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Current projects

The Climate Reality Project

Enabling social innovation for local climate adaptability

This research is concerned with responses to climate change and variability at the local scale. It critically investigates tensions, synergies and potentialities between local governance agencies’ formal policies and innovations by local groups and NGOs.

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SNAMUTS legend

SNAMUTS accessibility measures for Australian cities

Established in 2010, the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) provides a one-stop online portal with more than 2,600 multi-disciplinary datasets, from over 90 different data sources.

The aim of this project is to provide AURIN with SNAMUTS public transport accessibility indicators at the SA1 Census level for 2016 for the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

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Oslo Central Station

Improving public transport competitiveness versus the private car

Norwegian Research Council – 2017-2020.

Chief Investigator Dr Aud Tennoy, Norwegian Centre for Transport Research, Member of international scientific advisory group: Prof Carey Curtis. The aim of the project is to enable planners and decision-makers striving to achieve more climate-friendly, attractive and liveable cities to steer development of land use and transport systems in directions contributing to strengthening the competitiveness of public transport (and bicycling and walking) versus the private car, in cities of different sizes and characteristics.

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Shipping containers

Understanding freight demand generation patterns

The purpose of the study is to support the planning for economic clusters by providing a comprehensive overview of the freight patterns generated by industrial activities of varying types in metropolitan Perth.

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Swedish Flag

Policy shapers attitudes to public transport

K2 Swedish Knowledge Centre for Public Transport (2018– 2019).  The purpose of this project is to analyse and explain how structures of reasoning influence the decisions of ‘policy shapers’ and may facilitate or create barriers to the adoption of a sustainable transport system. Chief Investigators – Dr Fredrik Pettersson, Prof Carey Curtis, Dr Vanessa Stjernborg.

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Re-imagining sport delivery within the communities of Western Australia

Developing a methodology for provoking new conversations and strategic thinking within and between sports and local governments with the ultimate common objective of increasing community sports participation.

For further information contact Dr Isaac Middle.

Person in car with tablet

Smart mobility requires smart governance

Vinnova, Sweden (2018 – 2019). The aim of this research project is to develop knowledge about Public Transport Authorities’ roles, strategies, and collaborative arrangements in a future of Smart Mobility. The methodology is comparative case studies of Nordic countries and metropolitan city regions, including qualitative content analyses of strategic policy documents as well as interviews and workshops with key actors. The project will result in specific road maps of how the Public Transport Authorities strategically can position themselves in this new, emerging landscape.

Chief Investigators – Pernestal, A., Isaksson, K., Hulten, J., Paulsson, A., Sorenson, C., Curtis, C., Correia, G., Docherty, I.

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Perth LRT

Perth LRT study

This research study for the Western Australian Department of Transport provides an evidence-based understanding of the accessibility provided by the public transport network in the central Perth area and identifies the opportunities for high-capacity transport corridors that improve land use – transport integration

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Perth coastal recreational use study

Comprehensive mapping and classification of the Perth metropolitan coastline to enable coordinated planning and management of recreational use of Perth beaches and coastal areas. For further information contact Dr Isaac Middle.


Spatial network analysis for multimodal urban transport systems (SNAMUTS)

SNAMUTS is an accessibility planning and decision-making support tool. It is GIS-based and assesses the performance of public transport networks in their urban or regional settlement context. It has been applied to a total of 26 developed cities across four continents.

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Past projects

Unlocking the potential for working closer to home

This project, funded by the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre examined the barriers and opportunities for increasing the number of people able to work closer to their home in both regional and metropolitan Western Australia. The role of local neighbourhood-based ‘shared working spaces’ to support telecommuting and home-working is a particular focus.

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Children, travel, health and the built environment

This project represents the first national study in Australia of children’s behaviours in relation to their built and social environments. The significance of this research is in the provision of a national picture of children’s mobility and health. The findings, which support previous research in North America and Europe, raise significant concerns in relation to environmental sustainability and health.

