Skip to main content

Our customers and communities

Future Transport Strategy

Supporting diverse customer needs

How our transport network supports access, inclusion and participation

Access and inclusion are important outcomes for all of our customers, regardless of their age, ability, where they live and their personal circumstances.

Integrated planning for safe and accessible travel by walking, private vehicle, catching public or flexible transport, and using assisted transport services will be essential to support older people, people living with disability and others with mobility constraints. Accessible transport helps people to remain healthy, active and independent.

Children and young people need access to safe, accessible and affordable transport. Although school bus travel is subsidised, many children are still unable to participate in excursions and sporting, social and cultural activities that can supplement their education and promote their health.

Transport is delivering a number of initiatives that seek to promote access, inclusion and participation for the whole community. These initiatives include:

  • Engaging with Aboriginal communities across NSW to improve their access to transport services and available subsidies.
  • Providing innovative mobility access solutions for remote and regional areas, especially for customers using wheelchairs.
  • Continuing to review transport passes, subsidies and schemes to improve customer experience and operational efficiency.

In addition to integrating access and inclusion principles in the Greater Sydney and regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plans, Future Transport 2056 is supported by the following plans that address access, inclusion and participation; with a focus on people with disability, older people and others, including people who experience transport disadvantage or come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds:

The Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan highlights that the cost of travel can also impact transport access and inclusion. Following recommendations by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), bus fares in regional NSW have been reduced by almost 30 per cent on average. More affordable fares provide equity across NSW and encourage social inclusion.

For the first time, people in regional NSW are now able to purchase a daily ticket that provides them with unlimited travel within certain sections. Eligible concession holders will pay half the adult fare for the daily ticket and the regional excursion daily ticket for pensioners is the same price as the Opal senior pensioner/concession fare. 

Other recommendations from the IPART review will continue to be investigated, including restructuring services to better match emerging needs, including on-demand services.
With technology advances, such as augmented reality, digital identity and artificial intelligence, there will be even greater opportunities to provide more seamless and accessible transport information, services and customer experiences. 

New technologies and big data will be used to better understand and anticipate changing travel needs and expectations across customer groups, target concessions and subsidies more effectively, and develop new services to provide government support where it is most needed.
At the same time there will remain a need to offer information and connectivity to customers who do not have access to mobile or internet technologies, or are uncomfortable using these, which is why face-to-face customer service will continue to be an important part of delivering for our customers. Transport has also recently extended the trial of the Regional Seniors Travel Card, which helps make their trips more affordable and convenient.


Future directions to investigate

  • Continue to work with the Australian Government on the modernisation of Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and support the transport industry to become more accessible and inclusive.
  • Improve service provision for people with little or no access to transport through the development of flexible, on-demand and personalised service models.
  • Review fares and concession policies to ensure support is provided where it is most needed and there is fare parity between metropolitan and regional services.
  • Improve information and wayfinding products that support customer travel planning and decision making.
  • Provide alternative planning, booking and payment methods for people without access to digital platforms, such as mobile and internet technologies.
  • Work closely with the disability and ageing sector to identify barriers and consult on solutions to improve the accessibility of services, including improvements in the engagement with regional and outer metropolitan NSW communities.

Supporting reconciliation and strengthening Aboriginal communities

Future Transport supports OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment), the NSW Government’s plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Transport recognises the importance of connecting, learning and collaborating with Aboriginal peoples and embedding Aboriginal cultural ways of doing and being to strengthen Transport’s reconciliation commitments.

Our Transport Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 outlines a number of priorities to realise our vision for reconciliation, where respect, collaboration and partnership foster greater inclusion, recognition and celebration for Aboriginal peoples across all segments of NSW’s vibrant community.

Future Transport recognises Aboriginal peoples’ need for strong connections to social, professional, sporting, medical, education and employment activities. By investing in transport infrastructure and service improvements, and making use of innovative technology and service delivery models, Transport for NSW will aim to improve transport access to these activities and reduce isolation.

Under Future Transport, respecting and embracing the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples at every stage of investment will help realise the power of transport projects to make great places. As such, Transport is an active participant in the NSW Government’s Local Decision Making Accords responding to community priorities across the State’s nine regional areas and within Greater Sydney.

Through the Reconciliation Action Plan we are committed to working collaboratively with NSW Aboriginal communities and peak bodies to gain the necessary consent to share their storylines, and present these stories in appropriate places. 

The Action Plan outlines our cluster-wide approach to recognising and acknowledging Aboriginal peoples through a range of practical activities that span three pillars – relationships, respect and opportunities.

Transport also has a role to play in supporting employment opportunities, creating jobs and fostering skills, and in ensuring Aboriginal people share in these opportunities, especially regionally, for employment and skills development for Aboriginal communities. The NSW Governments’ Aboriginal Prosperity Framework includes initiatives such as the Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy and Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which align with Transport’s Aboriginal Participation Strategy, and will bring more Aboriginal people and businesses into the business of transport, and enable them to share in the economic and other benefits of the State’s growth. These policies aim to support an estimated 3,000 full-time equivalent employment opportunities for Aboriginal people through NSW Government procurement activities. 

See our Transport Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 – 2022 to read more about how we are working with our Aboriginal communities.


