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Our customers and communities

Future Transport Strategy

Who are our customers?

Our public transport customers

Public transport customers are seeking convenient, reliable and safe public transport options. More than 737 million trips are taken on the NSW public transport network each year, with public transport providing a sustainable and convenient travel option across NSW for tourists and residents alike.

Public transport customers will benefit from increasingly available real-time information that supports a simple to understand, easy to use and personalised public transport system. Customers will compare travel times across transport modes in real-time, to make choices about how to reach their destination. Greater information availability also means that in times of disruption or major incidents, we are able to communicate and re-route customers to minimise impact on them.

Metropolitan public transport customers will benefit from a shift towards turn-up-and-go services across Greater Sydney and between its three cities, with turn-up-and-go services already provided by Sydney Metro and light rail services. This is supported by Transport for NSW’s ambition for 30-minute access for customers to their nearest metropolitan or strategic centre by public transport, walking or cycling, seven days a week.

For regional NSW, the emphasis will be on creating a transport system that provides greater coverage across NSW and gives customers more travel options, for both local and longer distance trips. This includes day-return regional centre connectivity for expanded geographical catchments, and same-day connectivity to global gateway or capital cities for all locations in NSW on public transport options, such as bus, coach and rail. On demand bus services are also being introduced in some regional centres to deliver better value-for-money services and increased public transport patronage.

Transport for NSW is working to improve its public transport network by modernising and investing in the rail network, including the L2 Randwick, L3 Kingsford, and Parramatta light rail lines, a new Sydney Metro network, and a significant upgrade of rolling stock with the New Intercity Fleet (NIF), Regional Rail Fleet and Waratah trains.

Transport for NSW is deploying a Digital Systems Program, which modernises railway signalling by negating the need for trackside infrastructure and replacing it with a digital railway. This will be rolled out across Greater Sydney between now and mid-2030 and will enable us to track train position and speed in real time, run more trains and more services, and improve network performance driving a shift in focus from performance measures based on train scheduling to getting the customer there on time.

Bus services are also being upgraded benefitting regional cities around NSW. Hundreds of additional weekly bus services and more travel choices are being introduced through programs such as the 16 Regional Cities. The delivery of major initiatives across regional NSW will continue to improve journeys for regional customers, including the Fast Rail Network Strategy and Regional Rail Fleet.


Our walking and cycling customers

We will support place amenity and improve safety, access and inclusion through our walking and cycling networks

Our walking and cycling customers require, safe, connected and convenient infrastructure to enable them to walk or cycle more regularly.

More people walking and cycling for short, everyday trips can improve transport network outcomes overall, in addition to delivering positive health and wellbeing, productivity, place, sustainability and environmental outcomes across NSW communities.

Two in five adults in NSW do not meet the national recommendations for physical activity – and for children, rates of physical inactivity are higher, with three in four not meeting national recommendations. Beyond the health impacts of physical inactivity, there is an economic cost; in Australia the annual productivity loss attributed to physical inactivity is $15.8 billion.

Making cities better places to live is a major focus for the NSW Government. NSW Government agencies work together to integrate planning of land use, transport networks and the built environment to create a sense of ‘place’ – amenable and walkable public spaces and streetscapes that support a range of activities, communities and social interaction.

Encouraging walking and cycling can support place amenity by enabling access to these destinations by space-efficient modes and reducing the incentive to travel by private car. To increase the number of people walking and cycling, we need to deliver safe, well-connected and accessible routes from door-to-door that prioritise travel by these modes to local destinations, such as centres, jobs, services, schools, public transport and parks. Appropriate walking and cycling infrastructure can support more short trips to be taken by bicycle, or other forms of approved micromobility devices, as well as walking.


Future directions to investigate:

  • Physically separate different road user groups with an expanded network of bus lanes, cycleways and freight priority where possible.

  • Incorporate pedestrians and bike riders needs at the planning, design and construction stages for all new and re-purposed road asset projects. 

