Transport in Australia

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Australia has the second highest level of car ownership in the world. It has three to four times more road per capita than Europe and seven to nine times more than Asia. Australia also has the third highest per capita rate of fuel consumption in the world. Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane are rated among the most car-dependent cities in the world, with Sydney and Melbourne close behind.[1] Furthermore, the distance travelled by car (or similar vehicle) in Australia is among the highest in the world, being exceeded by USA and Canada[2].

There are 3 different categories of Australian roads:

  • Federal Highways
  • State Highways
  • Local Roads

The road network comprises a total of 913,000 km broken down into:[3]

  • Paved: 353,331 km (including 3,132 km of expressways)
  • Unpaved: 559,669 km (1996 estimate)

The majority of road tunnels in Australia have been constructed since the 1990s to relieve traffic congestion in metropolitan areas, or to cross significant watercourses.

Public Transport in Australia

Rising petrol prices and increasing traffic congestion are thought to be factors contributing to renewed growth in use of urban public transport.[4]

Intra-city Public Transport networks

The table below lists major cities in Australia with currently operating multi-modal intra-city (as opposed to inter-city or regional) public transportation networks.

The only Australian capital cities without such networks are Canberra and Darwin.

Trams in Australia historically serviced many Australian towns and several cities formerly operated tram networks, however the majority of these were shut down before the 1970s. Melbourne is an exception here however, and today boasts the largest tram network of any city in the world. Major regional cities where trams formerly facilitated multi-modal public transport networks Launceston, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Rockhampton.

Most major cities have at minimum bus services and these cities have been excluded services as have any with tourist or heritage transport (such as the private monorail at Sea World or the tourist Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram).

Intercity rail transport

The railway network is large, comprising a total of 33,819 km (2,540 km electrified) of track: 3,719 km broad gauge, 15,422 km standard gauge, 14,506 km narrow gauge and 172 km dual gauge. Rail transport started in the various colonies at different dates. Privately owned railways started the first lines, and struggled to succeed on a remote, huge, and sparsely populated continent, and government railways dominated. Although the various colonies had been advised by London to choose a common gauge, the colonies ended up with different gauges.

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