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Delivering sustainability

Future Transport Strategy

Social sustainability

Social sustainability seeks to improve quality of life, health and social wellbeing for current and future generations and promotes the principles of equity, diversity, connectedness, democracy and participation. Ensuring transport contributes positively to society, the environment and the economy is fundamental to our social licence to operate.


Accessible transport

One of the key means of achieving social sustainability, and one of the six State-wide guiding principles for Future Transport 2056, is the provision of accessible transport that is safe and promotes mobility and accessibility for all, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged, to increase inclusion, participation, health and social wellbeing.

Transport has developed a number of plans to assist us in achieving this outcome including the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2018 – 2022 and the Older Person’s Transport and Mobility Plan. Accessibility is also being improved through programs such as the Transport Access Program which delivers accessible transport interchanges for people with disability or limited mobility.

Technology that provides customer information, travel planning and wayfinding, such as websites, real-time information at transport facilities, onboard trains, buses and ferries, and via trip planning apps, is progressively becoming more accessible. In particular, there have been significant advances in smart phone apps that provide specialised assistance for people with disability. 

An accessible network will mean more choice for people with mobility constraints and will make travel easier for everyone, whatever their age, ability or personal circumstances. For example, there will be dedicated space for wheelchairs and accessible toilets on the New Intercity Fleet; we are continuing with our Transport Access Program to provide a better experience for public transport customers by delivering accessible, modern, secure and integrated transport infrastructure; and our new, integrated signage provides consistent and easy-to-follow visual messages to make public transport easier for customers to use.


Transport planning for social access

The establishment of the ‘30 minute city’ concept in Greater Sydney, and the hub and spoke network in regional and outer metropolitan NSW, is vital to a socially sustainable network, to connect people to jobs, education and training, health and essential services. Better connected networks enable our customers and communities to connect, strengthen social networks and develop a sense of community and belonging.

Place making, integrated land use and transport planning that is co-designed with communities will also help enhance the quality of places by improving amenity and liveability, reflecting the identity of local people and cultures, and promoting sustainable transport, including public transport, walking and cycling. Working with communities when planning for places helps us embrace community diversity and ensures transport meets the diverse needs of our customers and communities.


Social, environmental, sustainable and ethical procurement

Our new Transport Procurement Policy 2020 (the Policy) and Transport Environment and Sustainable Policy, underpinned by NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework, establishes a consistent Transport cluster procurement framework that promotes sound commercial decisions based on integrity and risk principles. It achieves this by applying high standards of ethics and probity while driving sustainability and social outcomes. 

The Policy supports the delivery of safe, sustainable, customer-centred transport infrastructure and services, and uses our procurement to support economic participation and social outcomes, develop skills, and create jobs for the citizens of NSW. 

We are committed to building a diverse supply base to support businesses of all types, which includes small- and medium-sized businesses, Aboriginal-owned businesses, regional businesses and disability enterprises.

Social procurement is an important lever for Transport to improve social sustainability outcomes, by using its purchasing power to deliver value for money on a whole-of-life basis, and create social, economic and environmental value for the greater good of NSW through jobs, training and partnerships for groups that are otherwise marginalised or precluded from these opportunities.

Transport for NSW is committed to continuously improving and innovating across the procurement lifecycle to maximise value for money, while fostering a viable market for sustainable goods and services by supporting businesses that demonstrate innovation in sustainability and comply with socially responsible and ethical practices.

This is supported through a number of key initiatives:


Social workforce procurement and Aboriginal participation

We work with our transport contractors delivering broader social workforce procurement initiatives. For example, the delivery of Sydney Metro is providing a significant opportunity to support jobs and skills for a more diverse and inclusive workforce and supply chain, while also addressing key issues currently experienced across industry. Other major transport infrastructure programs, including Parramatta Light Rail, Regional Rail, the Transport Access Program 3, and More Trains More Services, are also addressing workforce development and industry participation.

In 2018, the NSW Government introduced the Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which aims for Aboriginal-owned businesses to be awarded at least three per cent of the total number of domestic contracts for goods and services issued by NSW Government agencies by 2021. The Aboriginal Procurement Policy seeks to support greater participation of Aboriginal people in government construction projects across NSW. This policy aims to create an estimated 3,000 full-time equivalent employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, many of them in transport infrastructure projects. The Aboriginal Procurement Policy supports and aligns to Transport’s Aboriginal Participation Strategy.

Through the Transport Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 and the Transport Aboriginal Participation Strategy, are committed to working collaboratively with NSW Aboriginal communities to respectfully leverage the wisdom of cultural knowledge and increase visibility of traditional knowledge and local Aboriginal languages as we undertake our core business. This plan outlines our cluster-wide approach, recognising and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a range of practical activities that span three pillars – relationships, respect and opportunities. 

Our actions are underpinned by the OCHRE plan – opportunity, choice, healing, responsibility and empowerment. The plan sets out a new way for the NSW Government to work with Aboriginal communities, by building strong working partnerships that have at their heart respect for local Aboriginal culture, leadership and decision making.


Future directions to investigate

  • Develop a Transport cluster-wide implementation plan for the Transport Procurement Policy 2020. 
  • Develop a Transport cluster-wide implementation plan to deliver the key objectives of the Transport Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 and the Transport Aboriginal Participation Strategy.
  • Improve understanding of social impacts and benefits from new and upgraded transport infrastructure and services, and distribute the impacts and opportunities fairly.
  • Continue to work with Aboriginal communities and traditional custodians/owners to identify opportunities for community-based place making.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

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