams today. (Currie, Thursday 27th October 2016).

Thus, there is a clear need for improvement in the public transportation system of Melbourne such that more people can be encouraged to use public vehicles for travel. This proposal suggests a research on the possible solutions to the public transportation issue faced by Melbourne such that solutions for improvement can be arrived at.

Melbourne public transport system is unable to manage the needs of increasing population that is facing more wait times in public transport service like train, bus and train which is why many of them are shifting to private vehicles for travel. This causes increase in traffic on road as well as increase in pollution. There is a need to reduce the private vehicle traffic which can only be possible if the population is diverted back to public vehicles like trains and trams. This calls for an improvement in the public transportation system in Melbourne.


Research aim, objectives and research questions

The aim of this research is to discover ways to improve the public transportation system of Melbourne. This can be achieved with following objectives of research:

  • Explore ways to reduce the waiting time of people at the public transportation facilities
  • Improve the system in Melbourne so that more and more people can use public transport
  • Divert the traffic using private vehicles to the public transport in Melbourne.

To fulfil these objectives, certain research questions may be answered including:

  • How can we reduce the waiting time for people using public transport vehicles?
  • How can we increase the capacity or the resource utilization of the public transport vehicles so that more people can be accommodated?
  • What improvements can we make in public transport such that people are encouraged to use it for travel?

Justification and potential output

Increasing population across the world causes concerns of travelling and government face challenges in meeting needs of increasing population. A common tendency of people diverting to private vehicles is seen in response. However, this has disadvantages such as:

  • More resource wastage as instead of many people using one vehicle, the same number of people would be using multiple vehicles increasing fuel consumption.
  • With increasing road transport vehicles, the pollution would also increase in cities
  • Cost of private travel is always higher than public transportation which would lead to increase in the lifestyle cost of people

Considering the above discussed implications of increase in private transport, cities need improvements in their public transport systems so that more people can be accommodated in public transportation. Melbourne is taken as a case for understanding the challenges in public transportation that has lead to decreasing use of the same by people such that solutions can be arrived at for improving the situation. For this, a research is proposed for exploration of transport system and possible enhancements.

  • Identification of specific transportation problems faced by people in public transport
  • Identification of reasons why people are shifting to private transportation
  • Identification of cause of these problems faced by public from public transportation in Melbourne
  • Exploration of different transportation system to come up with possible solutions for improvement of a public transport system
  • Recommendations for improving the public transportation system of Melbourne

Conceptual framework

Travel options that people have can be considered as bundles of specific attributes that can describe a trip including its characteristics like purpose of travel, timing of travel, costs, convenience factor, and uncertainty. A travel option can be described subjectively while conducting an empirical study on it. It would need an understanding of how people conceptualize a travel option. Travel demand Management measures can be used to understand how users may respond to changes in attributes of the travel option. For instance, if a road transport faced traffic congestion then this can lead to switching of the travel mode by the users. This conceptual model can be applied to the current such that it can be said that an increase in the waiting time for trains in Melbourne lead to switching of the travel mode from trains or trams to private transport vehicles (Singleton, 2013).

A travel option can have two types of determinants including attributes of travel options and goals or intensions of the people when evaluating attributes like cost, time, and convenience while selecting a mode of transport for their household.  An example of such a goal would be reduction of expenses which would compel them to use public transport. These goals may be influenced by certain static factors like occupation, income, family structure, travel pattern, and attitude. People would have some implementation intensions that would include a plan for achieving desired goals using various transport facilities. A range of options may be chosen by them from using electric communication, staying home, car pooling or using trip chains with specific modes and departure times. They may even consider certain long term possibilities such as moving to new location, selling car, changing workplace, changing work hours, and so on (Loukopoulos, et al., 2003).

Goals can be divided into difficulty level, specifics, complexity and conflicts. Difficulty is about the skills that are required for achieving goals such as driving in case of private vehicle. Specificity is concerned whether the goal is quantitative or not. Complexity explores various dimensions of the outcome. Conflict involves understanding the degree to which one goal achievement can prevent achievement of other goal such as choice of low cost travel by train would compromise the goal of convenient travel which is possible with car (Litman, 2017).

