Incorporating Measures of Subjective Well Being into the Measurement of Transport Equity

Document Information

Conference Paper

  • Published: October 2013
  • Authors: Cameron Gordon and Robert Tanton
  • Conference Title: 36th Australasian Transport Research Forum
  • Conference Location: QUT, Brisbane
  • Comments: Paper presented at the 36th Australasian Transport Research Forum
  • Keywords: transport equity and wellbeing


The socio-cultural and economic distributional impacts of transportation projects are key elements of both individual project decisions and transportation policymaking. One of these dimensions, transportation equity, roughly defined as the relative distribution of benefits and burdens of transportation investments, goods and services, is a growing area of both policy and academic concern. Most ‘equity’ measures are ‘objective’ in that they use quantitative metrics of actual burden as seen and defined by outside observers. This article examines a subjective measure of burden (the Subjective Wellbeing Index) which captures how satisfied people are with their lives on a number of domains. While this concept has been used in studies of economic development and general disadvantage, it has never been used before in the context of transport disadvantage. This article will thus accomplish a first by looking at transport costs using a subjective well-being framework using a case study of Australia and the Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey of Australia (HILDA).


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