The population predictions for the three major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are profound. One part of a bigger solution is to encourage settlement in regional centres away from these major cities.

The research provided an in-depth understanding of consumer preferences, that can be factored into planning and policy, with the objective of shifting population from the major capital cities to key regional centres.

Our preference for road is threatening our enviable liveability

Rail is the most efficient way to move people quickly to and from a city or employment clusters. Urban congestion is estimated to cost Australia $20bn. With well-structured rail offerings, people can be encouraged to move further away from the major centres. One hour by fast rail provides a significant benefit over one hour in the car in peak traffic, opening new possibilities for where Australia’s population resides.

Providing an upfront, in-depth knowledge across target audiences

Quantum undertook over 30 qualitative in-depth interviews with those open to moving regionally to understand the key drivers. Qualitative research revealed a web of considerations when evaluating train travel times. These were used in the development of a choice model.

Understanding demand using choice modelling

Quantum undertook an online survey of 6,000 residents of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (2,000 residents each city) to understand key travel time and policy parameters that influence people’s decisions to consider moving from a capital city to a regional centre that could be linked by faster rail. A choice modelling approach was used to explore the relative impact of different rail travel features on preparedness to relocate.

Connection to our cities a significant consideration in regional relocation

The response of survey participants to the idea of faster rail connections between major capitals and key regional centres was overwhelmingly positive. Almost half of respondents (48 per cent in Sydney, 45 per cent in Brisbane, and 44 per cent in Melbourne) said they would likely consider moving to a regional centre if faster rail services to regional areas were available.

Shaping planning and policy and protecting our liveability

The survey data and qualitative insights were also instrumental to informing the development of enhanced transport and/or land use models that more accurately predict spatial changes from regional passenger rail investments.

The downstream economic and social benefits of fast rail are numerous, easing congestion in our inner ring areas, reducing travel times, improving quality of life, driving regeneration of regional centres and beyond.

The full report can be found here.

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Quantum is an agency filled with people who want to make things better. Better design, better products, better services. We strive to work with like-minded people, using insights to help them win in business and government. Let’s harness the power of qual and quant to create a safer, more prosperous world.