Paul Mees (20 March 1961 – 19 June 2013) was an Australian academic, specialising in urban planning and public transport. He was an Associate Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Paul was a tireless and unstinting advocate for public transport improvement and a brave researcher - frank and fearless. He was not afraid to shine spotlights in dark corners or even to question what our community perceived as good policy and practice.
Paul Mees died of cancer on the 19th of June 2013.
Mees began his career as a lawyer, later becoming an academic. He had a BA and LLB (Hons) and qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Mees's doctoral research was undertaken at the University of Melbourne and involved a comparison of public transport in Toronto and Melbourne. The thesis accounted for the relative success of the former compared to the latter in the post-war period, given the otherwise physical and demographic similarities of the two cities.
Mees then became a Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Urban Research Program. In 1998 he began teaching at the University of Melbourne. In 2008 he was demoted for making controversial comments about state government figures, and then resigned.
Transferring to RMIT, he lectured in statutory planning and transport planning until his death.
Mees's work was principally concerned with the planning of public transport in cities. He was a strong advocate for public transport, but less keen on urban bicycles as a realistic mass transport solution. His work provided the basis for the European Union’s 2005 HiTrans project on improving public transport in medium-sized cities and towns. He was also a member of the International Advisory Council for Paris's New Mobility Agenda Project. His most recent research was on planning decision support tools for multimodal urban transport systems, and improvements to urban public transport planning in Australia.
Mees was a fearless and high-profile contributor to public debates on transport planning in Victoria, Australia over three decades. Some of the more notable campaigns he involved himself in were his legal actions attempting to prevent the construction of expensive transport projects contrary to his views on what constituted good public transport policy. In the late 1990s he questioned the legality of aspects of the largest urban infrastructure project in Australia's history, the CityLink tollway system in Melbourne.
He unsuccessfully contested the building of a marshalling yard and a new tram "superstop" in front of the main entrance to the University of Melbourne's Parkville campus on Swanston Street, and opposed the building of the proposed Melbourne Metro rail tunnel under the centre of Melbourne, on the grounds that much less expensive options are available to boost capacity on the Melbourne suburban rail network.
- Mees, Paul (1996) Do public choice and public transport mix? An Australian-Canadian comparison, Canberra. A.C.T. : Urban Research Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University (ISBN 0731525175)
- Mees, Paul (2000) A Very Public Solution: public transport in the dispersed city, Carlton South, Vic: Melbourne University Press (ISBN 0522848672)
- Mees, Paul (2009) Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age, Earthscan (ISBN 9781844077403)
- Burke, Matthew. "Vale Paul Mees, Australia’s leading transport & land use researcher".
- Lucas, Clay (2013-06-20). "Mees dies following battle with cancer". The Age. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Committee history". Public Transport Users Association. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Lucas, Clay (2008-05-20). "Melbourne Uni demotes transport dissident". The Age. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
- Brear, Philippa (2013-06-22). "Academic, champion of public transport". The Age. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Victorian CityLink operator lodges compensation claim". AM Archive. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Lucas, C Going nowhere fast, The Age 27 April 2008
- ABC Catalyst 'the science of traffic' transcript
- Up Close interview transcript
- SBS Television (transcript): Insight program on the real cost of paying road tolls
- ABC Radio National: Transurban to sue Victorian Government for compensation
- Moynihan, S and Millar, R: Transport plan labelled too little too late
- Paul Mees' staff webpage at RMIT
- Paul Mees paper on Melbourne 2030
- Does Melbourne need another central city rail tunnel? (Response to Sir Rod Eddington East West Needs Assessment)