GTAV MAP Learning Exercises: YEAR 10 ENVIRONMENT

Investigating transport and the environment

Level: 10


Australians are primarily reliant on cars for transport with the census revealing that car travel makes up the most common method of commute to work. According to new data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, 69 per cent of people commute by car to get to work. In Melbourne, only 13.4 per cent of people travel to work on public transport and only 5.4 per cent walk or ride their bike. This leaves 74.4 per cent travelling by car – higher than the Australian average.

Such reliance on cars has a cost to the environment. The reliance on cars produces significant amounts of pollution – air, noise, water and visual. One solution is to change commuting habits so there are more people using public transport and riding to work, rather than driving a car.


In this series of lessons, you will use GIS maps to investigate the patterns of transport in Melbourne, the impacts of vehicle use on the environment as well as considering alternative methods of transport for the future.

Number of Lessons

3–4 lessons


Lesson 1: Patterns of Transport

lesson 1: patterns of transport

The Greater Melbourne area covers almost 1000 square kilometres and has a population of around 4.5 million. Its inhabitants inevitably have to travel by car, tram, train, bike or on foot to move around. In this lesson you will investigate the patterns of transport in Melbourne and predict possible reasons for this.


Opening the GTAV Map

  • Go to the GTAV – AURIN map website:

  • Click I agree to the disclaimer

Adding a map layer

  • On the left side, click on the blue Add data button
  • Click on the Y10 Environmental Change and Management and click on the ABS Census – Method of travel to work SA2 (2016)
  • Click Add to the Map. See screenshot below.


3) Zoom into Melbourne. Click on each method of transport on the drop-down menu on the left. You will see that the colours on the map represent the number of people travelling to work using that particular form of transport. Click on the different types of transport to see how the map changes.

a. Look at the tram and light rail layer. Which of the following terms might you use to describe the distribution of tram and light rail use to get to work?

Dispersed – Clustered – Linear

(Dispersed means something is spread fairly evenly over an area, clustered means items are concentrated in certain locations, whereas linear means items occur along clear lines across a place.)

b. How does this distribution compare with the Train Count? Why might there be a difference?

c. Compare the layer Public Transportation Count (this includes train, bus, ferry, tram and light rail) with the Car as Driver Count layer. Compare the distribution shown on these two layers. What do you notice about how the type of transport changes as distance from the CBD increases?

d. Study the Car as Driver Count layer. Describe the distribution that you observe. Why might people choose to travel by car to work rather than take public transport? What can you conclude about public transport availability in the high car user areas?

e. Investigate the car travel in your area or your school area. What pattern can you see? Can you explain this pattern?

f. In 2018 the Victorian Labor Government announced a proposal to build a suburban rail loop in Melbourne. Read this article which includes a map of the plan. What impact might this loop have on car commuter traffic if it is built?

  • Switch off the method of travel to work layer, by clicking on the white box next to the layer name, so that the box is empty
  • On the left side, click on the blue Add data button.
  • Scroll down to the Y10 Environmental Change and Management section and select the VicRoads – Traffic Volume (Polyline) 2012
  • Click the blue Add to the map button.
  • See screenshot below.

7. Looking at the traffic volume layer, you’ll see the different colours represent high, medium and low traffic volumes as per the legend. By clicking on the roads on the map, a box will appear with the name of the road and its daily traffic volume (number of cars per day).

a. Name four roads that are rated as having high traffic volume.

b. What do you notice about the types of roads that have the highest volumes?

c. Find the Monash freeway. How does the daily traffic volume change towards the city? E.g. compare the traffic volume at Narre Warren with that at Glen Iris.

d. Now choose a route that you travel and observe how the volumes change.

Extension Activity

Use this link to open an article with interactive maps showing commuting times in Melbourne.

a. With reference to specific examples in the article comment on how time of day influences travel times on Melbourne’s busiest roads.

b. Show these interactives to people in your household who drive to work. Can they change the times they travel to work and reduce their overall commute?


Lesson 2: Vehicles and Air Pollution

Lesson 2 Vehicles and Air pollution

There are many different types of pollution including water, air, visual and noise. In this lesson you will focus on how the use of vehicles can contribute to air pollution.

