Light rail support steady in Canberra: Simon Corbell

Light rail support steady in Canberra: Simon Corbell

The latest summary of polling by the ACT government on its plans to develop a light rail system for Canberra has found 56 per cent public support, according to a new market research report.

Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell will release a summary of communication and engagement tracking surveys conducted by Piazza Research on Monday. The report shows in August this year, 56 per cent of participants said they supported a light rail system for the city, compared with 34 per cent who opposed it.

Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell.

Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell.Credit:Rohan Thomson

In June 2014 the same tracking survey found 55 per cent support and 34 per cent opposition, dropping to 54 per cent support and 32 per cent opposition in December 2014.

The government-commissioned phone polling was conducted in three instalments and included a randomised sample of between 1192 and 1265 ACT residents.


There is a 2.8 per cent margin or error.

It asked participants for their views on light rail in Canberra, but not specifically on the stage one city to Gungahlin tram line.

Support for light rail grew to 67 per cent in August 2015 after participants were told development "was part of a wider plan to connect the whole city with an integrated transport system".

The report said 43 per cent of participants believed the government was "investing in light rail to upgrade or improve transport options", while 29 per cent thought it was "to reduce or prevent traffic congestion" and 24 per cent believed it was for political reasons.

Asked if "traffic congestion will be problem for Canberra in the future", 69 per cent said "yes" in August. The result was down from 79 per cent in December 2014.

Asked if they would be "more likely to use public transport if it involved a light rail system within easy walking distance or was accessible via other means", 61 per cent of participants said "yes". Thirty per cent of participants said "no" and nine per cent were unsure.

Responses to the question were not broken down across the three polling periods in the report.

Women may want to use tram services more than men, at 65 per cent compared with 58 per cent. More younger people believe they might use light rail than older people: 66 per cent of 18-34 year-olds, 67 per cent of 35-49 year-olds and 46 per cent of those 65 or older.

Of households with children, 67 per cent said they might use light rail compared with 58 per cent of households with no children.

Asked how much participants agreed or disagreed with the statement "the Capital Metro development will provide a good economic stimulus to the Canberra economy", 10 per cent strongly agreed and 53 per cent agreed while 19 per cent disagreed and 10 per cent strongly disagreed. Seven per cent were unsure.

Mr Corbell said the report showed there was consistent "majority support for this important city changing project".

"While there is a very vocal minority opposition to this project it is clear that the majority of Canberrans want investment in a modern, reliable public transport system that will provide for them both today and into the future," he said.

"Many Canberrans recognise that traffic is a problem now and many more believe that it will be in the future."

He welcomed the 61 per cent of participants who said they would start using public transport because of the addition of light rail.

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