The threat of COVID-19 has caused the largest shift in travel behaviour in living memory. As travel restrictions ease in Australia’s largest cities, more people are expected to resume their commute.
In our largest cities in particular, public transport plays the vital role of bringing hundreds of thousands of people into our CBDs. On a typical weekday, 60-80% of CBD workers arrive by public transport, mostly on crowded trains.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and his state-based colleagues have made it clear that one person per 4m2 is the desired density of people to reduce the chance of infection. Public transport, especially at peak hour has densities exceeding this limit by a factor of 8.
As cities around the globe begin to address this problem, we have undertaken high level modelling based on Census data to understand the scale of the problem. We also explore how Australia can minimise infection risk as millions of commuters get back to work.