A status quo followed by people for achieving goals can act as a benchmark for the attributes such that alternatives are evaluated as a loss or as a gain. In case the goal could not be achieved, the person would use a lexographical rule. This would involve switching to a different transportation MODE. However, in this case, a sufficient time buffer must be available for slower transport mode. Despite this time buffer, the travellers would still feel the time stress and would thus, be dissatisfied. In case, the idea does not work, a person combine activities and make adjustments in schedules. For instance, a person would use a car for completing multiple activities so that number of trips can be minimized. Coordination in schedule can be done through car pooling. From this understanding of the people’s behaviour in the case of travel mode choice, it can be said that some key principles play a significant role in determining human behaviour such as lexographic decision, status quo, cost-benefit trade-off, and disutility minimization (Rousseau, 2012).

As per the conceptual framework, the choice of travel mode is influenced by goals, changes in trip chain attributes, and situational factors. Disturbances can lead to deviation from reference such that it would be required to be countered. For instance, a person planning to go for a movie may plan to use bicycle but if disturbance occurs in the form of rain then it can lead to the change of outcome from watching movie in theatre to staying home or change of transport mode to a public transport rather than bicycle (Lewis, et al., 2008).

For the consideration of the change of mode of transport, the disturbance has to be major and the value of the outcome must be significant. For example, in case a movie ticket is booked in advance, the goal is important and thus, rather than staying home, the family would think of changing the mode of transport. Such disturbances can also lead to creation of a new reference level. For instance, in case of a movie plan, if it is raining then a person may look for alternatives that would be selected or rejected on the basis of criteria’s of attributes. For instance, in case of movie watching, an alternative is walking which would be rejected as it would lead to the traveller getting wet. Car pooling may not be a feasible option. In certain situations goals are not implemented such as in the cases they are unrealistic, when people change their mind because of reduced commitment towards it, and when goal could not be achieved before it is forgotten.

Four types of relationships can be defined between goals and behaviour including true positive, false positive, false negative, and true negative. When behaviour leads to goal achievement, it is called true positive. When behaviour is displayed without any goal, it is false negative which usually is impulsive or habitual. When there is a goal but no action steps are taken then it reflects lack of commitment or forgetfulness. In absence of both goal and behaviour, it is true negative (Silva, 1993).

While public transport of Melbourne make a huge facility and is used by a large number of people in the city, its ability to response to the changing needs of customers has not been up to the mark. At the backend, the system has cost related inefficiencies that make the system weak which is why it is not able to make use of the opportunities of changing dynamics. The city transport system is more focused on the suppler side rather than on the user side to maintain its financial situation. Whether the service provides a value for money option for the passengers is in question. If the organization needs to improve its services, additional funds are required but that would also mean higher cost for passengers and thus, deterioration of the value for money (Hensher, 2000).


A key challenge faced by passengers while using a public transport system is crowding which increases their waiting time as well as cause inconvenience in travel. Several measurements can be used for understanding the performance of the public transport system with respect to the customer concerns such as crowding. For measuring crowding in a railway system, excess of capacity (PiXC) measure can be used for measuring peak traffic in morning and evening which can reflect upon the passengers who exceed the standard class capacity such that the actual people travelling reach the critical point. Percentage of standard class passengers who travel standing is another measurer’s percentage of passengers that travel standing in trains or trams. PiCX allows counting of passengers for up to 20 minutes of standing to measure crowding levels. This suggests that for short journeys, standing customers are acceptable but for longer journeys, passengers should be able to sit (Lierop, et al., 2017).

Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM) is a system of measurement of crowding which can be used for identification of the crush load levels. It defines different level of loading including level A when the train is comparatively free, B when people need to choose where too sit, C when all passengers have seats, D when some people are standing comfortably, E when maximum load is covered and F when the load reaches the crushing level and passengers stand with much difficulties. Every station and train in Melbourne has its own measure for TCQSM. In peak hours, the city has over 135% of the seat capacity utilized but the standing time for most people is less than 20 minutes. These measurement models can be used for understanding the level of crowd that the citizens face in Melbourne (Li & Hensher, 2013).

This research would make use of a mixed research methodology involving secondary literature analysis and primary survey. The research would begin with the literature review in which past research papers, books, journals, and reports would be explored and the resulting data would be analyzed thematically to identify themes of transportation problems and solution. It would also reveal keywords on challenges of transportation and decision making. This would form a basis for a questionnaire which would be used for conducting a survey. The questionnaire would attempt to understand challenges faced by travellers when they use public transport. It would include difficulties with each public transport method. The survey would also ask questions on the methods they use for making decisions about selection of the transport route (Booth, et al., 2012).

Data Collection: Data would be collected from the residents of Melbourne and they would be distributed questionnaire for getting the data. The population of Melbourne in 2015 was 23.78 million out which around 16% people used public transport which makes 3.8 million people. Considering this population, a sample size of 300 is defined to be used for this survey considering the population that uses public transport (PT, 2017).

