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Frequently used terms

Future Transport Strategy

Frequently used terms




30-minute city

A planning concept for a city in which people can easily access the places they need to visit on a daily basis within 30 minutes travel from where they live. In the Greater Sydney context, the focus is on access to the nearest centre within 30 minutes by public transport, walking or cycling.


The ability for everyone, regardless of ability, personal circumstances, or where they live, to use and benefit from the transport system.

Adaptive cruise control

An electronic control system in a vehicle that makes sure that the vehicle keeps a safe distance from vehicles in front.

Aerial mobility technology

The use of aerial technology, such as drones for transport. These may be used to deliver emergency transport services, disaster responses or last-mile freight.


A metropolitan subregion where the layout, infrastructure, and economy are centred on an airport that serves as a multimodal ‘airport city’ commercial core. It is similar in form to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city commercial core and commuter-linked suburbs. The area around Western Sydney Airport is envisaged to perform this role.

Alternative fuels

Fuels derived from sources other than petroleum (such as petrol or diesel). Examples of alternative fuels include ethanol, electricity, hydrogen, biodiesel and natural gas.


The extent to which a place, experience or service is pleasant, attractive or comfortable. Improved features, facilities or services may contribute to increased amenity.


Refers to computer software-based applications that are available across a wide range of devices, which can provide information and service features directly to users.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

A type of computer technology which is concerned with making machines work in an intelligent way, similar to the way that the human mind works.

Asset management

End-to-end accountability for the management and performance of assets (including asset, condition and risk information, configuration and reporting) to achieve agreed customer and community outcomes.

Assisted mobility devices

Forms of transport that facilitate individual personal transportation. Examples include powered wheelchairs, scooters, segways, bicycles (e-bikes) and unicycles. Although many such devices are used by people with activity or mobility restrictions, mobility aids can be employed generally, such as for transportation in place of private vehicles.

Audio tactile line markings

Road lines that aim to reduce run-off-road crashes in rural areas, by providing a noise and vibratory warning to road users who may stray due to fatigue or poor visibility.

Augmented and virtual reality

A virtual experience of a real-world environment where an image incorporates both real world elements and virtual elements.


Use of control systems, such as computers, robots or artificial intelligence, to undertake processes previously done by humans. Transport technology may be fully or partially automated, with the latter involving some form of human input to, or management of, the technology.

Big data

Describes high volumes of data obtained from the transport network that when analysed, can provide travel patterns and trends.

Car share

A model of car rental, with the ability to rent a car for a short period of time, often by the hour.

Cargo bike

A bicycle that is designed to carry a load, commonly used for last-mile freight deliveries.


The area from which a location or service attracts people.

Central River City

One of the three cities of the Greater Sydney metropolis, anchored by Greater Parramatta in the Central City District.


Corridors that support local access and connect people with their nearest centre, or city-shaping or city-serving interchange. These support buses, on demand, walking and cycling, and enable the delivery of goods. 


Highest speed and capacity corridors providing connections between our cities and centres that shape the decisions of residents and businesses on where to locate – typically mass transit rail services, motorways and highways.


Higher capacity corridors providing fast, high-frequency and reliable access to cities and centres – typically rapid bus, light rail and ferry services, and main roads.


When demand for a part of the transport network during a particular time nears its capacity, resulting in lower average speed, increased delay and unreliable journeys.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The standard measure of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). CPI is a measure of changes, over time, in retail prices of a constant basket of goods and services representative of consumption expenditure by resident households in Australian metropolitan areas.

Connected and automated vehicle (CAV)

A connected vehicle is able to communicate wirelessly with other vehicles, infrastructure and/or devices. An automated vehicle has one or more element of the driving task that is automated and therefore does not require a human driver for at least part of the driving task. Levels of automation range from assisting the human driver with the driving task, through to fully and highly automated vehicles that can drive themselves. ‘Connected and automated vehicle’ is widely used as a collective term to refer to the full range of different vehicles equipped with varying ranges and capabilities of connected and/or automated vehicle technologies.

