Identifying a need
A school-based road safety program conducted a series of youth workshops to identify areas of need for young people in the community. This community is a bayside area in suburban Melbourne, with a large central business and entertainment district that attracts many young people on weekends.
The youth workshops identified transport options on weekends as an important issue. Many young people chose to drive over using public transport. This was considered a road safety problem because people driving could be affected by alcohol, drugs, fatigue or peer pressure. It was also seen to encourage inexperienced drivers to drive at night with young passengers.
Identifying possible solutions
Young people involved in the workshops suggested a night-time bus service on weekends to help people get to and from entertainment venues. This would be similar to the NightRider bus service that operates from the Melbourne central business district and could link in with that service at a local level.
Developing a project plan and budget
The local council supported this idea and obtained funding for a feasibility study. Having a consultant develop a project plan and budget ensured all relevant issues were considered. The feasibility study made suggestions about:
- Lessons from similar programs elsewhere
- Routes and vehicles
- Security issues
- Drivers and program staff
- Promotion of the program to youth and the broader community
- Potential sponsors to improve the long-term sustainability of the program
- Evaluation of the program to measure and improve its activity.
The project plan and budget suggested in the feasibility study were then revised to make the project more affordable.
This program is now seeking funding for a pilot stage – where the bus service will operate over a three month period to assess its value to the community. Having a feasibility study to document the issues that were considered will be an important element of the funding application.
Lessons from this project
- The idea for the program came from discussions with the target group
- The program deals with a road safety problem (impaired driving – alcohol, drugs and fatigue) that results from local factors
- A feasibility study helped to clarify the best way to proceed. Funding was needed for this before the program could be planned
- Support from the local council has been important in developing the program plan
- Potential sponsors will be used to help fund the program in the longer term.
To reduce the risk of young road users/motorist driving when affected by alcohol, drugs or fatigue.
To provide alternative transport arrangements for young people attending entertainment venues on weekend nights.
Conduct a feasibility study to develop a program and budget for a night-time bus service.
Implement the program when funding is obtained, including promoting the service to young people.
Evaluate the project's achievements by measuring the number of places the program was promoted, the number of people using the service and feedback from patrons, partners and the community on the value of the program.