Benchmarking public transport for international tourists in Queensland cities

Christopher De Gruyter, Graham Currie, James Reynolds, Victoria Peel, Yan Yang

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High quality public transport is key to supporting the development of international tourism in cities. However, there is little understanding of how public transport is perceived by international tourists. The aim of this research was to benchmark the quality of urban public transport for international tourists using case studies of major cities in Queensland, Australia, and to compare them to Melbourne, London, Paris and Singapore. The selected case study cities were Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Townsville. A scorecard approach, developed in previous research, was used to assess each city based on 26 weighted criteria covering the areas of information access, fares and ticketing, service levels, and special tourist services. Results showed that the Gold Coast had the highest aggregate score (152.9 out of 200), followed by Brisbane (134.8), Cairns (103.1), Sunshine Coast (100.6) and Townsville (65.0). A comparison to previous research showed that the Gold Coast performs well against international cities such as London (151.9) and Paris (149.8). However, the results also highlight a number of key areas for improvement. While the Gold Coast performed well on fares and ticketing, it could do more to improve special tourist services. While Townsville could improve on information access, there is much room to improve public transport service levels in all Queensland cities. This is in part due to the relatively large spread of tourist attractions, thereby increasing the scale of the transport task for tourism purposes.The results of this research help to identify areas of good performance and gaps in how public transport meets the needs of international tourists in Queensland cities. Future research could refine the approach by incorporating user-based surveys of international tourists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2016 Proceedings
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherAustralasian Transport Research Forum
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 16 Nov 201618 Nov 2016
Conference number: 38th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2016
Abbreviated titleATRF 2016
Internet address


  • Public transport
  • International tourism
  • Performance measurement
  • Queensland

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