Oil vulnerability of Australian capital cities: A pilot study using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) for vulnerability benchmarking

Abraham Leung*, Matthew Burke, Barbara Yen, Jianqiang Cui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Skyrocketing oil prices in the mid-2000s have prompted increased academic and policy attention on oil vulnerability. Concerns remain about the continued use of oil due to energy, security and environmental grounds. High per-capita transport energy use remains an issue. Urban transport has been seen as highly oil vulnerable due to urban forms that promote automobile dependence. Due to reduced refinery capacity, risks in main oil supply chains are increasing, suggesting oil vulnerability remains an important research area for transport. Recent studies in Australia have been focused on mapping intra-urban household oil vulnerability by car ownership using journey-to-work data. Yet few studies have looked at the overall fuel use of transport at the metropolitan level. Datasets used in this paper include census, household energy consumption surveys and energy datasets. This paper aims to develop a new methodological framework which integrates a wider range of urban transport data, including average household fuel expenditure at the city level. The intent is to help facilitate policy transfer between cities and to identify best practices to help improve energy efficiency and sustainability in urban transport. The new approach involves the adaptation of data envelopment analysis (DEA) to benchmark the ‘efficiency’ of cities in causing oil-related impacts and also the resilience thanks to less oil intensive modes (public and active transport). The results show the differences across the largest cities in Australia, with particular vulnerabilities are affected by local conditions of fuel price, socio-economic condition and the usage of sustainable modes. This framework should assist in showing the different levels of oil vulnerability of Australian capital cities. The DEA method has the potential to be expanded to consider more variables and/or applied to a wider set of global cities for comparative purposes.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Event38th Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 16 Nov 201618 Nov 2016


Conference38th Australasian Transport Research Forum, ATRF 2016


  • Benchmarking
  • DEA
  • Oil resilience
  • Oil vulnerability


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