Stuck in traffic: 7 million Aussies missing out on public transport 

08.07.24 By

NEW CLIMATE COUNCIL ANALYSIS has found more than 7 million Australians living in our five biggest cities don’t have access to the frequent, convenient and reliable public transport options, leaving them stuck using polluting and expensive cars for most of their trips. This is a huge barrier that stops Australians choosing to use public transport more often, a form of transport that could slash costs of living and climate pollution at the same time.

The minimum level of public transport service required to get people out of cars runs every 15 minutes between 7am-7pm and within 800 metres of our homes. The Climate Council’s new report, ‘Next Stop Suburbia: Making Shared Transport Work for Everyone in Aussie Cities, reveals only about half of those living in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth have access to this level of service.

Climate Council Head of Policy and Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner, said: “Nobody likes getting stuck in traffic, but that’s where our transport options have us stranded. Convenient, frequent and reliable transport empowers Aussies travelling anywhere in our cities, at any time of the day, to simply ‘turn up and go’ from point A to B.

“We have a big opportunity to improve our cities by giving more Australians the chance to use shared and active transport to travel to work, get to school, go to the doctor and visit loved ones. 

“More shared and active transport is a win-win for millions of people who live in our biggest cities that slashes climate pollution from transport, cuts the cost of living, makes our streets safer and less congested, and cleans up our air. 

“Shared and active transport should be at the centre of the Federal Government’s upcoming Transport and Infrastructure Net Zero Roadmap plan. That includes setting targets for increased use of shared and active transport in our big cities, and new investment in the services and infrastructure which enable cheaper, cleaner ways of moving around.”

Climate Councillor and public health physician, Dr Kate Charlesworth, said: “I want to be able to walk my child to school without worrying about harmful air pollution entering our lungs.

“Particulate pollution from cars has adverse effects on our hearts and lungs, on pregnant women and children. It’s also estimated to be responsible for more than 11,000 premature deaths in Australian adults – ten times more than the national road toll. We can prevent these harms by delivering better shared and active transport options so more people can leave their cars at home.

“We have everything we need right now to make our transport system cleaner and better. For the sake of our health, governments should step up investment that helps more Australians in our big cities use shared and active transport more often.”

For interviews please contact Zerene Catacutan on 0438 972 260,, or Jemimah Taylor on 0478 924 425, 

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community. For further information, go to: or follow us on social media: and