The NSW Government last week released its Urban Transport Statement. This outlines the Government's priorities and initiatives for addressing current and future transport challenges, across and within Sydney, with a focus on passenger transport. The Statement, worth $660 million, is informed by the NSW State Plan and the Metropolitan Strategy, and compliments the State Infrastructure Strategy.
The Urban Transport Statement presents a number of opportunities for the private sector to be involved in the provision of transport infrastructure and the development of new technologies for improved transport efficiency.
Road ProjectsVictoria Road
The Statement announced a $100 million upgrade to Victoria Road, as one of Sydney's busiest transport corridors, scheduled for completion in 2009. The upgrade would include duplication of the Iron Cove Bridge with four additional lanes, the extension of bus lanes, and construction of overtaking bays to allow express buses to pass regular services. Much of Victoria Road is also a busy commercial precinct.
The Network Management Strategy, outlined in the Statement, aims to manage and minimise traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. It focuses on "pinch points", that is, known peak hour traffic congestion points on major road corridors. The Urban Transport Statement allocates $100 million to address these pinch points with work on approximately 20 road corridors, including Parramatta Road, King Georges Road, Spit and Military Roads, and Windsor Road. The road work would include lengthening turning bays, adding extra lanes, widening intersections, changing traffic light configurations, and replacing heavily-used roundabouts with traffic lights.
Traffic Management Technologies
Central to the Network Management Strategy, outlined in the Urban Transport Statement, is the employment of new information technologies. This includes incident response systems, traffic signal coordination, electronic tolling and the provision of driver information regarding traffic conditions. The Network Management Strategy will include expanding the existing network of variable message signs and cameras monitoring Sydney's roads.
The Network Management Strategy aims to promote improved traffic flows through flexibility, better management of and response to incidents or planned events, and by assisting drivers in making informed decisions regarding their travel options. These initiatives will focus particularly on "pinch point" areas.
The Urban Transport Statement accelerates the bus priority program of works with a further commitment of $100 million for strategic bus corridors across Sydney. A new Mid City Interchange Precinct will be developed around Town Hall with enhanced bus stop facilities. The bus priority program will include more dedicated bus lanes and bus bypass lanes, and the conversion of unrestricted lanes to transit lanes.
The Public Transport Information and Priority System (PTIPS), managed by the RTA, will be expanded to operate Sydney-wide. The PTIPS uses satellite technology to identify late running buses and communicates with the RTA's traffic management system to direct traffic signal priority accordingly.
The Statement includes a $316 million extension of the Government's Rail Clearways Plan to further boost rail capacity in the expanding North West region. The duplication of the Richmond line will be extended to Riverstone by 2010 and to Vineyard by 2012, doubling the number of services that can be run in peak times. It will also include upgrading Vineyard Station and creating a new transport interchange.
This project will be delivered by the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (TIDC).
Park and Ride
A $45 million strategy to expand and improve commuter parking facilities at key locations in Sydney's West was announced in the Statement. Approximately 4,000 additional car spaces have been identified. In the first round, a commuter carpark will be developed at Wentworthville by 2009. In the second round, new commuter carparks will be built at Seven Hills, St Marys, Glenfield and Blacktown by 2011. A number of other sites have been identified for further investigation.
The Government will investigate funding options for such projects, including private sector investment and opportunities for multiple use developments.
The NSW Government's Urban Transport Statement can be viewed in full at: http://www.nsw.gov.au/urban_transport.asp