Contactless payments

Method of purchasing goods or services using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology or near-field communication. 


A broad, linear geographic area between places.


Everyone who uses transport services or infrastructure is a customer of the NSW transport system. Whenever a person drives, travels by train, bus or light rail, or walks or cycles they become a customer of the transport system. Our customers also use our transport networks for business purposes, to deliver goods and services, and to move freight across the State and beyond.

Customer interface

Communication channels with customers, such as websites, smart phone apps, call centres, physical signage, ticket booths, etc. ‘Digital customer interfaces’ generally only refers to websites and smart phone apps.

Customer outcomes

The economic, social and environmental benefits that customers can expect from the transport system. Used by planners to guide investment, policy and service provision.

Customer service

Information and assistance supplied by a service provider to the people who use or purchase their products.

Cyber security

Security or protection against the potential for unauthorised use, disclosure, damage or disruption to assets through the use of technology.

Demand management

Systems, processes and activities that are aimed at efficiently allocating available capacity to meet demand, including by influencing customers’ choices about when, where and how they travel.

NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE)

A department of the NSW Government that aims to deliver well-connected communities, preserve the environment, support industries and contribute to a strong economy.

Digital economy

The digital, computing and technology elements of the economy.

Digital twin

A digital real-world model of cities and communities that facilitates better planning, design and modelling for NSW’s future needs.

Driverless vehicles

Commonly referred to as a ‘self-driving vehicle’ or ‘fully automated vehicle’; is a vehicle with an automated system that can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions, that a human driver could perform.

Developer contributions

Where transport infrastructure is required, the associated development opportunities can be leveraged to contribute towards the costs for that infrastructure.


A remotely operated aerial vehicle (UAV) that may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously.


An electric bicycle; a standard pedal-powered bicycle with an electric motor built-in to assist the rider with additional propulsion.

Eastern Harbour City

One of the three cities of the Greater Sydney metropolis, anchored by the Harbour CBD in the Eastern City District.

Electronic stability control

A computer-assisted safety technology that helps drivers stay in control and avoid crashes when swerving or skidding. It also assists in correcting understeer and oversteer when cornering.

Energy efficiency

The ratio of transport output to energy input; for example, vehicle kilometres per megajoule (vkm/MJ).

Energy intensity

The ratio of energy input to transport output; for example, megajoules per vehicle kilometre (MJ/vkm). It is the inverse of energy efficiency.


An electric scooter; a standard two-wheeled scooter with an electric motor built in to assist the rider with additional propulsion.

First mile and last mile

A term applied to the first and final stage of the journey in which people or goods travel to a broad range of origins or destinations. An example of a last-mile journey is the trip made between a train station and the final destination of a shopping centre or place of work.


A collection of vehicles. This may describe all vehicles within NSW or the vehicles of an organisation, transport company or service.

Flexible transport

Transport services that are run based on the demands of individual customers, rather than a fixed timetable or route. See also ‘on demand’.


Goods or cargo transported by truck, light commercial vehicles (such as vans and utes), cycle couriers, rail, aircraft or ship.

Freight as a Service

Similar to Mobility as a Service, this is a business model whereby on-demand and ridesharing concepts formulate different procedures for the supply of goods to customers, which is accessed through a single account and booking interface.

Global gateway city

A city that provide state-level services and facilities to support a broad population catchment, while also having international connections through its airport and/or port. Canberra, Greater Sydney, Greater Newcastle and the Gold Coast are global gateway cities that support NSW.

Greater Newcastle

The area comprising five local government areas of Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens.

Greater Parramatta

Greater Parramatta is at the core of the Central River City, encompassing Parramatta CBD, North Parramatta and Westmead, connected via Parramatta Park.

