A Vision for Transport

Transport is an enabler of economic and social activity 
and contributes to long term economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The vision is built on six outcomes:

  • Customer Focused
  • Successful Places
  • A Strong Economy
  • Safety and Performance
  • Accessible Services
  • Sustainability

This chapter sets out the long term vision for mobility and transport provision in NSW. It explains how the customer experience of transport will change and what this means for Greater Sydney and regional NSW.

Future Transport 2056 outlines six state-wide outcomes to guide investment, policy and reform and service provision. They provide a framework for planning and investment aimed at harnessing rapid change and innovation to support a modern, innovative transport network.

Customer Focused

Customer experiences are seamless, interactive and personalised, supported by technology and data

Moving to 'Mobility as a Service' and beyond

The future of mobility is customer-focused, data-enabled and dynamic. In the future, personal mobility packages will bundle traditional ‘modes’ with technology platforms and new service offerings like on-demand, car share, rideshare and smart parking. The NSW Government is already trialling an early form of this technology on the Northern Beaches where carparks at some B-Line bus stops are activated by Opal cards.

In the not too distant future our smartphones will be the gateway for each journey. Customers will make travel choices based on factors that matter most to them – service frequency, cost, emissions, comfort, or travel time.

MaaS is a service model that enables customers to plan and pay for their journeys using a range of services via a single customer interface. It has the potential to enable customers to access integrated, easy-to-understand journeys in a broad market of transport services. In a fully operational service model, the MaaS provider would sell seamless multimodal journeys, offer convenient payment methods such as subscription services, and communicate directly with customers.

Big data refers to the extremely high volume of data we receive each day from the transport network that can be analysed to reveal travel patterns and trends. This information in addition to new technologies will enable service providers to connect with customers, know their preferences, and tailor service offerings in real time.

The investments we make in whole of network information management systems will enable real-time and innovative regional service responses that better use the network. For example, regional customers will access innovative, on-demand services that aggregate similar trips quickly for more efficient travel, connecting them with a range of public, private, and community transport providers offering a mix of services.

Seamless experiences will also connect customers to facilities for active transport such as walking routes, bike paths and bike hire services.

Source: Telematics Wire, 10 February 2016

Successful Places

The liveability, amenity and economic success of communities and places are enhanced by transport

Activating centres with a new Movement and Place framework

Successful places include attractive spaces where people can meet and enjoy their leisure time, such as town squares, libraries and community centres, parks, sportsgrounds and waterways. Being able to access these spaces easily by active or public transport encourages people to be more physically active and increases social interactions in communities.

Centres, both in metropolitan and regional areas, are the places where the majority of jobs and services are located as well as attractions like shops, restaurants and parks. Roads through and around these centres serve an important movement purpose, allowing people travel to and from the centre and move around easily within it. They also serve a place function by operating in a way that allows attractive places for people and strong local economies to develop and thrive.

The Movement and Place framework provides a tool to manage the road network in a way that supports safe, efficient and reliable journeys for people and freight while enhancing the liveability and amenity of places.

The Framework will guide specific corridor and place plans to be developed as supporting plans of Future Transport 2056. A Movement and Place Practitioners Toolkit will be made available to provide guidance to stakeholders involved in planning, designing and operating the road network.

Encouraging active travel (walking and cycling) and using public transport

To encourage more people to use public transport we need to provide better connections, improve service frequency out of peak hours and offer more flexible services. We need to continue expanding the reach and responsiveness of services, while addressing pain points such as overcrowding and congestion.

The delivery and modernisation of infrastructure to allow greater access for people with disabilities and those with limited mobility will also assist in encouraging public transport use by providing a more seamless public transport experience, particularly at interchanges.

One in eight NSW residents ride a bicycle in a typical week.[1] Increasing the number of people using active transport for short trips to their local and city centres will require us to look at safe, well connected infrastructure such as bike paths and walking routes. More people traveling by active transport will improve network outcomes overall in addition to delivering positive health, wellbeing and environmental outcomes.

We know that we need to look at initiatives that support people using active transport for short trips including the provision of safe and accessible footpaths, designed for all ages and abilities with frequent seating and shade. Other factors that encourage active transport include safe pedestrian crossings, lower traffic speeds, safe, separated cycling paths and before and after trip facilities such as secure bicycle storage.