Data Analysis: the data collected from the survey would be entered and coded in SPSS. Statistical analysis would be used on the data. Descriptive analysis would be used for demographic data analysis. Further, correlation and regression tests would be used for determining relationships between different experiential factors and the decision making criteria of citizens when considering transport mode.

The organization for which this research would be conducted is Public Transport Victoria (PTV) which is a statutory authority for all the public transport systems working in the city. It acts as a single point of contact for all the customers who need information about the services, tickets, initiatives, and fares. The objective of the organization is to improve its current transportation system and expand its networks of train, tram and bus services (Stone, et al., 2015).    

Task Name





Project Proposal on Melbourne transportation improvement

90 days

Mon 22-05-17

Fri 22-09-17



20 days

Mon 22-05-17

Fri 16-06-17


   Literature Review

20 days

Mon 19-06-17

Fri 14-07-17


   Data Collection

33 days

Mon 17-07-17

Wed 30-08-17


   Data Analysis

6 days

Thu 31-08-17

Thu 07-09-17


   Report Preparation

7 days

Fri 08-09-17

Mon 18-09-17


   Report proofreading, editing and submission

4 days

Tue 19-09-17

Fri 22-09-17



Budget and justification

The total budget of the project is $5000 approx. and it is expected that the it is enough for the project to be completed within the timeframe of 15th August 2017.

The mentioned budget is appropriate for the project because:

  • Literature review will be conducted using textbooks, online resources and articles. They will cost around $1500.
  • Data collection will be done using surveys and questionnaire. The questionnaire will be imparted using emails and offline medium. In case, receiver’s mail assumes it to be spam, it will land up in spam folder and will be of no use. Also, in case user’s is unable to access one’s mail, then also emails sent will go in vain. All this will cost $1500.
  • Data analysis will be done using MS excel, tables or database tool. It will cost around $2000.


Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is facing challenges in getting more passengers as they are shifting towards private vehicle usage for transportation mainly due to the waiting time they have to spend on public transport facilities. The organization needs to enhance its existing systems by solving problems in transport and providing facilitation services that encourage users to use public transport. For this, a research is proposed which would include mixed methodology. A literature review analysis would be conducted to understand the challenges of people and to discover solutions while a primary survey would be used to explore challenges of customers and their decision making journeys. A sample size of 300 has been proposed and a statistical analysis using correlation and regression methods would be used. The results would be interpreted to understand problems of people and identify solutions for improving transport services in Melbourne. Recommendations would be made for the authority to make these improvements.



Andrle, S. J., 1999. Highlights of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, s.l.: Federal Transit Administration.

Booth, a., papaioannou, D. & Sutton, a., 2012. SyStematic approacheS to a successful literature review, s.l.: Sage Publications, Inc. .

Currie, P. G., Thursday 27th October 2016. Public Transport in Melbourne. Melbourne Transport Problems & Progress , p. 15.

Hensher, D. A., 2000. Urban Public Transport Challenges. The Drawng Board: An Australian Review of Public Affiars, 1(2), pp. 47-62.

Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M. & Barrett, L. F., 2008. Handbook of Emotions. 3rd ed. s.l.:The Guilford Press.

Lierop, D. v., Badami, M. G. & El-Geneidy, A., 2017. Nothing but a good ride: The influences of satisfaction and loyalty in public transport. Washington D.C., USA, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.

Litman, T., 2017. Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs: Best Practices Guidebook, s.l.: Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Li, Z. & Hensher, D. A., 2013. Crowding in Public Transport: A Review of Objective and Subjective Measures. Journal of Public Transportation, 16(2), pp. 107-134.

Loudon, 2001. Consumer Behavior: Concepts And Applications. s.l.:Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Loukopoulos, P. et al., 2003. Car-User Responses to Travel Demand Management Measures: Goal Intentions and Choice of Adaptation Alternatives. s.l., 10th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research .

PT, 2017. Passenger load surveys. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 May 2017].

Rousseau, D. M., 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-based Management. s.l.:Oxford University Press.


Singleton, P. A., 2013. A Theory of Travel Decision-Making with Applications for Modeling Active Travel Demand, s.l.: Portland State University.

Stone, D. J., Kirk, Y. & Odgers, J., 2015. Melbourne’s public transport: performance and prospects after 15 years of ‘privatisation’. Melbourne, State Of Australian Cities Conference.


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