From squaresville to triangle town: geometries for public transport network planning
Abstract: Research into public transport network planning has previously identified the benefits of the “network effect” obtained by cities using a square network structure as a base for their public transport routes (Mees 2000; Nielsen et al. 2005; Dodson et al. 2011). This network effect allows cities to invest in public transport services in a way that generates far greater patronage than would otherwise have been expected by focusing on individual routes (Mees 2010). Although the ability for the network effect to occur in non-grid based networks had previously been identified (Nielsen et al. 2005), alternate network geometries used by medium to large cities have not been explored. As part of a larger study of transport planning in cities with high-quality public transport, public transport planners in Zurich were interviewed about the approach to network design in their region, which revealed the use of a triangular based geometry to provide the backbone of their network design. This paper describes the key principles and methods used in a triangular network design, and explores its potential for use in Australian cities. It concludes that the radial nature and centrality of public transport networks in Australian cities may be more easily transitioned to a triangular rather than square geometry.