Future directions to investigate

  • Continue to use transport planning and social procurement, including the Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy and Aboriginal Procurement Policy, to help achieve Closing the Gap targets by better connecting Aboriginal communities to employment, education and health services.
  • Continue to implement the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021 actions, to increase access to licensing, safe and legal driving and improve social outcomes by expanding the Driver Licencing Access Program which assists disadvantaged people from communities with lower rates of driver licence attainment to obtain and retain their driver licence, including many Aboriginal communities, some Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities (including refugee and resettlement communities identified by Multicultural NSW), and people from low socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Continue to implement targeted Aboriginal road safety initiatives to reduce injuries and fatalities on NSW roads  which includes child car seat and bike safety programs, provision of more transport options, and developing and implementing an Aboriginal community engagement and capacity building program to support road safety in Aboriginal communities.
  • Continue to improve opportunities for people in Aboriginal communities to access sporting, cultural and social events, as well as meet family and community obligations.
  • Continue to implement Transport for NSW’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 and plan for the next Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • Develop an Aboriginal Arts Strategy to embrace Aboriginal culture and heritage and embed cultural expressions in infrastructure projects and transport services.
  • Develop an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Framework and Aboriginal co-design principles for place making.
  • Work with our industry partners to contribute to the NSW Aboriginal Prosperity Framework and deliver the Transport Aboriginal Participation Strategy.
  • Continue to implement Transport’s Aboriginal Maritime Safety Plan 2020-2022 to reduce the number of Aboriginal fatalities or injuries on the water.


Supporting a world-class travel experience for visitors

NSW is Australia’s top-performing state for tourism. In 2017/18, the sector contributed $42.5 billion to the State economy and employed more than 278,000 people, one of every 14 jobs in the State. The visitor economy is especially important to regional and outer metropolitan NSW, which accommodated 46 per cent of overnight stays in NSW in 2017, and generated $14.9 billion in visitor expenditure.

Recent events, such as COVID-19 and the 2019/20 bushfires, have impacted the tourism industry across NSW, driving a decline in tourism activity and expenditure. However, the NSW tourism industry is resilient and expected to return to being a significant contributor to the NSW economy over the longer term. In the short term, ensuring a safe and reliable transport network to the regions and encouraging domestic travel to make up for the shortfall in international visitors can support the tourism sector and play a key role in revitalising regional economies. This forms part of the road to recovery – one of five strategic pillars that underpin the NSW Government’s recently released Visitor Economy Strategy 2030.

Visitors, whether from overseas, interstate or intrastate, expect services that are accessible, comfortable, easy to find and well connected to popular destinations. They also value wayfinding signage and access to mobile apps that help them plan and pay for seamless journeys.

In the future, visitors will increasingly expect efficient connections between airports, cruise ship terminals, mass transit services, on-demand services, and car and bike rentals. The NSW Government’s Statewide Destination Management Plan and 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW support the need for improved travel between regional centres, cities and international gateways.


Supporting tourism across all modes

Intrastate aviation will continue to be important in connecting visitors to our regions. The intrastate air routes that connect the North Coast holiday destinations of Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are traditionally the busiest on the NSW air network. The new Regional Rail Fleet will also increase the attractiveness and accessibility of rail travel to and from regional and outer metropolitan NSW.

The State is a prime destination for marine tourism. In many coastal, riverside and lakeside communities, particularly in regional areas, visitors are attracted to a range of activities on our waterways. The Maritime Infrastructure Plan is supporting marine tourism in NSW.

Around 85 per cent of domestic visitors and nearly 40 per cent of international visitors self-drive to their destination in NSW. This highlights the importance of the road network to safely facilitate visits and the need for investment in highways and roads, roadside facilities and effective signage. Camping and caravan tourism, which relies on a safe and efficient road network, continues to be popular in NSW, with 4.7 million domestic caravan and camping visitors contributing $2.6 billion to the State’s economy in 2019.

Creating attractive and vibrant places that are safe and well connected to the transport network will not only benefit NSW residents but also attract tourists, boosting the visitor economy. With multiple services across Greater Sydney connecting visitors to key points of interest, transport is essential in delivering NSW’s 24-hour Economy vision for Sydney, which will help attract visitors by enhancing community activity and entertainment, and leveraging Sydney’s global reputation as a world-class cultural and entertainment hub.


Future directions to investigate

  • Improve public transport connections to arrival and departure points, such as airports and cruise terminals.
  • Support the NSW Government’s Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030 and Visitor Economy Strategy 2030.
  • Review the Future Transport 2056 Tourism and Transport Plan to ensure it is responsive to the impacts of the 2020 bushfires and COVID-19.
  • Continue to support and promote safe and sustainable recreational and commercial boating, tourism growth and regional economic development through the strategic approaches set out in the NSW Maritime Safety Plan 2017 - 2021, the NSW Maritime Infrastructure Plan and the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy.
  • Facilitate the development of new smartphone apps that provide a single point of information and allow visitors to purchase products that bundle travel with cultural activities and tourist attractions.
  • Provide clear wayfinding to assist visitors and infrequent transport users to navigate the network easily and seamlessly, including walking and cycling networks.
  • Promote accessible tourism opportunities, including rural rail journeys, and provide accessible roadside facilities.
  • Support the 24-hour Economy initiative to grow a vibrant, safe and diverse 24-hour economy in Sydney, enhancing NSWs standing as a global destination, including pivoting to new maintenance models to support the initiative.

See how we are improving transport for visitors in the Tourism and Transport Plan.

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.

Read more