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Coastal values and character of coastal communities

This research applies an innovation methodology, involving interpretive photography and surveys of beach users to capture the existing character and values of coastal communities. Four cases studies were chosen for stage 1 of this study – Shoalwater (Rockingham), Falcon (Mandurah), Australind (Harvey) and Flinders Bay (Augusta-Margaret River). The study is funded by the National Sea Change Taskforce and the participating local governments.

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City of Perth public transport accessibility strategy

The purpose of this research is to apply the Spatial Network Analysis for Multimodal Urban Transport Systems (SNAMUTS) interactive decision tool to assist in examining the performance of the land use and public transport network in order to inform the development of the City of Perth’s Integrated Transport Strategy. Accessibility is measured at 2015 and for three scenarios: 2031 no action; 2031 public transport committed projects; 2050 accessibility optimisation.

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Reducing Green Tape or Rolling back IA in Australia: What are each jurisdiction up to?

Governments and industry wants to speed up and reform the approval of major projects, including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), calling for the cutting of ‘green tape’. This study is a critical examination of the potential consequences of these “reforms”, including whether these efficiency changes will deliver sound environmental management and sustainability-oriented decision-making.

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OMEGA - Mega Urban Transport Projects

Investigation of the Assessment of Urban Mega-transport Projects – OMEGA (UCL, London/ VREF). GAMUT participates in the OMEGA CoE at University College London led by Professor Dimitriou. The Australian case studies are: the City Link motorway extensions, Melbourne; the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, and the Perth Metro-Rail project (southern extensions).

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Perth’s Rural Diversification Planning Strategy: Towards Agri-Precincts in Peri-Urban Perth

Peri-urban Perth is home to 32% of Perth’s population and is the food arc for Greater Perth. This project focuses on identifying opportunities for progressing the long-term sustainable development of the Peri-urban area, taking into account the needs of the Greater Western Australian population and economy.

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Australian Migration to Bali

This study examines the demographic and livelihood characteristics of the Australian expatriate population in Bali. The project examines if, when undertaking a move to Bali, Australian expatriates are employing a deliberate strategy to utilise their existing financial resources and social networks to gain a lifestyle they perceive would not be available to them if they were to remain in Australia.

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Repopulation of Rural Western Australia

This study examines the migration patterns within Western Australia to reveal the demographic impulses for the spatial unevenness in demographic change in rural Western Australia. The project focuses specifically on youth migration patterns and elderly (retirement) migration patterns. Research Leader: Dr. Amanda Davies

Independent mobility, active travel and children's health

The iMATCH project investigates the role of policy interventions in influencing children’s independent mobility, active travel and health. The project uses an inter-disciplinary approach to survey children in a series of matched neighbourhoods, based around primary schools, where policy interventions exist and where they do not.

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Building Capacity

The research assessed, through case study analysis, the capacity of the governmental system in Australia to deliver sustainable and integrated land-use/transport outcomes.

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ARC TOD - The Impacts of a New Railway

Impacts of transit-oriented development (TOD) in precincts adjoining the new Perth-Mandurah railway are addressed by longitudinal survey (2006 -2009).

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SNAMUTS Perth Public Transport 20 Year Strategy to 2031

The purpose of this research is to apply the Spatial Network Analysis for Multimodal Urban Transport Systems (SNAMUTS) interactive decision tool to assist in examining the performance of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) 20 year public transport strategy.

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SNAMUTS Randstad

The purpose of this research is to apply the Spatial Network Analysis for Multimodal Urban Transport Systems (SNAMUTS) interactive decision tool to assist in examining the performance of the Randstad region current public transport network framed around the accessibility of the transport network and accessibility of place and the implications for accessibility resulting from two scenarios proposed for the Public Transport Bureau of the Randstad.

Research Team: Carey Curtis and Jan Scheurer

Coastal and near marine shore activities study

Land based recreational activities in urban areas are relatively well regulated, planned and managed – this allows for a mostly coordinated useage of the public open spaces in Perth which controls the level of conflict over potentially conflicting uses. However, this is less the case for activities carried out in coastal and near marine shore areas, and this study will address this lack of coordination by firstly compiling an inventory of existing agency plans, documents, policies, events etc relating to the coastal and near marine shore areas. This will be followed by several detailed case studies of the policy and uses of the coastal and near-shore marine area where all users and stakeholders will be identified and, by working collaboratively with these users and stakeholders, and using a pressure-state-response model, identify pressures and propose suitable policy and management responses. The methodology developed for the case studies will be applied for the remainder of the metropolitan area.

