Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney


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Alex Gooding, Director, Gooding Davies Consultancy delivered this presentation at the 2013 NSW State Transport Infrastructure Summit.
The State Transport Infrastructure Series of events represent the leading forums in Australia to assess the future plans for transport infrastructure development and financing across Australia. For more information, please visit

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Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney

  1. 1. Western Sydney’s current and future transport needs Presentation to the Informa NSW Transport Infrastructure Summit 7-8 August 2013 Alex Gooding, Gooding Davies Consultancy
  2. 2. Who and what makes up Western Sydney? Greater Western Sydney (GWS): • Governance: 14 LGAs (10 WSROC & 3 MACROC councils, & the Hills Shire) • Area: 8,941 sq. km. • Population: 2 million (nearly one in 11 Australians) • Estimated growth: 3 million by 2031 • Proportion of Sydney: 44% of the Sydney SSD population (36% of the Sydney/Hunter/ Illawarra Greater Metro Area) Source: RDA Sydney
  3. 3. How many jobs and workers are there in Western Sydney? • Annual GRP: $80.6 billion+ (Australia’s third-largest regional economy) • No. of businesses: 161,000+ • Workforce: 850,000-900,000+ • Estimated growth: 1.4 million by 2031 • Jobs: approx. 700,000 • Notional jobs deficit: around 150,000 (22% of the workforce) 3
  4. 4. Where do people in Western Sydney work? Local Government Areas: • Top jobs location: Sydney City • Other key LGAs: Parramatta, Blacktown, the Hills, Bankstown, Penrith & Liverpool (65% of jobs in GWS) • LGAs with net jobs surplus: Parramatta and Auburn 4 Source: based on NSW BTS and ABS Census data
  5. 5. Where do people in Western Sydney work? Employment Centres: • In 2006 only around 25% of Western Sydney jobs were in the 13 major employment centres… • But employment in these centres grew more strongly than elsewhere between 2001 and 2006 5
  6. 6. Where do people in Western Sydney work? Employment Growth 2006-11: • Recent research suggests Western Sydney job creation between 2006 and 2011 was well below planning targets • Manufacturing lost nearly 9,000 jobs • Jobs lost in wholesale, despite major logistics investment along the M7 • Growth has come largely from public administration, education/training and health care/social assistance 6 Source: Prof Phil O’Neill presentation 2013
  7. 7. Where do people in Western Sydney work? Employment flows: • 235,000-270,000* (28%-32%) actually leave GWS for work… • And nearly 120,000 people come to GWS to work • By 2031 300,000 to 350,000 new jobs will be required in GWS just to maintain the current employment containment level (around 68%-72%)… • And there will still be 120,000-150,000 extra trips out of the region & 60,000 into GWS * Includes 37,000 workers with multiple employment locations 7
  8. 8. How do Western Sydney workers get to work? Overall: • Train use: slightly lower than Sydney average • Bus use, bicycling and walking: less than half Sydney average • Car use: nearly 15% higher • Changing patterns: Use of trains (up 18%) and buses (up 55%, off a low base) increasing faster than car use (up 10.5% for drivers, down 6% for passengers) 8
  9. 9. How do Western Sydney workers get to work? Within Western Sydney: • People working in GWS are nearly 38% more likely to travel by car (74.8% compared to 54.5%)… • And nearly 3.5 times less likely to travel by train than those leaving the region to work (8.5% compared to 29.5%) • So how do we ensure that increasing employment containment is sustainable? 9 Source: based on NSW BTS and ABS data
  10. 10. Why is the region so car-dependent? • Rapid population growth fed by baby boom and post- war immigration led to suburban expansion • Spectacular rise in private car use and the closure of the tram network in 1961 • Rail system in Western Sydney largely unchanged from the 1930s to the 1970s • Poor, fragmented private bus services • Underinvestment by State and Federal Governments in infrastructure… • …coupled with an increasing role for the private sector, especially in toll roads
  11. 11. Key planning & transport strategies 1948 – 2009 • 60 years of planning but little resulting GWS infrastructure…. 11 1 1948 County of Cumberland Plan (1948—80) Cumberland County Council 2 1968 Sydney Region Outline Plan (1970-2000) NSW State Planning Authority 3 1974 Sydney Area Transportation Study (1974-2000) SATS 4 1987 Roads 2000 NSW Department of Main Roads 5 1988 Sydney into its Third Century (1986-2011) NSW Dept of Environment & Planning 6 1991 Better Cities Program Federal Government 7 1995 Integrated Transport Strategy NSW Department of Transport 8 1995 Sydney’s Future Cities for the 21st Century (1994-2021) NSW Department of Planning 9 1998 Shaping our Cities (1999-2016) NSW Dept of Urban Affairs & Planning 10 1998 Action for Transport 2010 (1998-2010) NSW Department of Transport 11 2006 City of Cities – A Plan for Sydney’s Future (2006-31) NSW Department of Planning 12 2006 Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program (2006-31) NSW Department of Transport 13 2008 NW Metro (2009-17) NSW Department of Transport 14 2008 CBD and West Metros (2009-15?) NSW Department of Transport 15 2009 National Infrastructure Priorities Infrastructure Australia (Federal)
