2016 Sessions

In total, there were 30 fantastic TransportCamp sessions. Session notes were taken for each unconference session.  Each post includes all the essential session details, links and a summary of all the key points of discussion.

Comments are enabled, so feel free to continue the conversation in the  post or contact the session leader directly.

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The Agenda

In total there were 30 sessions that made up TransportCamp 2016. Below is how the final agenda finished up.

When should we not give people what that want?

Session Details 

  • Host: Alexandra Almond (LinkedIn)
  • Session: 
  • Location: Supper Room
  • Attendees: 40

Example of giving people what they want - park & ride 

Land-value important key consideration in determining level of parking

  • "mega carpark", may be appropriate for low-value sites 
  • opportunity cost - land value 


Introduce user pays - help people realise the costs.

Car stacking

Wider challenges in public transport decision-making

Content majority - don't have a voice.  Those in the minority - have a loud voice.  E.g Frankston line improvements.  

Investing in car orientated infrastructure reinforces car orientated travel behaviour

Sky rail - what right do transport professionals have to make decisions? 

  • Not having a transport plan that clearly articulates transport priorities 
  • Educated minority decision-makers carries more weight than uninformed majority?
  • Strong and vocal opposition. 
  • Net positive to society - betterment value capture, houses next to railway - receive compensation.


Communicating transport debates with the public 

  • Need visionary policy 
  • Very hard to consult on alternative if community can't imagine the full range of options (e.g bus service or car parking).  
  • No clear vision and opportunity for people to participate in decision-making.  
  • Important role for public servants to inform debate on future public transport infrastructure
  • need to clearly explain issues
  • public are not forced to consider trade-offs in decision-making
  • Contradictory public outcomes often sought:  walkable city but also wanting parking etc
  • Communicating what's been successful overseas
  • 20 year vision:  politicians don't want to take on / be accountable for decisions 20 years into the future.  
  • Transport projects used as a political football.  Politicians make decisions based on perception of popular vote or opposite of 
  • Role of social media - easy to complain, unlikely to voice support

What do people think political representatives need to hear from the public?

Session Details 

  • Host: Georgia Webster (LinkedIn)
  • Organisation: Office of Senator Janet Rice
  • Session: 2 
  • Location: Supper Room

Notes from discussion with wider group: 

Challenges with current political system:

Politicians need better access to impartial, expert advice

Influence of multi-nationals in decision-making / car lobby strong & influence road-orientated transport system

Time constraints on making complex, highly technical, decisions

Desire for politicians to invest in "legacy projects" 

How can we develop more informed public debate?

  • Challenge in communicating complexities / dry information to public, e.g need for investment in maintenance of transport networks 
  • Deep frames guide our decision making (autocratic vs collaborative).

How can we address these issues?

Role of independent bodes, comprised of experts, not aligned with a particular party to develop & support long-term planning.

Need for a Metropolitan level government to better coordinate transport priorities 

Need for government to have access to expert advice 

Marketing the benefits of long-term planning to the public

What can we do within current constraints to improve PT system, as politicians?  

  • Politicians need to listen to experts rather than just popular opinion 
  • Use participatory consultation model
  • Understanding why people are making decisions, rather than just what the decisions are
  • Finding opportunities to have conversation with community.  Share knowledge and expertise in ways to help community to make informed decisions.  
  • Does attendance of politicians at community consultations help or hinder discussions?
  • Public servants not always able to speak out and often prevented from collaborating due to perceived risk
  • Sometimes there is a tendency to focus on status quo / easier outcome rather than the best outcome.  


Recommended reading:

George Lakoff - Don't think of an Elephant

Drew Westen - the Political Brain

Bus networks - patronage growth

Session Details 

  • Host: Chris Loader (LinkedIn)
  • Organisation: Public Transport Victoria
  • Session: 3 
  • Location: Supper Room

Session Notes:

Presentation on growing patronage of bus networks including several case studies from across the Greater Melbourne area.  

This approach differed from previous approaches in that change in services were combined network design improvements. 

Please contact Chris for a copy of the presentation.

AVs and CVs

Session Details 

Session Notes:

Attractions of AV?

