The release of Australia’s first Transport Affordability Index by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) reveals the average Australian family is spending up to $22,000 every year to get around.

Commissioned by the AAA and developed by SGS Economics & Planning, the Index will track transport affordability by analysing tax, tollways, public transport and finance costs as a proportion of average household income across states and territories.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said the index demonstrates just how much of the household budget is taken up by transport costs.

“The Index initially shows around 13 per cent of an average household budget in most capital cities is spent on transport, which is remarkable when you consider that electricity, water, and telecommunications costs account for only one to three per cent of income combined,” Mr Bradley said.

“Australians know transport is expensive, but they might be surprised to know just how expensive.  The average household will spend fourteen thousand dollars a year on transport in Hobart, but up to twenty-two thousand dollars a year if they live in Western Sydney.”

The AAA commissioned this work so both consumers and policy makers can have a clear picture of exactly how much transport really costs, and how policy decisions at state and federal levels will affect household budgets over time.

The Index is based on the incomes and transport costs of a hypothetical household in each capital city that consists of a couple with children, two cars, and it assumes that one member of the family drives to work, while the other catches public transport.

Hypothetical suburbs were also chosen as they were middle to outer ring suburbs, had a relatively high population density, had access to public transport, and in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, would require driving through toll roads to access the CBD. The Index’s data baseline is quarter one (January to March) 2016.

The Index will be updated regularly by the AAA, and can be downloaded by clicking here.