1) Read this article which looks at the impact of traffic volumes on the environment:

a. What percentage of Melbourne’s air pollution is caused by vehicle emissions?

b. Fill in the gaps:

People living on or within _______ m of _____________ __________will also experience reduced air quality.

c. What are the main pollutants that result from fuel combustion (such as burning petrol to fuel a car)?

d. How does an increase in these pollutants contribute to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

2. Visit the Environment Protection Authority air quality website

a. What is the air quality like in different locations in Melbourne according to when you visit the map?

b. Conduct some research to find out the role of the EPA.

3. Conduct some research on the greenhouse effect. Annotate the diagram below to show how the greenhouse effect works.

Extension activity

You have already studied the connection between air pollution and use of vehicles. Find out the other types of pollution (water pollution, noise pollution and visual pollution) that are relevant to vehicle use.


Lesson 3: Sustainable Transport - Bike Use

Lesson 3: Sustainable Transport - Bike Use

In previous lessons, you have investigated car traffic volumes and air pollution. This lesson will focus on a more sustainable form of transport – riding bicycles.

According to a 2017 study, the top 10 cycling cities in the world were:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Utrecht, Netherlands
  3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. Strasbourg, France
  5. Malmo, Sweden
  6. Bordeaux, France
  7. Antwerp, Belgium
  8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
  9. Tokyo, Japan
  10. Berlin, Germany


The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is considered the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, where 52 per cent of the population uses a bike for the daily commute.

Opening the GTAV Map

  • Go to the GTAV – AURIN map website:

  • Click I agree to the disclaimer

Adding a map layer

  • On the left side, click on the blue Add data button
  • Click on the Y10 Environmental Change and Management and click on theVicRoads – Bicycle Traffic Volume (Points) 2012
  • Click Add to the Map. See screenshot below.

1) The data description states “This is useful for monitoring changing cycle use over the seasons but also year to year”. Explain how and why the data (number of bike users) may change over the seasons and from year to year.

2) Above is a map of major bike paths in central Melbourne. Source:

a. Compare the bike path map to the Aurin bike count map. Which bike paths or routes tend to be used most?

b. Comparing the coverage of bike paths shown on the map above with the points at which bike counts were made, do you think that the bike count data is representative of bike usage across Melbourne? Why/ why not? What could be done to improve this data?

To find out more about each bike count, click on the bike symbol on AURIN map. A box will appear with information on the number of bikes counted (volume_24hour_2012) and whether it is a bike path or bike lane (shown below)

3) Is there a relationship between the number of bikes counted and whether it is a bike path or bike lane?

4) Below are two Google Street View images that show the road where two bike data sets were collected. Both locations are a similar distance from the CBD. The first image is Flemington Road which had a count of 303 bikes; the second image is Neill Street in Carlton which had 1558 bikes. Look at the images and suggest three reasons why Neill Street had a much higher bike traffic volume.

Flemington Road
Neil Street, Carlton

4. The data in the GTAV – AURIN Maps that you are viewing was collected in 2012 and may be out of date. Do you think VicRoads should conduct another count of bike users? Why/why not?

In the GTAV – AURIN Map:

  • Keep the bike count map turned on
  • On the left side, click on the blue Add data button
  • Click on the Y10 Environmental Change and Management and click on the Method of travel to work (SA2) 2016
  • Click Add to the Map. 
  • In the drop down on the left, select Car as Driver
  • To see both the layers to compare them, click on the split screen button on the right side of the page (Number 1 in image below)
  • On the left side of the screen where the layers are listed, select ‘left’ for the Method of Travel to Work layer and ‘right’ for Bike Count (Number 2 in image below)
  • Ease the slider across the screen (Number 3 in image below) to compare the two maps Make sure you can see both legends.

5) What is the relationship between the distribution of highest bike volume use and the distribution of car as driver count?

6) Read this article about creating bike superhighways.

a. According to the article, give two reasons why bike uptake is low.

b. Do you think this is a problem in your area? Why/ why not?

c. How could you collect information in your local area to establish how frequently people travel by bike? Describe one method in detail.

7) Consider this article which outlines the environmental benefits of riding bikes. Expand on the three dot points listed under “How does bicycle commuting contribute to a clean environment” to explain the benefits of bike usage on the environment.

8) Work with another student and look again at the Car as driver attribute from the Method of travel to work (SA2) 2016 layer Name two locations where you would you propose a bike superhighway and use data to support your choice.

9) “Safe bike lanes should be included on all major freeways and toll ways around Melbourne”. Conduct a class discussion or debate on this proposal, referring to the data and maps in these lessons.