Transport for NSW is already delivering initiatives to increase active transport. As part of Sydney’s Cycling Future program, secure bike storage is being rolled out across the network providing undercover storage at selected railway stations.

[1] Australian Bicycle Council 2017 National Cycling Participation Survey

Strengthening local partnerships

A strong vision supported by sound development and planning decisions will sustain a long term focus on growing the vitality of places and activating emerging cities. The vision will help us improve the accessibility of local communities in Western Sydney and in the regions to areas of major economic opportunity. 

The NSW Government will work with local councils and communities on integrated transport and land use planning and investigate the potential to develop 20 year precinct plans for all strategically important centres and places. The plans will focus on balancing the transport movement needs of the community with high quality urban design that supports community safety, health and wellbeing and enhances community assets and local character.

As part of this, Transport for NSW will proactively work with its service delivery partners, supply chain and local communities to identify ways to reuse or repurpose assets that are life expired to address social challenges in the community, such as homelessness and Aboriginal health and education.

A Strong Economy

The transport system powers NSW’s future $1.3 trillion economy and enables economic activity across the state

A transport system that powers our future $1.3 trillion economy [4]

By 2056, increased automation, freelancing and ‘virtualisation’ and a strong services economy will enable a vibrant, modern economy that creates and supports new industries and jobs.

In the future, NSW will be Australia’s first trillion dollar state economy. Economic productivity will grow as the network moves people more efficiently to jobs centres and provides firms with access to the right workers, skills and customers. Future technology will also enable productivity-enhancing flexibility in the way people work and the times of day they travel. 

Technology will drive new industries – with the World Economic Forum predicting that some 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will hold jobs in the future that do not yet exist.[1]

At the same time, today’s substantial freight task will continue to expand. Our primary industries, which today contribute around $14 billion to State Gross Value Product[2], will continue to grow, strengthening links to global export markets.

By 2056, the state will be served by high performing container ports, with Port Botany and Port Kembla servicing our growing population centres and the Newcastle Port continuing to be our primary coal export facility as it diversifies to enable the export of other commodities. Integrated road and rail logistics chains supported by intermodal terminals and dedicated, high performing freight pathways will connect Greater Sydney with the regions.

‘First and last mile’ freight will be transformed by technology delivering efficiencies in logistics and small parcel movements, incorporating innovative direct-to-consumer deliveries and supporting ‘freight as a service’ models. Advances in technology relating to drones and 3D printing also have the potential to impact supply chains.

[1] The Future of Jobs, Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum, 2016

[2] NSW Primary Industries Performance Data and Insights 2016, Department of Primary Industries

Figure 10 Freight to port

Strengthening our Global Gateways and Satellite Cities

Over the next 40 years, Greater Sydney will grow as a global tourist and skilled worker destination, and as Australia’s gateway to Asia. It will be supported by growth in its three cities – the Eastern Harbour City, the Central River City and the Western Parkland City.

By 2056, economic and housing growth around Greater Sydney will drive integration across the city’s hinterland, establish Gosford and Wollongong as ‘Satellite Cities’ and Newcastle, Canberra and the Gold Coast as ‘Global Gateway Cities’ – the key entry points to NSW. Population and economic growth in these areas will require fast transit connections to Greater Sydney.

[2] NSW Primary Industries Performance Data and Insights 2016, Department of Primary Industries

Connecting people to jobs, goods and services in our cities and regions

The vision for Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities will guide planning, investment and deliver customer outcomes including faster, convenient and reliable travel times to one of the three cities or to the nearest strategic centre. 

The 30 minute city will be one where people can conveniently access jobs and services within 30 minutes by public or active transport, 7 days a week. The vision is based on research that indicates that if people are required to travel more than 90 minutes a day, their quality of life and the liveability of their city is impacted.

Regional cities and centres will be connected to outlying towns and centres by a ‘hub and spoke’ network. They will be centres for health, education, and justice services as well as providing access to employment opportunities and air transport connections.

Towns and villages will offer employment and housing and will continue to be important in attracting domestic and international visitors, bringing job opportunities and economic benefits to rural communities.