Greater Sydney

The 33 local government areas of Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, City of Sydney, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, Northern Beaches, North Sydney, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland, The Hills, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly and Woollahra.

Greater Sydney Commission

An independent cross-governmental agency responsible for leading the metropolitan planning for the Greater Sydney Region.

Hub and spoke

A transport network model that provides connections (spokes) from and between key centres (hubs). The spokes link to different hubs across an area, rather than focussing on one key hub.

Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)

An independent NSW regulator that reviews and provides advice on the pricing of services, such as water, electricity, gas, local government and public transport. IPART can also investigate both policy and economic matters at the request of the NSW Government.

Infrastructure NSW

An independent statutory agency responsible for assisting the NSW Government with identifying and prioritising the delivery of critical public infrastructure for NSW.

Infrastructure project

Projects that deliver physical infrastructure including roads, bridges, pavements, earthworks, intelligent transport systems (ITS), wharves, light rail, traffic signals and safety improvements. 


Any action to address a transport problem. It could consist of an investment (capital/infrastructure) option, or a reform (non-investment/non-infrastructure) option. The term ‘project’ is often used for such actions but is limited by a perceived association with investment or infrastructure.

Inland Rail

A proposed 1,700-kilometre freight rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Intelligent speed adaptation (ISA)

Advanced systems that assist drivers to stick to the speed limit. GPS technology linked to a speed zone database allows the vehicle to ‘know’ its location and the speed limit on that road. The ISA system provides visual and auditory feedback to the driver if the vehicle exceeds the speed limit.

Intelligent Transport System (ITS)

The application of computing, electronics, information technology and communications to solve transport problems. Transport will review and implement Intelligent Transport Systems for managing connected vehicles and infrastructure, where it is cost effective to do so.

An example is Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITSs). CITSs allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure, enable greater safety, and can optimise the management of pedestrian movement and vehicle traffic.


A facility to transfer from one mode of transport or one transport service to another. For example, a rail station with an adjoining bus facility.

Intermodal terminal

An intermodal terminal is an area of land used to transfer freight between at least two modes of transport. It is typically used to describe the transfer of international shipping containers from road to rail and vice versa.


For the purposes of this document, the term journey refers to the door-to-door movements of a customer through the transport system. A journey may include several sections, or trips, and use more than one mode of transport.


A state or other area in which a particular court and system of laws has authority

Land use planning

The organisation of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing physical and economic efficiency, social inclusion, the protection of environmental values, amenity, and health and wellbeing outcomes, for urban and rural communities.

Light rail

An urban railway transportation system using vehicles that are capable of sharing streets with vehicular traffic and pedestrians, but may also be operating on an exclusive right-of-way, such as a segregated rail corridor, tunnel or elevated structure.


The term ‘liveability’ is used in land use planning to focus on quality of life for people within a given area, considering social, economic and environmental factors. It encompasses the impact of the built environment on human health and community wellbeing.

Machine learning

A form of artificial intelligence in which a computer system is fed a large volume of information about how people move or the transport system operates and then analyses this information to determine patterns. These patterns are then tested against new data to be measured and improved (allowing the machine to ‘learn’).

Mass transit

High-capacity public transport services between major centres on fixed routes. Mass transit will typically be used on NSW’s busiest public transport corridors to quickly and efficiently move a large number of customers.


An urban railway transportation system that is associated with high capacity and high frequency (typically turn-up-and-go, rather than timetabled) and greater automation.

Metropolis of three cities

The Greater Sydney Commission’s vision for Greater Sydney, as introduced in the Greater Sydney Region Plan: A Metropolis of Three Cities.


Lightweight vehicles such as bicycles, scooters or skateboards, as well as lightweight electric vehicles such as e-bikes or e-scooters.


The ability to move or be moved easily and without constraint.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

A business model for customers to access transport services in which customers can use a single account and booking interface to access a broad range of transport modes, none of which the customer owns. Examples would be allowing a customer to access public transport, car sharing and bike sharing all using the same system.


