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03 April 2018 Posted by 

THE NEW YORK FACTOR

Our transport - 40 years from now
GEOFF LEE
MANY commentators criticise governments for short-term planning - planning based upon short-term election cycles.
Defying this trend, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance recently released a 40 year Future Transport Strategy 2056. 
 
Commentators cite the three big challenges of government – the delivery of local jobs, affordable homes and efficient transport. Transport plays a significant role in increasing productivity, enhancing lifestyle and improving liveability.  
 
By 2056, it is envisaged that two thirds of us will live within 2 km of a centre and be able to travel to one of three cities (i.e. Western Parkland City, Central River City and Eastern Harbour City) or nearest centre within 30 minutes by public transport or active transport.
 
The government is already planning and delivering some of Australia’s largest transport infrastructure projects in Western Sydney, megaprojects such as Westconnex, North Metro, Sydney West Metro, and Parramatta Light Rail. 
 
However, we are still playing catch-up and we need to leverage these megaprojects to gain maximum advantage.
 
Planning for the future, we have announced the proposed preservation of corridors for four major future road and rail infrastructure, covering some 192 kilometres in Western Sydney.  
 
The government has also committed to the notion of 30-minute cities, where people live and work within 30 minutes. 
 
This requires the location of major job precincts close to homes; the recently announced Western Sydney City Deal is a good example to long-term planning that will deliver 200,000 jobs in Western Sydney over the next 20 years. 
 
The Transport Strategy 2056 highlights the need to plan and deliver infrastructure to keep pace with population growth.
 
This is essential in Western Sydney where we need to build a transport network for future generations over vast distances and compared to other world cities, relatively low population density.
 
Compared to other global cities, Greater Sydney is more spread out and less built up and has a strong reliance on cars as the primary form of transport. Greater Sydney has 410 people km2 compared to New York’s 11,000 km2 and Greater London’s 5,800 km2 people.
 
Western Sydney residents spend longer in their cars, have longer commute times, and spend more of their income on transport than other Sydneysiders. 
 
The average family spends around $22,000 per year in transport costs, while 88 per cent of residents depend on a car to travel to work with average travel times between 45 to 70 minutes and 1.5 hours by public transport according to a Deliotte report . 
 
Rapid changes to technology will shape transport solutions of the future for our region. 
 
Currently, we are trialling on demand buses. Services that provide the last mile service between your home and the closest transport interchange. The aim is to let people leave their cars at home and connect them to public transport quickly and efficiently. 
 
In a decade of so, we will see the commercialisation of autonomous buses. I saw first-hand the autonomous bus being trialled in Newington and see this as being a great option for those ‘last mile’ journeys. 
 
With smart infrastructure, these vehicles will improve traffic flow by taking cars off the road by giving commuter safe and reliable transport options. 
 
The share-economy will also play its part in our future transport solutions. Rideshare is also becoming increasingly popular, which is amazing as they’re relatively new entrants into our market.  
 
An IPART report found 37 per cent of customers used a rideshare service in the last 12 months  a service that relies heavily on technology and that did not exist 5 years ago.
 
 
Individual ownership of bikes and cars may become redundant through technology that allows individuals to ultilise assets on a pay-per-use basis. Why own a car when you only need to use it one day a week? Vendors like GoGet are already providing such services. 
 
Bike share companies are actively competing in suburbs to establish themselves. When government solves the regulation and governance issues, they will provide additional viable options for commuters. 
 
Copenhagen has spent the last 20 years with a focus on bikes as active transport for their city with current uptake of 40% of working using bikes to get to work. 
 
To successfully achieve widespread uptake in bike use, we must plan for the right infrastructure. Separated bike paths and parking areas at transport interchanges is essential. In Parramatta, the delivery of more cycle ways and pedestrian paths is also proving to be very popular – demonstrating they are viable alternative active transport modes.
 
We are faced with growing populations and increasing demand on existing transport services and we are still playing catch up on infrastructure delivery and this is all happening while technology is rapidly transforming the landscape and changing expectations. 
 
Major road projects provide more efficient corridors for cars and heavy vehicles freeing up local roads for local road users.  
 
Heavy vehicles move freight currently worth around $66B to the NSW economy every year and with freight volumes set to double in the Greater Sydney area over the next 40 years our major road networks must be ready.
 
The NSW Government is committed to building transport infrastructure that is affordable and sustainable, is fast and efficient and connects people to the places they want and need to go. We are building our future communities, improving lifestyles of our future generations.  
 
To find out more about The Future Transport Strategy 2056 visit
 
www.future.transport.nsw.gov.au
 
 
Geoff Lee is State Member for Parramatta.
 
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Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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