The NSW Transport Master Plan was released yesterday, and at 370 pages it is a very long document. It’s going to take me a little while to get through it, so I’m going to periodically post bits and pieces of it over the coming days as I digest it. So today it’s just a quick overview and links to some media reports. Make sure to come back later for more, or follow me on Twitter.
Problems and solutions
The Master Plan works by identifying which transport corridors are going to see high levels of congestion by 2031, assuming nothing is done today. These are the problems. It then considers what mode of transport provides the best way of relieving that congestion. This is the solution. It also takes a big picture view of the transport network as a unified network, and sees what improvements can be made to help it run more smoothly as a whole system, rather than just lots of little transport routes operating independently of each other.
Identifying the problems first, then seeing which are the most suitable solutions to them is the right approach. I wrote earlier about how enthusiasm for a particular type of mode or technology can result in these two steps becoming inverted, and this is an example of where that is not being done.
What are the problems?
Six transport corridors are projected to have high constraints if nothing is done between now and 2031;
- Rouse Hill to Macquarie Park
- Northern Beaches to CBD
- Parramatta to CBD via Victoria Road
- Parramatta to CBD via Parramatta Road
- Liverpool to Airport
- Airport to CBD
These 6 corridors are seen in dark blue in the map below:
What are the solutions?
In order to alleviate congestion along these corridors, a number of actions have been recommended. These have been placed into short term (0-5 years), medium term (5-10 years) and long term (10-20 years) periods. Most of these actions involve the construction of new transport links, rail, bus and road. In the case of the road projects, their priority will be determined by Infrastructure NSW’s report, to be handed down next month. I will discuss these in more detail in a later post.
Much media criticism has been based on a lack of a timetable and costing/funding that accompanied this report, and while the latter is certainly true, a rough timetable has been provided through the breaking down of proposed infrastructure projects into short, medium and long term.
These are not the only planned projects. The Master Plan also includes potential upgrades, enhancements and extensions of a number of other transport corridors. Below is a map of the existing major transport corridors, those new transport corridors that have been committed to, and other potential new transport corridors or upgrades to existing ones.
What happens next?
The next major cab off the rank is the Infrastructure NSW report, due next month. It will recommend which projects should go ahead (the road projects in particular) and how they are to be funded. Infrastructure NSW and Transport for NSW have competing views on what Sydney should be building: the former believes it should be roads while the latter thinks it should be rail. How this pans out will be interesting to watch.
There’s lots floating around in the media. Below is a selection. The Telegraph, Channel Seven and Channel Nine reports are all quite pro-road, in some cases almost ignoring the role that public transport plays. Channel Ten was the only television report to actually speak to an expert who wasn’t a lobbyist or politician and, along with the Herald articles, is probably the best place to go for more details. The 2GB piece is an interview with the Telegraph State Political Editor, Andrew Clennell, which is also worth listening to, if heavily opinionated.
Print media reports
Transport plan to ease six of the worst, Sydney Morning Herald
Transport plan long on hope, light on detail, Sydney Morning Herald
O’Farrell plans a way out of paying for a solution, Sydney Morning Herald
All roads lead to more frustration, Daily Telegraph
Too many concepts amount to no idea, Daily Telegraph
O’Farrell’s action plan takes us nowhere fast, Daily Telegraph
Greiner tells powers that be not to sit on their assets, Daily Telegraph
Radio media reports
Congested Sydney gets transport master plan, ABC Radio National
Television media reports