Exploring the impact of public transport strikes on travel behavior and traffic congestion

Duy Q. Nguyen-Phuoc, Graham Currie, Chris De Gruyter, William Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Public transport (PT) disruption can occur due to various factors such as malfunctions and breakdowns of vehicles, power outages, and personnel strikes. This paper explores the network-wide impacts of PT strikes (train, tram, and bus strikes) on traffic congestion in Melbourne, Australia using a network modeling approach. A primary survey aimed to investigate the mode shift of users when each public transport mode ceases was conducted with 648 public transport users in May 2016. Findings show that train withdrawal was expected to result in 43% of users shifting to car. Smaller yet significant shifts to car was also expected with bus withdrawal (34%) and tram withdrawal (17%). Based on the survey results and the use of a four-step transport model, train withdrawal was expected to increase the number of severely congested road links by 130% and reduce the average travel speed from 48 km/h to 39 km/h (20% decrease). Bus and tram withdrawal was also found to increase congestion although the result was less severe. Future research should investigate the switching behavior in actual withdrawal events and explore the long-term effects of public transport withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2018


  • Congestion
  • network-wide
  • personnel strikes
  • public transport
  • transport model
  • withdrawal

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