The type of vehicle or method used for a trip. For example train, bus, light rail, car, motorbike, bicycle, ferry or walking.

Mode share

The proportion of overall trips that are taken on a particular mode.


Strategically significant multi-lane roads that move people and goods rapidly over long distances.


The movement of people and goods on the transport network.

Movement and Place Framework

A framework for planning, designing and operating our road network based on a ‘one road network’ approach. It considers how different parts of the network perform different functions – moving people and goods and being places for people, particularly in centres.

Movement corridors

Places that provide safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods between regions and strategic centres.

Net-zero emissions

The aspirational greenhouse gas emission level that the NSW Government has targeted to achieve by the year 2050. Net-zero emissions means NSW emissions will be balanced by carbon storage and other reduction strategies.

NSW Transport cluster

A group of agencies consisting of Transport for NSW, the operating agencies of Sydney Trains, NSW Trains, and the State Transit Authority, the state’s private transport operators, a number of project delivery offices for major transport projects, and the Port Authority of NSW.

On demand

Transport services that are responsive to the demands of individual customers, rather than a fixed timetable or route. They can provide new or improved coverage to areas where traditional public transport is difficult to provide. They may act as feeder services to stronger public transport corridors.


Travel periods outside of the morning or afternoon peak periods.

Open data

Data or information that is provided publicly to be freely accessed, used, shared or modified by anyone, for any use.


Factoring variables and different scenarios into project planning and design.

Outer metropolitan 

An area encompassing the local government areas of Shellharbour, Wollongong, Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens.


Number of customers using a transport service during a particular period.

Personal mobility devices

Small, motorised devices designed to transport individuals.

Pinch points

Traffic congestion points, intersections or short lengths of road at which a traffic bottleneck exists slowing down the broader network. 

Place plan

Plan to deliver an integrated transport network to improve access to, from or within key places or centres by all modes.

It is the aim of the Movement and Place Framework to improve the function of transport corridors to enhance the amenity of places. It will include the development of a walking and cycling network, identifying the missing links and initiatives for behaviour change to support more sustainable travel options.

Place plans will also include travel demand management policies and tools to support travel, such as car sharing and to assist workers and employers better manage travel demand.

Place making

Refers to the development and management of the built environment to influence the character or experience of places. Successful place making either preserves or enhances the character of our public spaces, making these more accessible, attractive, comfortable and safe.

Point to point

Transport services that go directly from a passenger’s origin to their destination. Aside from private cars, taxis and ridesharing services (Uber, Lyft) are the most common point-to-point transport modes.


A geographical area with boundaries determined by land use. For example, an area where there is an agglomeration of warehouses may be termed a freight precinct.


A group of related or similar projects managed in a coordinated way to maximise benefits and gain control not available if managing the projects separately.


A temporary organisation of people and resources to deliver a defined set of benefits designed to resolve an identified problem. Projects are typically delivered in a defined time period, on a defined site, in accordance with an agreed business case (including approved asset management plans).

Private vehicles

Passenger vehicles, motorcycles and trucks, owned and operated by those with a driving license and appropriate registration.

Real-time information

Information about the status of the transport network and services that is completely live or has a lag of less than a minute or two. Real-time analytics refers to analysis that is performed on real-time data (generally automatically and without input from a human analyst) and is then used to make decisions or take action immediately.

Regional NSW

The area of NSW outside Greater Sydney. It includes the nine regions of Central Coast, Hunter, North Coast, New England North West, Central West and Orana, Far West, Riverina Murray, South East and Tablelands, and Illawarra-Shoalhaven.


The ability of infrastructure systems and services to withstand climate, weather and catastrophic events.

Satellite cities

The cities Wollongong and Gosford that form part of the conurbation of Greater Sydney.

