Victoria Walks' research
- Walking and transport in Melbourne suburbs
- The economic case for investment in walking
- Footpath cycling
- Creating Accessible Centres and Connected Stations
- Young people and walking
- Level crossing removal and railway projects
- Safer Road Design for Older Pedestrians
- Falls in the street
- Shared paths
- Seniors and walking
- Other Victoria Walks tools and research
Walking and transport in Melbourne suburbs
This report looks at how people travel around Melbourne, with a particular focus on the role of walking and access to suburban shopping areas.
Key findings include:
- About 16% of trips in Melbourne are walked and an additional 8% have at least one walking stage (usually combined with public transport).
- Walking is critical for public transport, with almost half of passengers walking from home to railway stations (about a third come by car) and 94% of trips to bus and tram stops are walked.
- Generally speaking, the proportion of people walking to inner suburban centres is similar to those driving, with public transport the other key access mode. However, traders are more likely to drive and over-estimate the proportion of their customers who come via car.
- In the middle and outer suburbs, it is 3.5 times more likely that a trip to a mainstreet style strip centre will be walked than to a car-oriented centre.
The economic case for investment in walking
A collaboration with global consultancy firm Arup, this report outlines the benefits of walking, along with the role it plays in transport, recreation and health. The report then analyses how transport investment frameworks apply to pedestrian projects, to help us understand why walking seems to fall through the cracks.
Walking already accounts for 1 in 6 of Melbourne’s weekday trips, but there are opportunities for many more. If half of short private vehicle trips (0-0.9 km) in Melbourne and Geelong were converted to walking, there would be 2.4 million fewer vehicle trips each week.
Arup found walking has been overlooked as a potential investment and underplayed in city-shaping projects. For example, most train trips start and end with walking, but the economic evaluation for projects such as Melbourne Metro have not included walking.
Walking is also the most popular recreational activity, with over one million participants in Victoria, but government investment in sport and recreation tends to go to organised sport.
Victoria Walks commissioned transport consultants MRCagney to review the existing research and evidence on footpath cycling.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
“… crash risks for cyclists may be higher on the footpath than on the road.”
“…the presence of cyclists on footpaths is a real concern for people walking, particularly for elderly or other vulnerable users such as the vision impaired.”
Victoria Walks, the Council On The Ageing (Vic) and Vision Australia are calling upon politicians to ignore cycling lobbyists’ calls to allow teenagers and adults to ride on footpaths in Victoria.
Creating Accessible Centres and Connected Stations
Interesting ‘Main Street’ shopping strips are great features of Melbourne. Places like Brunswick Street, Sydney Road and Acland Street are famous examples, but most established suburbs have their own traditional shopping streets at the heart of the community. While these vibrant, local shopping streets have stood the test of time, they now face significant threats from online retailing, as well as continuing competition from shopping malls.
In One step ahead… Planning for Accessible Centres and Connected Stations, urban access consultant Dr David Mepham explores practical ways for local councils to create attractive, accessible, connected Main Streets.
Young people and walking
We commissioned Dr Jan Garrard from Deakin University to produce the report Young People and Walking. The project involved a desktop literature review, five focus group discussions and an online survey of 1089 people in Victoria aged 15 – 20 years (75% female).
Two reports on the research are available:
- The summary report (50 pages) provides an overview of the research.
- The full project report (178 pages) provides comprehensive detail on all aspects of the study.
For a visual illustration of the key findings, check out our infographics.
Victoria Walks worked with the State Government and local councils to crowdsource opinions on walking around Melbourne, in a ground-breaking approach to understanding road safety.
We asked people to indicate their walking safety concerns through an interactive online map, hosted by internet engagement specialists CrowdSpot. People could indicate concerns like a lack of pedestrian crossings, poor street lighting, high traffic speed, or footpath problems.
A lack of pedestrian crossings emerged as the number one concern for people walking around Melbourne. Other issues included drivers failing to give way when turning, traffic moving too fast, problems with footpaths, and traffic light problems like a long wait for the green man.
Level crossing removal and railway projects
The removal of level crossings is one of Victoria's largest infrastructure programs - $2.4 billion in 2015/16 alone.
But what does this mean for people walking to train stations, or in the neighbourhoods around the train line?
Victoria Walks asked Dr David Mepham, Director at DMC, to explore the issues and prepare the report Planning for Pedestrian Accessibility at Level Crossings and Railway Stations. This research examines a selection of existing stations and previous level crossing removal projects, and concept planning for elevated rail on the Pakenham-Cranbourne line, in order to draw lessons for this and future rail projects.
Safer Road Design for Older Pedestrians
This research identifies ways for road managers to provide safer street environments, based on analysis of more than 1,000 crashes affecting older pedestrians.
Key findings from the report include:
- Older pedestrians experience an average of 17 fatalities, 147 serious injuries and 114 other injuries in Victoria each year, with an estimated economic cost of $110 million.
- The most common crash scenario for older pedestrians is being hit by a motorist turning right as they exit an intersection – 18% of all crashes.
- Drivers hitting people on the footpath at driveways or car park entrances comprise at least 16% of all older pedestrian crashes.
Having considered the evidence from around the World and the Victorian crash statistics, the report recommends infrastructure treatments to provide safer streets. For a quick summary of the issues and design options for key locations, separate factsheets have also been developed.
More recently, Victoria Walks undertook a summary Analysis of Crashes Involving Pedestrians, with a focus on the five year period 2013-2017.
Falls in the street
This research looked at hospital presentations and admissions from falls in the street, typically overlooked in the road safety debate. It was undertaken by the Monash University Accident Research Centre in conjunction with Victoria Walks and funded by VicHealth.
The research found that trips and falls in the street send over 5,000 pedestrians to hospital each year – even more than collisions with cars. It is the first Australian work to take a detailed looked at the issue.
Shared paths are commonly built for both bike riders and walkers, but they can be an uncomfortable place to walk, especially for children, disabled or older people.
Victoria Walks developed a comprehensive research paper, Shared paths – the issues, based on a literature review and stakeholder consultation with subject experts, VicRoads and 18 local councils. This provides the basis for our short position statement Shared paths – finding solutions.
The research paper and position statement set out recommendations for infrastructure that work for both walkers and cyclists.
Victoria Walks also developed a position statement on proposals to allow more cycling on footpaths.
Seniors and walking
Victoria Walks contracted Dr Jan Garrard to conduct a comprehensive study of the barriers and enablers for seniors’ walking for transport and recreation.
The study was conducted in partnership with COTA (Council on the Ageing) Victoria and included:
- A survey of 1128 senior Victorians
- Eight focus group discussions
- A literature review of supports and constraints on walking by seniors
- Analysis of seniors walking data from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity.
Other Victoria Walks tools and research
In December 2018, Victoria Walks undertook an Analysis of Crashes Involving Pedestrians, with a focus on the five year period 2013-2017.
Victoria Walks has also developed detailed tools and guideline documents, aimed primarily at councils, on: