Understanding Transport Disadvantage in Australia
1 September 2011 at 12:35 pm
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Transport difficulties are consistently identified as a factor that restricts Australian families’ capacity to access services and participate in activities, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
The Institute has produced Resource Sheet that provides an overview of transport disadvantage in Australia.
The Resource Sheet, on The Relationship Between Transport and Disadvantage in Australia, produced by the Institute’s Kate Rosier and Myfanwy McDonald provides information about how transport and disadvantage intersect in Australia and looks at why some groups are more vulnerable to transport disadvantage.
The Institute says that the complex relationship between transport and disadvantage in Australia has previously been overlooked in both the research and policy sectors.
The authors of the Resource Sheet define transport disadvantage as difficulties accessing transport (both public and private transport) and/or difficulties associated with maintaining private transport (i.e., cars).
They say that although the proportion of Australians who feel they cannot or often cannot get to places they need to visit is fairly small (4%), Australians in the bottom income bracket are much more likely to experience transport difficulties than those in the top income quintile (9.9% to 1.3% respectively).
They say the groups most likely to experience transport disadvantage in Australia are:
- ?young people;
- ? women;
- ? families with young children;
- ? unemployed people;
- ? those on low incomes;
- ? senior citizens;
- ? culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people;
- ? Indigenous Australians; and
- ? people with a disability.
The resource sheets main points are:
- Transport disadvantage is experienced by specific sub-groups in the population – for example, families with young children, people with a disability and Indigenous Australians – and is found in particular geographical locations, such as outer-urban areas, rural and remote Australia.
- The report says transport disadvantage in outer-urban areas is the result of a range of intersecting factors including poor public transport infrastructure, higher proportion of low-income households and the the need to travel further to get to places of employment, services and activities.
- The report says rural and remote areas of Australia have low levels of public transport access, and some remote areas have relatively low levels of vehicle ownership.
- According to the report, a significant proportion of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas have no access to public transport and one-third have no access to a car. Added to this, cars in remote indigenous communities are heavily used, often purchased second hand, and have a short lifespan.
- Young mothers and sole parents are particularly vulnerable to transport disadvantage, and the report says that for these groups, transport difficulties can play a key role in social exclusion.
- Public transport can be difficult for people with a disability – factors such as accessibility, communication about changes or cancelled services and malfunctioning equipment (e.g., lifts to train platforms) can all contribute to transport disadvantage for people with a disability.
To download the Resource Sheet on The Relationship Between Transport and Disadvantage in Australia, click here.