  12. 12. Failing to create a balanced transport network in Western Sydney… Policy failures of the (not so distant) past: • Numerous rail lines proposed – and promised - but only 13km and three new stations built since the 1930s • Only two bus T-ways built out of plans for a complete network • But over 100km of motorway (mostly tolled) now completed in Western Sydney & capacity being expanded • New residential growth and employment centres built further and further away from the rail network • Limited integration between bus and rail networks • Travel between outer suburbs by public transport increasingly difficult
  13. 13. Western Sydney Railways in the 1930s
  14. 14. Harris Park “Y” Link East Hills – Glenfield Extension Olympic Park Link Western Sydney Railways closed and opened since the 1930s
  15. 15. Failing to create a balanced transport network in Western Sydney… Living with the consequences: • Low-density suburban development greatly encouraged by, and dependent on, the car • Scattered multi-front, land releases which are difficult to support • Newer employment centres built without any public transport access • Road and motorway capacity fills up more quickly without complementary public transport • Much longer commuting times than in the rest of Sydney (especially in the AM peak) • High transport costs add to the financial vulnerability of many households
  16. 16. 16Source: Dodson and Sipe (2008) Griffith University
  17. 17. 17 Median income (residents aged 25-65), Sydney, 2011 Source: Kelly and Mares (2003) Grattan Institute
  18. 18. Are we starting to create a balanced transport network?: key influences • Fairfax Independent Public Inquiry Long Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney: Final Report (2010) – Identified the strong public interest in and support for investment in public transport infrastructure – Articulated a strong case for expansion of the rail system – Outlined a detailed long-term planning, governance and funding strategy to support infrastructure investment – Proposed development of an integrated transport network over a period of 25 years, with a focus on Western Sydney • Infrastructure NSW State Infrastructure Plan (2012) – Proposed a roads-based infrastructure strategy and opposed almost all future rail investment – Many aspects of this strategy were rejected, however the WestConnex motorway proposal was endorsed by Government 18
  19. 19. Are we starting to create a balanced transport network?: current policies NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan  Better than many of the previous plans: at least discusses some of the key delivery and funding issues  Proposes protection of strategic corridors and a bus priority network in Western Sydney  Commits to SWRL and NWRL  Seeks to support the three “regional cities” and new growth centres in Western Sydney  Proposes incremental improvements to service delivery  Light rail and bus plans for the CBD will improve access for buses from Western Sydney ₓ However, as with previous plans, the only real funding and implementation commitments are very short-term (with the partial exception of NWRL & 1st stage WestConnex) ₓ Several key commitments from the draft Master Plan have disappeared ₓ WestConnex project is of questionable value and NWRL proposal also very problematic ₓ Does little to address capacity issues in the rest of the rail network, especially in Western Sydney ₓ Apart from the regional cities, little discussion of the transport needs of established major employment centres in Western Sydney 19
  20. 20. South West Rail Link: a train to where?  First major Western Sydney line since Olympic Park and East Hills extension  Services new development at Edmondson Park  Secures a corridor into the SW growth centre well ahead of development and provides the basis for a potential airport link  Also provides a major train stabling facility ₓ Little development planned at Leppington terminus ₓ Piecemeal development in the SW has taken place well away from the new line ₓ Layout of the SW growth centre makes it difficult for any extension to serve both residential development and any proposed airport 20
  21. 21. North West Rail Link: no place for a metro?  First really substantial rail line in Western Sydney since the 1930s  Will service established area with high demand as well as NW growth centre  Will provide connectivity to major employment centres (Norwest, Macquarie Park and Chatswood)  May eventually provide a direct link to the LNS and CBD ₓ Metro benefits oversold ₓ Little community input to decision ₓ Involves privatisation of existing PT infrastructure ₓ Will cause major inconvenience for Main North line passengers ₓ Chatswood interchange a major, potentially dangerous bottleneck ₓ Will do little to relieve overcrowded W. Sydney lines ₓ Government’s desire to isolate the line will destroy system integration 21