-       Reduce human factors in driving

-       Inefficient: e.g more productive travel time / rather than driving

-       More efficient networks: traffic lights, spacing

-       Reduce car ownership

-       Car pooling

-       Politically attractive 

-       Equal access to transport for those with mobility issues 

-       Freeing up workforce to undertake more valuable work (e.g driver replaced by conductor)



-       Competition for PT

-       Ethical considerations 

-       Responsibility for crash (AV manufacturer liable notAV driver)

-       Over reliance on technology can create vulnerability to bugs / cyber warfare

-       Redundancy of employment reliant on car industry (drivers / insurance etc)

-       Social issues: cost of AV technology may put it out of reach of many people – perpetuating social disadvantage


Policy issues?

-       Should we insist AVs have an override?  Or connect with a wider network (e.g Melbourne)?

-       Outsourcing ethical problems to car manufacturers? 

-       What are car park owners thinking (e.g wilsons)

Behavioural science to change travel behaviour

Session Details 

  • Host: Sean Williams (LinkedIn)
  • Organisation: SGS Economics and Planning
  • Session: 5 
  • Location: Supper Room

Session Notes:

Can apply ideas from behavioural science to transport policy. UK nudge unit promoted many behavioural tools that government can use to influence what people do. Tools include: making the desired behaviour easier, framing social norms, making interventions at major life events, disrupting habitual behaviours, using competition to motivate change, gamification and commitments. The off-peak public transport lottery in Singapore is an example of gamification to incentivise travel behaviour change. Another example is Chromaroma promoting active travel in the UK.


From discussion:

There is scope to test ideas (from behavioural science) to see what works. Principles of persuasion mentioned (PhD study by Rita Seethaler). Is it ethical to manipulate people’s behaviour? Government and employers shape behaviour anyway e.g. transport infrastructure, car parking. Timing is important – can intervene at times that people are deliberating, we can inform and engage when people are moving home or job. Informing the market can change what the market does – examples from the London Olympics, World Cup and LA road project where forecasting congestion led to commuters changing trip time or mode so the outcome was better than predicted.

How durable are these interventions? Can we form new habits? Provide people with experience of travel alternatives. Events like Ride2Work Day or encouraging people to try an alternative one day a week can be a starting point. Important to understand motivations and evaluate interventions. People’s choices are often not rational. Anxiety is an important emotion for the travelling public, e.g. waiting time for bus, train or plane. Can address with timely information, uber does this well with real time map. Frequent services also overcome anxiety.


Thanks to David Wake for his notes

Shark Tank!

Session Details 

  • Host: Knowles Tivendale (Email - knowles@phillipboyle.com.au)
  • Organisation: Phillip Boyle & Associates
  • Session: 6
  • Location: Supper Room

Session Notes:

  • Doncaster Rail – yes, funded!
  • Pod cars - Yes, if funding model is proven!
  • One card for all travel – yes! 
  • Recycle / decluttering footpath service – yes 

10 minute trains

Session Details 

  • Host: Eric keys (LinkedIn)
  • Session: 1
  • Location: Yarra Room

Session Notes:

Eric keys - previously worked as Consultant. currently doing PhD at RMIT.

Background transport consultant now shifting into advocacy.

There is a gap in advocacy. Lots of reactionary advocacy. Eric is focusing on 'modest' project advocacy.

Eric is advocating for 10 minute train service (during off peak)

Modest concept, use existing stock but requires more on costs. Believes there is capacity during offpeak. Believes his can be implemented with relatively low costs.

This is was already in the network development plan for today, why isn't it in place?

10 minute head ways allows people to not worry about timetable. Many benifits, no need for coordination due to high headway.

Allows people to travel outside peaks. Right now if u miss peak u are left with a lower freq service. Shifts travel patterns.

Trains still have people standing duringoff peak- suggests there is demand

Elasticity concept - increased frequency will increase patronage and fare revenue. This is a neutral cost proposition. Suggests it is a very cost effective proposal.cant garuantee self funding but it's still far cheaper than other projects.


end of Eric's presentation---------------

start discussion----



metro finding hard to recruit existing drivers. 

Eric - Average train drivers six figure salary. Seems like there would be good demand.

why isn't this being done? Not sure.


Eric spoke to metro and PTV, both want to do this.


Question...how do you get this concept on he political agenda?


Dave - elasticity may not be well understood in offpeak in Melbourne. high car ownership and hard to compete. Low congestion and high convenience. May require a solid robust understanding and modelling.