  • Improve direct, customer-based assistance, information and wayfinding products.

  • Improve accessibility by providing road environments that support the safe use of bicycles and approved micromobility devices to assist with short journeys within centres and to connect people with public transport.

  • Improve multimodal interchanges, particularly in regional NSW, so customers can more easily connect to flexible services and experience seamless and reliable journeys. 

  • Plan centres with a greater focus on walking and cycling, as well as public transport priority options.

  • Complete walking and cycling networks to and within centres and invest in safe, direct and continuous green corridor connections.

  • Continue rolling out secure bike storage across the network at selected railway stations.

  • Continue providing education campaigns for bike riders and pedestrians that encourage behaviours such as wearing helmets when cycling and safely crossing roads, especially for children and families.

  • Encourage customers to use the transport system differently by shifting to walking, cycling or public transport and traveling outside the peaks to reduce congestion and channel demand where there is capacity


Our maritime customers

We will manage our maritime customers’ needs to ensure continued economic growth, safety, access and sustainability

Our maritime customers include commercial and regional ports, commercial vessel and ferry operators, maritime businesses, recreational and tourist waterways users, maritime services and Defence. As the population grows, so does the demand for maritime activities, foreshore land and access to waterways. To deliver for customers and the community, we must balance support for commerce, sustainability and recreation, and protect the environmental and cultural significance of our waterways. 

The three largest commercial ports of Port Botany, Port of Newcastle and Port Kembla are NSW’s gateway for international trade and play a major role in the NSW economy. The commercial ports, as both freight and maritime customers, are also considered in the sections below. 

These ports are privately operated under long-term leases by NSW Ports (Botany and Kembla) and the Port of Newcastle. Together, the ports facilitate NSW’s exports and imports of grain, coal, containerised cargo, bulk liquids, gas, motor vehicles, dry bulk and general cargo. See the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023.

Sydney Harbour is home to many of our diverse maritime customers and is a working harbour that supports the movement of construction materials, and staging for major construction projects, fuel importation, commercial vessels servicing and contractors. The harbour is used by many key customers, including cruise ships, ferries, charter and recreational vessels and defence, which are both water and land based. The Wharf Access Policy is key in managing commercial vessel operator access to government wharves.

Within NSW there are over 240,000 registered recreational vessels and 850,000 licensed recreational fishers. The safety of our recreational customers upon our waterways is essential and our long-term vision is to achieve zero fatalities and zero serious injuries by 2056 through initiatives identified in our Maritime Safety Plan 2017–2021.

NSW’s 29 commercial ports and coastal harbours are places for commerce, ferries, cruising, marine services, commercial fishing, tourism and the community. We identified our customers’ needs through Regional Boating Plans, which informed the NSW Maritime Infrastructure Plan 2019-2024, to deliver prioritised investments in infrastructure, including dredging, to deliver the greatest benefits to recreational boaters, commercial fishers and the tourism industry.

As a member of the Marine Estate Management Authority, Transport for NSW works with partners across government to enable safe and sustainable boating through initiatives identified in the Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028.

Future technology will play a role in providing more personalised information for customers wanting to access our waterways and creating a safer and more environmentally sustainable marine environment by enabling innovative solutions, such as autonomous and electric vessels. 

Future directions to investigate:

Our customers will have increased access to the foreshore and waterways, with commercial activities strengthened to enable the continued sustainable use of built and natural assets. Future directions include:

  • Develop a long-term maritime strategy to provide coordinated direction on a range of identified initiatives supporting customers.
  • Investigate the enhancement of data collection and analysis to strengthen our understanding of the use of maritime land and waterways for commercial and recreational purposes, to inform infrastructure investment and management.
  • Balance demand for foreshore land between maritime and non-maritime uses while facilitating working harbour functions across NSW.
  • Manage the increased demand for maritime activities by enhancing the regulatory environment and reviewing the governance arrangements to support these activities.
  • Embed the 23 coastal harbours into Transport for NSW maritime strategy and planning.
  • Investigate options to further improve safety outcomes, environmental protection, and access to and on the water, in consultation with maritime customers and local councils.
  • Develop a long-term strategy covering all government-contracted ferry services, fleet replacement, wharf access and berthing needs.
  • Investigate future technology safety initiatives for maritime customers to deliver our Towards Zero vision.
  • Improve information to our maritime customers, including foreshore access, maritime wayfinding, bar crossings, weather and condition warnings.
  • Investigate future technology initiatives to adapt to changing climate, including increasing sea levels, storm impacts and flooding events.
  • Develop a maritime heritage strategy, considering the natural and built environments, and balancing maritime customer needs and the wider community.
  • Investigate and embed future technologies to support our maritime customers, including zero-emission vessels, design advancements and increased automation including safety systems, to reduce the impact of maritime activities on the environment.

See how we are supporting our maritime customers in the Maritime Infrastructure Plan 2018.


Our road customers

We will meet the changing needs of road customers to ensure safe, direct and timely journeys

Our road network is the State’s largest asset, carrying the majority of customers and freight, including cars, buses, trucks, pedestrians and bike riders. To move the increasing number of people and goods, we must respond to the changing needs of road customers. 

We need to provide safe roads and save speed settings, promote safe speeds, encourage the use of the safest vehicles, ensure appropriate road rules continue to be in place, and encourage safe road use, as we move towards a zero trauma network by 2056 through initiatives under the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021.

The development and introduction of enhanced safety features in vehicles that help to prevent crashes and reduce the crash outcomes, and the development of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) over the coming years, will bring about different opportunities for customers and service providers. The NSW Government is working with industry to incentivise the use of safety technologies in higher productivity vehicles, such as the use of performance based standards (PBS) vehicles that are equipped with enhanced safety features to transport construction materials across Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. Automation is also expected to increase safety and reduce congestion and environmental impacts, particularly if used for shared vehicles. 

The ever-increasing coverage, capacity, variety and speed of wireless communication technologies and connected devices will allow vehicles and infrastructure to communicate with each other to improve the quality and safety of customer journeys. ‘Smart’ roads will improve the management of roads for our customers, including users of city-shaping bus services, as real-time data is used to manage the network and to help avoid congestion, incidents, scheduled maintenance and other events.

Integrating the Movement and Place Framework into speed zone decision making allows the alignment of speed limits with road function and surrounding land uses, delivering benefits to both road safety and the place qualities of our urban areas.

Future directions to investigate:

  • Provide better road connections that support a hub-and-spoke network between key centres, and are safe and resilient to extreme weather events, particularly in regional and outer metropolitan NSW.
  • Prioritise efficient vehicles, taking into account the type of corridor, customer mix and the importance of local spaces.
  • Physically separate different road user groups with an expanded network of bus lanes, bicycle lanes, and freight priority, where possible.
  • Deliver ‘smart’ roads and work with industry and innovators on new technologies that can improve safety and the road-user experience.
  • Incorporate safety measures at the planning, design and construction stages for all new road and road renewal projects.
  • Work with the Australian Government to fast track vehicle safety features into the Australian market consistent with timeframes adopted in world leading jurisdictions.
  • Apply the Movement and Place Framework approach to support better places and provide connectivity and access for people and goods.
  • Continue to explore wireless communication technologies, to allow heavy vehicles and infrastructure to communicate with each other, to improve the safety and efficiency of freight corridors.
  • Continue to embed and prioritise road safety in our major projects, to deliver future transport interchanges that are safely integrated and connected to the existing network.

Our freight customers

A market for freight pathways will benefit our freight customers and support innovation

Freight is worth $66 billion to the NSW economy each year and our freight customers are major partners in securing the social and economic prosperity of NSW. Freight customers as well as customers of the wider transport system and communities value safety, productivity and sustainability as well as certainty which drives business decisions and underpins continued investment and innovation.