Service (or transport service)

Service refers to transport services, generally public transport services. Examples include trains, buses, light rail and ferries. Services might also include shuttle buses and a range of privately operated but publicly accessible transport types.

Shared vehicles

Vehicles, such as cars or bicycles, made available for shared use to individuals on a very short-term basis.

Sharing schemes

Private transport modes, especially cars and bikes, where the assets are utilised among several users, none of whom solely own the asset.

Smart infrastructure

Infrastructure, such as transport, public spaces or health solutions, which uses data gathered through a network of sensors and technologies embedded in the built and natural environment, designed to support place-based smart interventions.

Smart motorway

Motorways that use embedded sensors, analytics and customer feedback tools, to actively manage congestion and safety and respond to traffic incidents.

Social inclusion

The process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society – improving the ability, opportunity and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity or circumstance.

State Infrastructure Strategy

The State Infrastructure Strategy, developed by Infrastructure NSW, provides the NSW Government with independent advice on the infrastructure needs of the State over the next 20 years.

Strategic centre

A location that has a high proportion of knowledge-intensive jobs and/or existing or proposed major transport gateways. 


A visualisation of a street, including the road, adjoining buildings, footpaths, street furniture, trees and open spaces. 

Supporting plans

More detailed issues-based or place-based planning documents that will support the implementation of Future Transport 2056.

Sustainable procurement

A strategic procurement practice to generate environmental and social benefits beyond the goods and services required. 

Three cities of Greater Sydney

The three cities envisaged by the Greater Sydney Commission are the established Eastern Harbour City, the developing Central River City and emerging Western Parkland City in and around the new airport. Each of these three cities will have their own unique identity and each must be planned to maximise liveability, productivity and sustainability.

Third-rail trams

Light rail or trams that use a third rail, which provides power to the vehicle as it moves along the light rail line. 

Transport disadvantage

Describes a result when certain factors, such as language, age, ability and cost, result in less choice for when, where and how customers travel.

Towards Zero

A vision outlined in the Road Safety Plan 2021 that aims to have a NSW transport network with zero trauma by 2056.

Transport for NSW (Transport)

The statutory authority of the New South Wales Government, responsible for managing transport services in New South Wales.

Transport for NSW Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 - 2021

An inaugural Transport release that acknowledges and pays respect to the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as custodians of the lands where we work. The Reconciliation Action Plan demonstrates Transport’s commitment to working towards reconciliation both within Transport and in communities across NSW. 

Transport hub

A facility designed for transitioning between different modes, such as a major bus stop or train station. Transport hubs for freight include freight rail yards, intermodal terminals, seaports or truck terminals. Major airports are also considered transport hubs.


Physical or mental injuries that require medical attention.

Travel Demand Management (TDM)

A range of initiatives to reduce car dependence and manage travel demand, with the objective of moderating traffic growth by encouraging people to reduce car use and maximise the capacity of the existing road network.

Travel choices

A Transport for NSW behavioural change initiative to help manage demand on the transport network in response to capacity constraints or disruption. It involves helping individuals and organisations prepare for and adapt to changes on the transport network.


Services with frequency equal to or under five minutes, requiring little to no travel planning.

Urban renewal

A planned approach to the improvement and rehabilitation of city areas with new infrastructure, improved services, and renovation or reconstruction of housing and public works.


A ute is a vehicle that is designed to travel over rough ground. Ute is an abbreviation for ' utility vehicle'.

Visitor economy

The tourism industry in NSW and the economic activity that it produces. 

Western Parkland City

One of the three cities of the Greater Sydney metropolis, anchored by the metropolitan city cluster of Western Sydney Airport, the Aerotropolis, Liverpool, Greater Penrith and Campbelltown-Macarthur in the Western City District.

Western Sydney Airport

The designated and abbreviated name for the second Sydney airport – Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport – located in Badgerys Creek.

Whole-of-life costs

The total cost of a particular item or service, from initial conceptualisation through to disposal.

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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