Safety and Performance

Every customer enjoys safe travel across a high performing, efficient network

Safety, security and performance are interlinked

Reducing road fatalities is a State Priority. The NSW Government is committed to making NSW roads the safest in the country. However, sadly, the 2017 road toll saw 392 lives lost on our roads[1], 12 more than in 2016. Almost 70 per cent of lives lost happened in regional NSW. Unfortunately, the start to 2018 has seen a number of horrific crashes which further highlights the need to improve the safety of our roads for all customers.

With the release of the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021, we have set a State Priority Target to reduce fatalities by at least 30 per cent on 2008-2010 levels by 2021. In addition to short to medium term goals, we are also setting ambitious long term goals for the safety of the network. Towards 2056, NSW will approach a trauma-free transport network, saving up to 350 lives and 12,000 serious injuries each year and cutting the cost of road trauma to the community by over $7 billion a year in today’s dollars.

The Road Safety Plan is based on leading expert advice and evidence, as well as broad community consultation, on the best ways to prevent and reduce the impact of crashes and reflects the internationally recognised Safe System approach to improving road safety.

Over the next five years the NSW Government will take coordinated action to improve the safety of roads and vehicles, set safer speeds and to ensure safer road user behaviour across six priority areas including:

  • Delivering a new Saving Lives on Country Roads program
  • Strengthening penalties and enforcement to tackle drink and drug driving behaviour, including doubling mobile drug testing to 200,000 tests by 2020
  • Increasing safety for vulnerable road users by providing pedestrian crossings and working with councils to extend 40km/h zones in high pedestrian and local areas
  • Working with the heavy vehicle industry to improve operational safety and increase uptake of safety technology
  • Adopting a new purchasing policy to help make Government fleet vehicles the safest in the country
  • Implementing legislative changes to allow camera based technology to enforce mobile phone use offences, and further analyse the role of distraction in the road toll

Achieving our safety vision will mean ensuring the majority of road travel occurs on 4-5 star roads, the standard informed by Safe System assessments and design principles. These principles identify key safety measures known to reduce road trauma including median and roadside safety barriers, wide centreline audio tactile line marking and traffic calming methods such as 2+1 treatments, which incorporate two lanes in one direction and one lane in the opposite direction, separated by a flexible safety barrier.

New vehicles and smart infrastructure will design trauma out of the network through greater automation and technologies such as Intelligent Speed Adaption (ISA). For example, connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are expected to reduce rates of road trauma caused by human error, improve traffic flow and efficiently manage higher traffic volumes.

City shaping passenger and road corridors will help deliver a safer, more reliable, high performing network. Corridors will be built and upgraded with automated mobility and smart networks, including all NSW Motorways, and will be supported by a developing market of flexible and convenient first and last-mile service providers that enable rapid and seamless connections to these corridors.

Greater separation of major traffic flows will support higher performance and safety with freight bypasses of major regional cities and centres. Improved separation of transport modes will remove interactions that raise both unnecessary safety risks and negative impacts upon efficiency (for example, level crossings).

Transport for NSW will continue to set and influence safety policy and practices through investment and planning decisions as well as industry guidance and standards. It will also continue to articulate safety, security and performance levels through contracts with operators, suppliers and other stakeholders.

[1] provisional figure at 1 January 2018

Figure 11 The Safe System approach

A secure network in the 'Digital Age'

In alignment with the NSW Digital Government Strategy, Transport for NSW is developing strategies to shape the most customer-centric, innovative, digitally-enabled transport system in Australia. This will create exciting opportunities for more digital, interconnected, intelligent, and automated services for our customers.

These transformational changes bring tremendous opportunities and also a greater responsibility and need to protect our transport critical infrastructure and services from evolving cyber threats to keep the network safe and reliable. 

Transport is implementing a cluster-wide cyber uplift program focusing on people, processes and technology which takes into account learnings from the safety culture and governance already in place. The program will continue to evolve to address the highest risk priorities as we go through cluster-wide cyber risk identification activities.

With up to 95% of cyber incidents related to human error, Transport is taking steps to strengthen our human firewall, by engaging across the cluster on cyber security, ensuring everyone understands the role they play in protecting customers and services, and training all staff in how to prevent, recognise, and respond to cyberattacks.

Recognising that a joined up approach is needed to address cyber threats landscape, a cross-cluster Cyber Leadership Board has been formed to govern cyber security initiatives.

