Community transport: Defining the problems, fixing the future

Community transport

A final report has been released for our completed project, Innovative local transport: Community transport of the future, and is available for download from this page.

Partners on this project with us were ITS Australia, Department of Transport (WA), Transport for NSW, Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland), Department of Transport Victoria, and the University of Technology Sydney.

The project was an investigation of the systemic issues, opportunities, and barriers for overcoming transport disadvantage and enhancing community transport in Australia, with a view toward forming future policy, funding, and service delivery ecosystems.

The research involved the following:

  • Literature review focusing on customer delivery and landscape, policy and funding, innovation and technology
  • Stakeholder engagement targeting leaders in Community Transport, government at all levels, peak bodies, transport and technology organisations
  • Analysis and modelling of public datasets, demographic data, funding programs and innovation and technology trends and benefits

The community transport landscape

True now, and set to become worse over the next decade, older people, people with disability, and those living in rural and remote areas are among the most likely to experience difficulties with access and mobility. And community transport is absolutely crucial for these very transport customers:

The most prominent users of community transport tend to be older people, people living with a disability and people living outside major cities. This is in part a consequence of the way community transport is structured to respond to specific government funding streams and eligibility for services, rather than necessarily reflecting the broader needs and experiences of transport disadvantage in the community.

And while this part of the population is strongly reliant on community transport, it also is crucial for the wider community. It fills in the gaps where other transport is in short supply, or non-existent. It fills in means for people to be involved in community activities, and to social and community care and health.

And as you could imagine such gap-filling services are expensive to provide, making this area of transport one that is expensive to provide, and therefore needs strong support from governments.

The ways ahead

So yes, government helps. So too can innovation and technology that we have now, even more so new developments on the way. Innovation and technology can enhance service and fill in the gaps.

This study has clearly shown that there is a fragmented approach to dealing with community transport. This could be that it is currently considered too hard, or too expensive, but what’s been found is that there is a “a limited depth of understanding about what CT it is and how it works.” As with all endeavours, it’s extremely difficult to fix what you don’t understand.

This report does offer great insight into just what community transport is, and what it needs. It also speaks to funding, costs, emerging technology, compliance risk, capacity of the sector, workforce challenges, opportunities for systemic and service innovation, and policy reforms.

Download the report(s)

For your copy of the final report on this project, Accelerating innovative local transport: Community transport of the future, please click the link below.


Also available is an executive summary of the project outcomes.


A webinar discussing the project’s findings and recommendations is being held on 6 April 2022. To register for the webinar, visit UPCOMING WEBINAR: Community transport of the future.

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