Research team: Dr Garry Middle (leader) and Rebecca Scherini

Coastal values study

This is a long-term study involving students studying several environmental planning units in the Urban and Regional Planning degree course where users of the beaches in Perth and certain regional areas are surveyed seeking:

The three study aims are to:

  • Understand the ways that visitors to beaches use the beach and how they rate their experiences;
  • Understand the value that businesses adjacent to the beach place on being near the beach; and
  • Find how beach users value beaches.

Users from about a quarter of the beaches have been surveyed, and, whilst this is an ongoing project, the interim results of the survey will be published later this year.

Contextual variations in perceived social values for ecosystem services in urban park land

Contextual variations in perceived social values for ecosystem services in urban park land: A comparative study of China and Australia (2014)

This study investigates the use-diversity of urban parklands in a developed and a developing countries’ context. It further examines contextual difference of users’ perceptions of ecosystem services provided by the respective urban greens.

Research Team:  Mohammad Swapan (Leader) and Sayed Iftekhar (Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, University of Western Australia)


SWAPAN, M. S. H. (2014) Realities of community participation in metropolitan planning in Bangladesh: a comparative study of citizens and planning practitioners’ perceptions, Habitat International, 43, 191-197.

KHAN, S., & SWAPAN, M. S. H. (2013) From blueprint master plans to democratic planning in South Asian cities: Pursuing good governance agenda against prevalent patron-client networks, Habitat International, 38, 183-191.

KHAN, S. & SWAPAN, M. S. H. (2012) Rethinking Participation in the Planning Process: Search for an appropriate model in Bangladesh context. In: DIMMER, C., NISHIMURA, Y., eds. Planning for Sustainable Asian Cities, University of Tokyo.

Efficiency and effectiveness of environmental impacts assessment in WA

This study examined the timeliness/efficiency of the Western Australian EIA process. Whilst little quantitative data exist on this issue, criticism of the EIA process for being too long and costly is a constant theme. Eighty-eight completed EIAs were considered. Times for the six key phases of the EIA process were reported, with the longest phase being the production of the EIS. Data were not available to examine the time taken for each of the three discreet steps that make up this phase, although some questions were posed as the basis for follow-up work. A key question that emerged from looking at the times of this phase and the next two longest phases is how important is scoping in determining any unforseen delays in EIAs? The importance of EIA effectiveness was noted but not included in this study.

Research team: Dr Garry Middle Curtin University

Emerging Constraints for Public Open Space Usage in Perth Metropolitan Suburb

The implications of Bush Forever, Water Sensitive Urban Design and Liveable Neighbourhoods for Active Sporting Recreation.

There is a general view amongst Local Government park managers and planners in Perth that the implementation of Bush Forever, Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and Liveable Neighbourhoods (LN) has lead to a decrease in the number and amount of active open spaces being provided. The aim of the research was to find out if the perception that there are insufficient active reserves being provided in the newer suburbs of Perth on which to accommodate organised sport, is correct.

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Network City Activity Centres

Developing an analysis, conception and communication tool for integrated land use and transport planning in the Perth metropolitan area – Department for Planning and Infrastructure WA (2008).

The primary objective of the research project was to develop an interactive decision tool (SNAMUTS) to assist in examining scenarios for the future growth of the Perth metropolitan area in activity centres framed around the accessibility of the transport network and the accessibility of place.

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Unintended Socio-economic Consequences of Reduced Supply of Active Open Spaces in the Perth Outer Metropolitan Growth Areas

This study is a flow-on from the above study, and addressed the following research questions: ‘does this significantly reduced supply of active playing fields in these new suburbs matter?’ Or, more specifically ‘what are the unintended socio-economic consequences of this reduced supply of active open spaces in the outer metropolitan growth areas of Perth?’