The NSW Freight and Ports Plan sets out a plan for action from 2018 to 2023. The plan is a call to action for government and industry to work together to make the freight system safer, more productive and more sustainable for the benefit of industry, customers and communities across NSW.

The NSW Freight and Ports Plan has five objectives:

  • Increased economic growth – by providing confidence and certainty that encourages continued investment in the freight industry. 
  • Increased efficiency, connectivity and access – by improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure and ensuring greater connectivity and access along key freight routes. 
  • Greater freight capacity – by maximising infrastructure investment and increasing land use capacity to accommodate growth.
  • Improved safety – by creating a safer freight supply chain involving safe networks, safe transport, safe speeds and a safer environment for people.
  • Enhanced sustainability – by developing a sustainable supply chain that delivers benefits to our environment and continued operations into the future.


What are the needs of our freight customers?

Freight customers need a reliable transport network that enables them to move freight safely, productively and sustainably. Freight customers also need government to develop and implement strategies and policies that are clear, consistent, and underpin the imperatives of safer, more productive and more sustainable movement of freight across all modes.


How customer needs are changing

Over the last few years there has been significant growth in online shopping and home delivery services.  COVID-19 has resulted in changing travel patterns and an acceleration in the demand for home delivery services. This in turn is driving change within the freight sector.  It is yet to be seen whether there will also be a longer-term change in consumer demand for the types and origin of goods that will impact supply chains and movement of goods. 

Freight and logistics operators are increasingly harnessing data and analytics to achieve efficiencies that make them competitive on a local and international level.  This will allow customer expectations for rapid, same-day or even next-hour deliveries to be met. Direct business-to-consumer delivery models and on-demand service models will blur the lines between traditional freight companies and retail businesses, and lead to innovative partnerships. 

As the last-mile freight task increases and becomes more dispersed in line with consumer demand, it will change travel patterns for the movement of goods, particularly on the road network. In Greater Sydney, the NSW Government in collaboration with councils and industry partners, is delivering innovative approaches for last-mile logistics and improving the safety and productivity of last-mile deliveries. The NSW Government is also working with local councils and industry in regional NSW to facilitate first- and last-mile access to the farm gate, to support the safe and productive movement of agricultural products.

Increasingly the freight industry is turning to automation and the use of higher productivity vehicles on road and high efficiency rollingstock on rail to maximise productivity.  Automation will drive improvement of freight operations across ports and distribution centres, as freight customers seek expedited deliveries, as well as improved reliability, productivity, and safety. Industry has already delivered and is planning for new fully automated IMEX intermodal facilities and distribution centres at key strategic locations such as Moorebank.

Higher productivity and efficiency is not however being achieved at the expense of safety and sustainability. The NSW Government is working with industry to incentivise the use of safety technologies in higher productivity vehicles, such as the use of performance-based standards (PBS) vehicles that are equipped with enhanced safety features to transport construction materials across Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong.  In the future the development of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), while presenting some significant challenges to overcome, will further enhance productivity, safety and sustainability and bring about different opportunities for customers and service providers.

The use of ‘high productivity vehicles’ fitted with satellite tracking will also provide road managers with insights into the demands on their road networks and inform congestion management. The implementation of advanced train control systems incorporating in-cab signalling systems will lead to better utilisation of rail capacity and improved scheduling for both passengers and freight. TfNSW is working with the Australian Rail Track Corporation to deliver interoperability between the various systems and ensure seamless freight rail operations across the country.

With more last-mile deliveries, as well as a growing traditional container and bulk freight task, we will need an efficient, ‘smart’ freight network. More effective freight corridor planning, including physical separation where appropriate, and support for intelligent transport systems (ITS), cooperative-ITS technology, connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), and electric vehicles, will be increasingly important to freight customers and essential to growing the NSW economy. 

