Australia’s cities generally show higher private car use relative to public transport use than overseas cities (Armstrong et al. 2015). Total passenger travel in Australian cities has grown almost 10-fold during the past 70 years, with private road vehicles currently accounting for 87 per cent of the aggregate urban passenger task. However, per-person reductions in car use have begun (see Figure BLT28). Under currently expected patterns of metropolitan population growth, a steady increase in aggregate urban traffic is likely in the next 15 years, with total vehicle-kilometres2 travelled forecast to increase by around 2 per cent per year to 2030 (BITRE 2014). However, there are significant questions about the impact of continuing declines in per-capita car use, urban infill, Uber, public transport growth, autonomous vehicles and smart phone–related car sharing.
Outside the major cities, in the ‘inner-regional’ communities that surround Australian cities, almost all the inner-regional population of more than 4 million relies entirely on the car for transport (Armstrong et al. 2015).