The study was primarily a literature review and identified the key benefits of being physically active, the key socio-economic reasons why organized sport is important, and the range of values of having active opens space (playing fields) in a neighbourhood, including but beyond the importance for providing for organised sport. The study concluded that there are likely to be unintended socio-economic consequences of the reduced supply of active open spaces in the outer metropolitan growth areas of Perth.

The study was funded by Perth Outer Metropolitan Growth Councils of Perth.

Research team: Professor Marian Tye (lead), Dr Garry Middle, Diane Costello, and Dave Hedgcock, from Curtin

The capacity for EIA to address climate change

Mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the possible impacts of climate change have gradually increased in importance in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process in WA since the late 1990s. This study first traced the history of assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation in EIA in WA, provides case studies, and considers the constraints that limit the nature and scope of climate change EIA policy, for WA, nationally and internationally. Part of the study involved a survey of EIA practitioners in Australia seeking views on the capacity and potential for EIA (both project EIA and strategic environmental assessment) to address climate change. Mitigation rather than adaptation has been the main focus in EIAs in WA. The almost complete absence of consideration of adaption measures is of concern given the large number of projects that have coastal components. This relatively weak EIA policy position on climate change must be seen within the broader context of very weak National and State governments climate change policy context.

Research team: Dr Garry Middle

The use of environmental offsets in environmental impacts assessment in WA

This study reviewed the use of offsets in the Western Australian environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. The study noted that two new types of offsets have emerged over time in response to the uncertainty associated with some major resource projects in WA. The first type of offset is a ‘residual risk’ offset, which is provided in recognition of potential, but uncertain risks associated with the proposal. The second type is a ‘banked’ offset, which is an offset that is called upon only in the event that negative environmental impacts occur. These ‘offsets for uncertainty’ have the potential to be used more broadly as a policy tool in EIA where there is significant uncertainty of impacts, although caution should be used in applying them too widely, especially where residual risk is considered unacceptable. The study went on to seek the views of key EIA practitioners in WA on the application of offsets through the WA EIA process. Six key themes and concerns emerged. In summary they are: the current process of setting offsets could lead to a perception that an approval has been bought, particularly for those projects that have significant residual impacts: concern that there is no legal framework in WA to support the use of offsets use through EIA; it is not clear which agency has final responsibility for setting, implementing and monitoring offsets; divided views as to which stage in the EIA process offsets should be first considered; divided views as to the adequacy of the existing offsets policy framework; and a more strategic approach to implementing offsets was essential.

Research team: Dr Garry Middle

Complementary Measures Review of the Transport - Office for Climate Change WA (2008)

This project provides strategic advice to government on the problem of market failures and associated barriers in formulating and implementing responses to climate change in the urban transport sector. The project team identified, classified, and interpreted market failures and the interaction between multiple policy instruments, particularly under the circumstances of the forthcoming national Emissions Trading Scheme. The project team provided advice on other issues of complementarity between transport and relevant sectors of the economy.

Research Team: Carey Curtis (Project Leader); Nicholas Low (GAMUT @ Melbourne); Leigh Glover (GAMUT @ Melbourne); Patrick Moriarty(GAMUT @ Monash); Roger Mellor (Curtin)

Transitioning Activity Corridors: Place Making and Traffic Management

This  Curtin/WAPC research (2007) established directions for place-making and traffic management matched to the physical and social needs of the community and developed a new planning and traffic management tool for arterial roads that are to become ‘Activity Corridors’.

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Discursive and Institutional Barriers to Environmental Sustainability

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2004-2007).

This research aimed to find out what is involved in sustainability coming to influence the planning and development of cities when public policy is organised by other rationales.

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Universities Travelsmart - Australian Greenhouse Office (2003-2004)

This project developed a Resource Kit aimed at providing information about what can be done to plan and implement travel demand management (TDM) strategies in a University context. The Kit promotes strategies for reducing the number of automobile car trips and increasing the proportion of travel undertaken by more sustainable modes including public transport, walking and cycling.

Research Team: Carey Curtis (leader); Carlindi Holling


Curtis C and Holling C (2004) Just How (Travel) Smart are Universities when it comes to implementing sustainable travel. World Transport Policy and Practice Vol 10. [e]