Eric keys - how much modelling required for some existing decisions e.g. Pso at trains.


dave - depends on decision makers, decisions and leaps of faith on wanting to do the right thing. Although Eric stated some excellent examples where no modelling or business case required.


Eric - discussions on data availability. 

Some data available in public domain to suggest strong off peak patronage. Uniform tho some growing more than others. Off peak patronage not monitored so depending on anecdotal or personal experience.


Nora - bus services worse frequency, it's a feeder service, why isn't this a bigger priority?

eric - cost benefit, buses much more expensive.



Despite benefits...idea needs to be sexy - e.g. Signalling isn't

is time right? Maybe - due to renegotiation.

Melbourne in the future

Session Details 

  • Host: Harry Barber (LinkedIn)
  • Organisation: Phillip Boyle & Associates
  • Session: 2 
  • Location: Yarra Room

Session Notes:


Think about living in a city of 10 million in 2051.

What would the city look like? What would put look like? What is a city of 3 million cars look like.


double people - is there double the roads? Then we need significant 

some fficiency, longer trains, better cars. 

Question about centralisation, regionalisation, and globalisation. Get to a state where there is counter flow.


Tony. startup point. 1950 to now. Double population. If we continue as works most liveable city will make us get to 10mill whether it's 2051, 2061, 2065. We need to focus on heavy rail. Limit inner space means we need to go under?


Jacky City of Yarra. look at other 10mil cities. All network systems. We have radial. We Think all jobs in city but this isn't true. We can't get to a 10mil city unless we get into this network thinking.


Reality Melbourne is low density. Other 10mil are high density around railway station. Will need to adapt or change? 


Our existing plans and decision focuses on 'catchup'. We need to embrace new thinking. 


Tony - core needs to be bigger . Multiple routes through with a inner network.


Jacky - 3 trillion propping up car industry. Benefits to the industry declining. 


El - we can speak about using pt etc. but urban planning needs to change. E.g. Can't keep increasing urban growth boundary. If car continues to be cheapest and fastest option, it won't work.


Value capture. Development tax that allow some (public) transport tobe paid for ? Sydney is doing.


Harry's presentation

historically when there is an issue - we track it statistically to get a better understanding & in order to make better-informed decisions.

Harry suggests we should track a number of key vehicle fleet statistics

If municipalities don't know where they are and where they are heading to? How can they make decisions?


Things to track:

  • motorisation rate
  • resident vehicle flee
  • zero car households



Mat - Planning needs to be independent of politics. For long term public transport planning

E.g. Infrastructure Victoria report with congestion charging. Immediately ruled out by both sides.

Els & Mat - PT planning needs to be interdisciplinary - consistent and evidence based.

Car Spaces in Buildings - Empty Investments?

Session Details 

  • Host: Harry Barber (LinkedIn)
  • Organisation: Phillip Boyle & Associates
  • Session: 3 
  • Location: Yarra Room

Session Notes:

We have developed an understand for external car parks... There are better uses of spaces. Provided a number of car parking buildings being replaced by other building uses.

Number of articles pointing out the following: Car parking is expensive. And they are bolted on to houses. Furthermore they can Have low return - akland st example.

There are empty residential car spaces.

Some are hard to repurpose. Some are easy and people prefer it. Example provided by Harry of unused top floor repurposed as penthouse apartments.

Car parking spaces are 'locked up, can't be used by others and can't be altered for other uses. 

Els - why can't you just sell car parking spaces - currently illegal. Can this be changed?

Other concerns - access to car park doesn't provide access to residential building. Body corp concerns. Spaces are used for anything other than cars

Car parking gets closed due to congestion levy. Whole floors locked out. How can these spaces feasibly be repurposed for better uses?

Needful edible options built Into design rather thanMuch more difficult.

Balancing policies that may not necessarily agree with eachother

There needs to be sophisticated parking strategies (local councils, metropolitan areas). Never gets up to that level, mostly revenue raising. 

Harry suggests splitting 'storage- >4hr' and 'parking - < 4hr'. Define two strategy.

Council parking - how can they replicate the 'westfields' car parking model

Need to have aim, then integrating things in order to get a parking policy to work.

E.g. Inner Melbourne action plan ... 1 pay by phone app.