  22. 22. WestConnex: back to the 1950s?  Would provide “missing links” in Sydney’s motorway network  Would improve road links to the port and airport  May provide opportunities for public transport development along Parramatta Road corridor ₓ Little community debate about road v. public transport options ₓ Huge cost - $10-$13 bn, especially since “slot” approach abandoned ₓ Will require considerable upfront government investment as the basis for a PPP ₓ Is likely to result in major congestion at CBD interchanges and on the existing M4 ₓ Are we really building 1950s radial motorways in the 21st century? 22
  23. 23. Other infrastructure policy “blunders” ₓ Poor submissions to Infrastructure Australia by previous State Governments = zero Federal funding to NSW ₓ State-Federal Government stand-off over Parramatta- Epping v. NWRL proposals = zero Federal funding ₓ The NSW Transport Minister “welcoming” the Federal Opposition Leader’s commitment not to end Federal funding for urban rail infrastructure as “providing certainty” (SMH 06/08/13) = zero Federal funding (potentially) Outcome: Vic, Qld, SA and WA have all received substantial Federal funding for major public transport projects. NSW has not and is unlikely to. 23
  24. 24. Western Sydney’s current and future needs: summary Now to 2031: • Population: Forecast to grow from two to three million • Workforce: Forecast to grow from 900,000+ to 1.4 million • Jobs: Will need to grow from 700,000+ to over a million to just maintain current regional employment containment • JTW out of region: Will grow from 270,000 to 400,000 plus even if current containment levels are maintained • JTW into the region: Could grow from 120,000 to 180,000 • JTW mode: Harder to predict but will depend on: – The success or otherwise of policies to grow jobs in the region – The extent to which these jobs can be located in major centres – Decisions regarding transport infrastructure priorities and the level of investment – Changes in service provision 24
  25. 25. Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney 1. The big picture: • Establish a proper, independent transport governance and accountability framework • Plan a genuine integrated transport network – and not just a list of promises or PPPs • Develop a robust implementation framework based on a long-term funding strategy • Rebalance investment in favour of public transport – especially in Western Sydney 25 Source: Independent Public Inquiry into a Long-Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney: Final Report (2010)
  26. 26. Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney 2. No silver bullet – Western Sydney needs all of the following: • Detailed jobs creation strategies for all major employment centres – not just the regional cities and new growth centres – to boost employment containment • An integrated transport network which develops the following infrastructure: – Inter-regional links to the CBD and other centres outside Western Sydney – Intra-regional links between key employment and education centres in Western Sydney – Local feeder public transport services – The local and intra-regional arterial road network to connect major centres 26
  27. 27. Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney 3. Inter-regional links • Short-term: – Completion of the NWRL – but as an integrated railway and not a metro – Increased capacity, frequency and speed on existing rail lines, especially to Parramatta, Blacktown and Campbelltown – Identify and reserve additional inter-regional public transport corridors • Medium-term: – Construction of the Parramatta-Epping rail link – Construction of the Second Harbour Crossing to provide additional capacity throughout the network 27
  28. 28. Creating a balanced transport network in Western Sydney 4. Intra-regional Links • Short-term: – Resume services from Blacktown to Campbelltown via Parramatta on the Cumberland Line – Develop a high-frequency, rapid bus priority network between all major employment and education centres in the region – In particular, prioritise north-south links, for example Parramatta to Epping, Bankstown and Castle Hill, Rouse Hill to Penrith – Identify and reserve additional intra-regional corridors • Medium-term: – Commence construction of an integrated bus T-way and light rail network between key employment and education centres, the latter based on Parramatta Council’s proposal for a regional light rail network 28
  29. 29. 29 Parramatta Council proposed Western Sydney Light Rail Network Source: Parramatta City Council (2013)
  30. 30. 30 Source: Independent Public Inquiry into a Long-Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney: Final Report (2010) Independent Public Inquiry: Preferred Option
  31. 31. What is a “balanced” transport network? • Inter-regional and intra-regional equity • Economic and social equity • Sustainability – environmental, social and economic • Inter-generational equity • Changing patterns of transport consumption • Equity between transport demand and infrastructure provision • … and not just the balance between private and public transport 31