A shift to a more sustainable future

Planning for 40 years has enabled us to make clear decisions today about the type of future we want as a community. The process started a conversation about whether we want to continue our current, car dominated patterns of growth and development, or encourage more sustainable, productive, liveable places. The Future Transport vision is one where urban spaces in our cities and centres are great places for people; and moving more people from high-emitting vehicles to more sustainable public and active transport will reduce our state’s emissions intensity, improve air quality and support better health and wellbeing for all who live in and visit NSW.

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy was conceived in collaboration across government, to support a sustainable vision for the future. This involved aligning services and infrastructure planning to enable the broader land use and economic vision for Sydney and NSW, and shifting towards vision-led planning of places and communities, balanced against a traditional ‘predict and provide’ approach to planning transport investment.

A transport system that is financially sustainable can deliver more with less and sustain ongoing improvements in infrastructure and customer service. Our approach to planning for a sustainable future meant a focus on maximising customer value for every taxpayer dollar, through efficient service and project delivery and new forms of revenue, while growing service patronage with affordable and equitable fares.

Environmental sustainability means building in climate change resilience and working steadily to meet the NSW Government objective of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Climate change and resilience are critical challenges facing the Greater Sydney transport system. We will transition towards a system that will contribute towards the NSW Government’s objective of net-zero emissions by 2050 through electrification of the public transport fleet, renewable energy procurement and enabling electric freight and private vehicles. This network will also be resilient against climate uncertainties. Transport for NSW will also support greater use of public and active transport and the transition to low-carbon fuels or electricity from renewable sources.

Our cost-effective pathway to net-zero emissions involves:

  • A shift over time from private car use to public transport
  • Promotion of low emission vehicles
  • Transition to cost effective, low emission energy supply
  • Collaboration with industry on new fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, including for a low emissions passenger vehicle fleet

Managing the transition to a low emissions transport sector in a cost-effective way is an important way to manage climate change risks as well as long-term financial risks. Moving people from high-emitting vehicles to more sustainable transport modes is an important step in reducing emissions.

Making public and active transport more accessible and attractive through improved services and infrastructure will encourage more customers to shift from private car towards these modes.

By 2056, NSW will have reached its net-zero emissions goal. The consequent drop in vehicle emissions will have improved air quality across the state, enabling better health outcomes, lower operational costs, and quieter operations for liveable centres. The transport network will have:

  • Led the separation of NSW economic growth from carbon emissions
  • Resisted extreme weather events and sea-level rise with minimal damage and disruption to network functionality
  • Permitted sustainable metropolitan development with liveable centres and increased, connected green spaces

Alternative fuels

Alternative fuels will benefit the environment, improve energy security and lower costs, and some vehicle manufacturers have signalled that over time we will likely transition away from internal combustion engine vehicles.

This would have several benefits including lower running costs for users, reduced air pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions, health benefits from air quality improvements, and reduced noise which will improve liveability. It will also contribute to improved energy security through reduced reliance on imported, non-renewable fuels.

Financial sustainability

NSW transport investment and service improvement will be delivered sustainably, with the costs and the value of investment shared equitably between taxpayers and those who benefit from that investment, allowing future governments to respond flexibly to changing community needs.

This will mean an affordable network that allows for sustained investment in customer improvements. Cost reduction initiatives will focus on improved operations and maintenance practice and a more commercial focus to the management of our assets.

There is a greater role for the private sector in designing and implementing innovative solutions that deliver customer outcomes but do not burden the taxpayer.

Environmental resilience

Weather events affecting the transport network can impact connectivity and access and lead to long periods of isolation for communities that are cut off. Examples include closure of major highways due to bushfires, closure of rail lines due to extreme heat and flooding and flights being grounded due to fog.

Inland and remote areas of Regional NSW in particular face significant resilience issues, especially given the region’s existing isolation. Transport has a critical role in providing access to essential services.

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy includes initiatives which will:

  • Improve connectivity and reduce isolation for communities affected by severe weather events
  • Make assets more resilient to significant weather events to avoid service disruptions and negative impacts on the state’s economy
  • Make sure investment decisions and assets are designed in respect to future climate risks

Sustainable transport in Greater Sydney

We must increase the competitiveness of more efficient and sustainable modes of transport. By global standards, a high proportion of trips in Greater Sydney are by private car.

This is a contributing factor to increasing congestion, which costs the city $6.1 billion a year and is forecast to rise to $12.6 billion by 2030. Key global cities with a population of five to eight million people are typically associated with a higher share of trips being by public transport, which improves productivity, liveability and sustainability outcomes.

Learn about other outcomes for our State

A new vision for NSW

Customer Focused

A Strong Economy

Successful Places

Accessible Services

Safety and Performance

Explore the full strategies and plans

Future Transport Strategy 2056

Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan

Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure Plan