Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Current Issues in Transport Policy

Current Issues in Transport Policy

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 14/2004 by Stuart Smith
Recent developments in transport policy in NSW include:
  • The Commonwealth AusLink White Paper;
  • The NSW Ministerial inquiry into sustainable transport in NSW;
  • The NSW Ministerial review of bus services in NSW; and
  • The development of the Long Term Strategic Plan for Rail.

This paper reviews each of these, and places them into the perspective of the development of the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy. Transport is a complex issue world wide, and in the United Kingdom various strategies have been implemented to increase the sustainability of their transport networks. The paper reviews these, and notes the success of a congestion charge in London, which, together with an upgraded public transit system, has resulted in a 32 per cent reduction in congestion in central London.

The release of the Commonwealth AusLink White Paper in June 2004 identified a national network of important road and rail infrastructure links. The AusLink strategy proposes that the Commonwealth will initiate long-term investment strategies for each transport corridor in the national network. Corridor strategies will be developed by the Commonwealth and relevant State governments responsible for the transport links in each corridor. This approach will be tailored to meet the specific characteristics and needs of each transport corridor in the most effective and sustainable way, irrespective of mode. Significant new funding for railways was proposed.

In Sydney, vehicle kilometres travelled per capita has increased substantially in the period 1991 – 2002. In 2002, 70 per cent of trips were made in the car, either as driver or passenger. For public transport, the share of trips made by train has remained relatively constant since 1991, whilst bus and walking have significantly declined.

Transport or Travel Demand Management refers to various strategies that change travel behavior (how, when and where people travel) in order to increase transport system efficiency and achieve specific objectives. In the past, transportation problems were usually evaluated in terms of supply – for instance building more road and parking capacity. Increasingly, management solutions are being used that result in the more efficient use of existing capacity, and one of these solutions - the demand management program TravelSmart is reviewed.

Current CityRail reliability is poor, and a review of the reasons behind this is presented. Solutions proposed by the Government include: training more drivers; implementation of the ClearWays project; and introducing a new timetable in September 2005. However, it is noted that a new route through the central business district from Redfern to St Leonards is required in the medium term. Currently Sydney is faced with: escalating car use; significant traffic congestion; and a train service not operating at a satisfactory level. The State Government has committed a significant amount of money to help address these factors. More recently, the work developing the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy has focused on rejuvenating town centres along strategic corridors of Sydney. The intent is that people will need to travel less to employment and social / recreational opportunities.