Do South Asian migrants in Australia travel differently to native-born Australians?

Rahman Shafi, Alexa Delbosc, Geoffrey Rose

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

5 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years has seen a large influx of migrants from South Asia entering the shores of Australia. However, little is known about the group’s travel patterns in Australia, and if there is any resemblance to their past travel habits. On a larger scale, their travel may also affect the transport system of Australia. Existing research suggests that various transport modes are perceived differently in South Asia versus Australia. Cars are considered status symbols in South Asian countries and developed economies alike. In developing countries however, certain occupations and education levels are associated with desiring a car, while the lower income levels mean that cars are valued even more. Cultural norms, particularly associated with gender, play a role in travel decision-making in South Asia. Commuters often choose public transport or active travel because of a lack of choice born from limited personal income. To highlight some key differences, data from the 2011 Australian census, 2009 South East Queensland Household Travel Survey and 2013 Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity has been analysed with respect to demographics and travel. South Asians in Australia are younger and most are in their working years. They are highly educated, and their income levels are on par with native-born Australians. South Asians tend to live in larger households with fewer motor vehicles on average, and yet make a substantial proportion of trips using cars. The analysis showed that when all trips are considered, mode splits and trip purpose proportions are very similar for both groups. South Asians though, have been observed to choose transit for work and education-related commuting, and prefer different modes for different trip purposes. Given the lack of previous research, the analysis reported here demonstrates the value for further research being conducted on the travel patterns of South Asian migrants in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2017 - University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 27 Nov 201729 Nov 2017
Conference number: 39th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2017
Abbreviated titleATRF 2017
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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