Accessible Services

Transport enables everyone to get the most out of life, wherever they live and whatever their age, ability or personal circumstances

Access to transport is fundamentally important for all people in NSW. Yet one in five people who responded to an online survey reported that they cannot travel by private vehicle, and more than two in five reported that they cannot access public transport because they are living with disability, are elderly or live in areas with low or no public transport services.

The NSW Government recognises the importance of delivering high quality transport services to all customers. A set of three supporting plans for Future Transport 2056 will provide details about how we are improving the accessibility of transport services, infrastructure and products.

The first of these to be released is the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2018 to 2022 which explains the achievements and forward actions that are improving access to transport services for people living with disability.

The ways in which our transport services will be tailored to better suit the needs of our older customers so they can maintain active and independent lives will be explained in an Older Persons Transport and Mobility Plan. This plan will set out actions that Transport for NSW will undertake to contribute to the state-wide goals of the NSW Ageing Strategy.

Other barriers to accessing transport include having limited transport options available, especially in remote areas of regional NSW; affordability of services for some individuals and families on low incomes; and difficulty accessing the network for people from some cultural and language groups.

A Social Access Plan will explain ways to increase equitable transport access and reduce transport disadvantage, especially for Aboriginal communities. It has been developed with extensive community consultation throughout NSW and will provide guiding principles aimed at successfully connecting people to opportunities that promote social inclusion.

A fully accessible network that enables barrier-free travel for all

An accessible network will mean more choice for people with mobility constraints and make travel easier for everyone.

The Transport Access Program is an example of the Government working to improve accessibility of the rail network and increase compliance with the federal Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and accompanying disability standards.

In regional NSW, NSW Trainlink services will use a new fleet of accessible trains for intercity and regional travel. In addition, the Country Public Transport Infrastructure Grant Scheme will continue assisting councils with the renewal of the state’s bus stops to provide accessibility and shelter.

In metropolitan areas, new ferries will replace some of the current fleet as they are retired and the Sydney Metro and Sydney Light Rail will be among the first projects to deliver a fully accessible fleet and assets.

All Sydney Metro stations will have safety doors on the edge of platforms and there will be level access between platforms and trains. Carriages will include wheelchair spaces, priority seating and emergency intercoms, as well as multi-purpose areas for prams, luggage and bicycles. The delivery of Sydney Metro will progressively upgrade the 122-year-old railway line transforming stations, like Dulwich Hill, with new lifts and level access between platforms and trains. Customers on the Bankstown Line will see the benefits of station upgrades from 2020.

Over time, the whole transport network will be accessible through the delivery of new assets or by upgrading or repurposing existing assets. The accessibility of new infrastructure projects is being assured through compliance with relevant standards and through extensive user testing and ongoing consultation with peak disability groups.

Inclusive customer service and information

Technology that provides customer information, travel planning and wayfinding, such as websites, real time information at transport facilities, on board trains, buses and ferries and trip planning apps are progressively becoming more accessible. In particular, there have been significant advances in smart phone apps that provide specialised assistance for people with disability. As technology advances, we will seek opportunities to improve the accessibility of transport information and the way we gather feedback from all customers.

Figure 12. Empowering every customer


The transport system is economically and environmentally sustainable, affordable for customers and supports emissions reductions

An affordable network that is responsive to change

As the public transport network grows, new services and infrastructure will be needed to meet demand. Investing in the future network, while maintaining our current investment program, will require a financially sustainable transport system which shares operational and capital costs equitably across users, taxpayers, investors and other beneficiaries.

NSW will need to consider a range of approaches to secure revenue sources and deliver continued efficiencies through improved operations and maintenance, innovation and a commercial focus on asset management.

Supporting more environmentally sustainable travel

Moving people from private vehicles to more sustainable transport modes will reduce congestion and the transport sector’s emissions intensity, improve air quality and support better health and wellbeing.

Well planned centres and cities, will enable a shift from private cars to public transport and active transport modes such as walking and cycling. In Sydney, the key to this will be the delivery of three 30 minute cities, supported by reliable ‘turn up and go’ mass transit services.

Managing the transport system’s cost-effective transition to a low emissions environment and managing its climate change risks will also help deliver the Government’s Climate Change Policy Framework and its aspirational target of zero net emissions by 2050.

The transport network’s physical assets will be built and maintained to a standard to withstand extreme weather and sea-level rise with minimal damage and disruption to network functionality.

Figure 13 Private vehicle mode share - international comparison