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Future mobility and services

Future Transport Strategy

World-class mass transit

Real-time connectivity and automation makes the emergence of more responsive, capable, ‘smart’ systems possible

Customers can already use apps to receive information in real time and plan their trips. Within Greater Sydney they can also use electronic ticketing via the Opal card and now their credit or debit card, to provide a seamless journey across transport modes.

While the network will continue to require employees to physically manage and attend systems and deliver customer services, greater automation will deliver safety benefits by reducing the risk of human error, and using computerised failure detection and response systems. Automated systems also offer more predictable running times and energy optimisation. 

Transport’s intelligent systems and decision engines will support the connected and automated transit system by investing in a multi-mode Intelligent Congestion Management Program, predicting anomalies and customer movements across the day, and shaping how services are delivered to provide a better customer experience. These decision engines use artificial intelligence and machine learning to immediately provide the most relevant and actionable insights, and to focus on optimising service delivery and network management. 

The Sydney Metro North West – opened in May 2019 – is Australia’s first fully-automated rail network, reflecting global trends. Its turn-up-and-go services run from Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north-west to Chatswood, using a new generation of fully-automated metro trains that run every four minutes during the peak. Customers were quick to embrace Sydney Metro North West, with more than 12 million customer journeys in its first six months of operation.

The Sydney Metro network will eventually extend all the way from the north-west, under Sydney Harbour, through new underground stations in the CBD and beyond to the south-west, known as the Sydney Metro City & South West, as well as extending west to Parramatta. Known as Sydney Metro West. Six metro stations have also been confirmed for construction on the Sydney Metro - Western Sydney Airport Line. 

Advances in communication and control systems will create opportunities to further improve capacity on our existing network; an approach expected to be more cost effective than building additional infrastructure.

We need to ensure the safe and effective adoption of new technologies, ensuring they contribute to our overall vision for transport.

Using technology also allows us to get more out of existing assets. To improve efficiency and reduce travel times on the road network, we are investing in ‘smart motorways’, which use complementary technologies to monitor traffic conditions, manage congestion and respond to incidents in real time. The NSW Government is investing $600 million to build the M4 Smart Motorway, which introduces intelligent technology to the M4 Motorway between Pitt Street in Mays Hill and Mulgoa Road in Penrith, with a view to rolling out smart networks on all NSW motorways in the future. The M4 Motorway began a trial period in November 2020, with all parts of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) switched on in stages to allow motorists time to get familiar with the new driving conditions.

NSW has also adopted new light rail technology to reduce the impact of trams in Newcastle and Sydney city centres, with battery powered trams in Newcastle and third-rail trams on the CBD sections of Sydney’s new lines. 

We are working with industry partners to test technologies, to understand their risks and benefits, better engage with customers on understanding what these technologies will mean for how they use the network, and to learn how we can harness technology to improve customer outcomes in Greater Sydney and regional communities.


Future directions to investigate

NSW will continue to explore automation to achieve safety and efficiency benefits and service improvements for customers. We will: 

  • Enable new and upgraded physical and digital assets to support new technologies and adapt to future developments.
  • Continue to consider opportunities for the latest public transport automation advancements in NSW.
  • Implement intelligent traffic management methods to improve road network efficiency.
  • Deliver ‘smart motorways’ on all NSW motorways.
  • Continuing to advocate for adoption of the latest life-saving vehicle safety technologies in Australia, within the same timeframe as Europe.
  • Continue to implement multi-modal intelligent congestion management capabilities.

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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