The opening of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport in 2026 will significantly expand capacity in the air freight sector. The airport will operate 24/7 and will be an important freight hub for NSW, as it will enable dedicated overnight freight movements that are currently unable to land at Sydney Airport due to curfew restrictions, and improve access for cargo destined for Western Sydney logistics centres. The airport will improve links to international markets for producers across Greater Sydney and beyond, into regional NSW, supporting the export of higher value, fresh produce and perishable products. Integration of the airport with surrounding freight and logistics lands, including the Integrated Logistics Hub and proposed Agribusiness Precinct, will deliver supply chain and agglomeration efficiencies for whole of the NSW economy.

Inefficiencies in the NSW empty-container supply chain result in significant additional costs and delays for both imports and exports. The Empty Container Supply Chain Study identified that almost $50 million in costs could be avoided through a suite of actions, including technology upgrades, improved data sharing, increased empty container park capacity, and greater utilisation of rail. Transport is leading the Empty Container Working Group, a committee made up of key stakeholders in the empty container supply chain, to identify challenges and industry led voluntary opportunities to improve the efficiency and resilience of the broader container supply chain.

In focus

Western Sydney IMT and the Mamre Road precinct

Collaboration between Transport for NSW and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has identified and protected the site of a future Western Sydney Intermodal Terminal (hatched area on the figure below) in the Mamre Road Precinct in the Western Parkland City.

Located on the proposed Western Sydney Freight Line, the site offers a unique opportunity to deliver an intermodal terminal that is integrated with the adjoining industrial precinct through a dedicated freight road network. This network will provide access into the recently rezoned industrial lots that will serve the freight and logistics industry. It offers the opportunity to utilise autonomous vehicles and removes the need to use public roads for container transfers within the precinct.

The intermodal terminal will also be strategically located in close proximity to the existing freight and logistics lands in the Broader Western Sydney Employment Area (around Eastern Creek and Erskine Park) and the developing freight activities associated with Western Sydney Airport. This will mean streamlined and expedited distribution of import containers to the warehouses and distribution centres located close by.

Development of the Western Sydney Freight Line, the Mamre Road precinct and the intermodal terminal will enable 24/7 movement of containers between the developing freight and logistics lands in the Western Parkland City.

The development of the Mamre Road precinct will complement the development of the freight and agribusiness precincts around the Aerotropolis and the Western Sydney Airport. Infrastructure integration coupled with the use of digital systems to streamline documentation and reduce red tape will see significant improvements in efficiency and reductions in costs to importers and exporters alike.

Future directions to investigate

  • Continue to create or optimise road networks and streamline access to those networks to accommodate safer and more productive, higher productivity freight vehicles (HPVs).
  • Continue to work with the freight rail industry to increase volumes of freight on rail and improve sustainability by reducing operational noise impacts.
  • Maximise the long-term capacity and performance of the State’s three major ports through the development of a strategic framework that underpins efficiency gains in landside container operations
  • Integrate transport and land use planning to protect key freight and logistics places and corridors from encroachment in urban areas.
  • Continue to work with the Australian Government, National Transport Commission (NTC) and other jurisdictions on road pricing as part of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform program.
  • Continue to work with industry to expand intermodal rail capacity, particularly in Western Sydney.
  • Maximise the benefits to NSW of Inland Rail and improve east-west connections to support regional export supply chains.
  • Continue to develop freight data sets for industry and government that support evidence-based policy, improve transparency and accountability, and provide a platform for innovation.
  • Facilitate greater freight rail access through improved access for higher productivity rolling stock.
  • Explore innovative financing and investment strategies to facilitate the expedited delivery of freight infrastructure.

  • In consultation with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, investigate the use of technology and telematics linking vehicle mass and performance to infrastructure capacity to provide bespoke vehicle and task-specific networks in real time.

  • Investigate the potential for sharing real-time data between Transport and industry, to enable end-to-end freight connectivity.

  • Investigate the development of a freight community system to streamline supply-chain processes and reduce red tape.

  • Continue to explore road safety and traffic efficiency technology opportunities for the freight sector.

  • Maximise road and rail freight access to the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, including investigating the potential for an air freight-focused intermodal terminal.

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