An Agile Planning Approach

Transport and land use plans must be integrated with our vision for places, to deliver long term social and economic outcomes:

  • Long term planning with flexibility
  • Planning for uncertainty and change
  • Co-design – collaborative problem solving
  • A new blueprint for developing our workforce
  • Applying customer insights
  • Measuring our progress

Long term planning with flexibility

Delivering our vision for the future will involve adapting our plans to changing circumstances

An agile planning framework

The need for government to be increasingly agile and responsive is the hallmark of our approach to vision-led planning.

We are already looking at ways to embed flexibility and strategic readiness into our activities:

  • Optionality – as projects are planned, business case processes can test possible disruptive scenarios, embed flexibility into the design of infrastructure projects, and anticipate triggers for when decision-makers should make project commitments.
  • Short term goals for long term change – the focus would be on changes of services, policy, demand management or technology – which all have shorter lead times – to meet dynamic customer needs and to improve levels of service without significant capital investment.
  • Collaborating with our customers and stakeholders – we can embed continuous and close consultation with industry, the technology sector, customers and communities to maximise the benefits of future developments.
  • Committing to continuous improvement – the Future Transport strategy and plans will be ‘living’ online documents, which allow for adjustment and incorporation of changes as needed.
  • Planning for outcomes – transport planning will move away from individual modes and focus on delivering flexible, integrated solutions for customers and the broader community.

Planning for uncertainty and change

An integrated program of options with ‘triggers’ to identify when major investment is needed

Using scenarios to test when new investment is needed

For any given challenge, there is a range of potential solutions. For example, when it comes to road congestion, we can build wider roads, encourage mode shift to public transport, deploy smart road infrastructure to manage congestion ‘hot spots’ or encourage road users to re-time discretionary travel. 

Future Transport’s planning framework will deliver major investments according to performance-based or need-based ‘triggers’, rather than rigid timeframes, and coordinate a range of solutions to meet the needs of infrastructure customers. This flips the emphasis from infrastructure provision and capital investment to more nimble responses, in the short term, that deliver more flexible solutions when there is uncertainty over how much infrastructure capacity is required.

Short term options

Long term options

Service changes, demand management, regulation and technology are quicker to deploy, can be implemented with low capital investment and should be the ‘first responders’ to changing demand and customer preferences

Infrastructure construction and repurposing has longer lead times, is less flexible, takes longer to implement and requires significant capital investment

Co-design – collaborative problem solving

To be a leader in transport we need continuous innovation, new ways to solve problems and deliver value, and a culture that applies learnings from other industries

Working with our customers to solve problems

The Future Transport Strategy and Plans introduce new ways of problem solving that fit within our vision-led approach to planning. One of the key differences in this new approach, compared to more traditional methods, is that the NSW Government has set a vision and outcomes across several agencies even before we start identifying problems. This gives us a clear picture about the outcomes we want for our customers and the community and lets us identify obstacles to realising these outcomes.

A key feature of this approach is co-design - a high level of collaboration and decision making. From the first stages of planning we will engage all levels of government, customers and industry, to test our understanding of the problem and harness their innovation to develop the best possible solutions.

Some of the ways Transport for NSW is already doing this include:

  • Regulatory sand boxing, which allows pilots to be undertaken in a restricted setting, such as the pilot of a driverless shuttle bus in Sydney Olympic Park
  • The call for proposals for regional NSW’s first pilot of a connected and automated vehicle (CAV)
  • The on-demand transport pilots across NSW with a particular focus on regional areas
  • The preschool travel trial in Condong and Tenterfield in partnership with the Department of Education
  • The Open Data Hub, which to date has generated new customer apps and led to more than 1,000 registered applications, and 275 million hits
  • Working with BlueChilli CityConnect on the Smart City Open Innovation Challenge
  • Testing the benefits of crowdsourced solutions to key transport challenges using structured incubator and accelerator programs.

Tottenham to Dubbo On-demand pilot

  • In May 2017, a trial of a pre-booked, on-demand bus service between Tottenham and Dubbo commenced.
  • The service offers a return bus service providing Tottenham, a township of around 300 people, with a weekly service connecting them to the communities of Albert, Narromine and the Regional City of Dubbo.
  • The bus stops at important destinations such as local hospitals, shops and the Dubbo railway station and airport.
  • The service offers air-conditioning, storage for cold products and equipment including wheelchairs and prams. The vehicle used will depend on the number of people travelling.
  • Fares for the service are capped at $15 return for adults and $2.50 for eligible concession holders.
  • The Tottenham to Dubbo pilot will help shape how the NSW Government works with regional communities to deliver local transport solutions that meet their needs.

In developing solutions, we are also using a new approach based on intensively testing problems from a customer perspective – understanding what drives their preferences, and impacts their travel experiences.

This new way of thinking represents a new era in transport planning, where we emphasise the importance of involving people in the conversation who use or are affected by the transport network as well as learning by doing and experimentation. We will review our internal processes frequently and work towards continuously improving our skills and capabilities as we build new collaborative partnerships with customers, the community and industry.

Future directions to investigate

The way we collaborate with communities and industry to deliver the Future Transport outcomes will need to both flexible and fit for purpose and will vary between Greater Sydney and the Regions.

  • Enhance the availability of open data tools that support innovative solutions and collaborative planning
  • Introduce a new approach to planning where we collaborate with our stakeholders early in planning and design processes in the delivery infrastructure, services and place-making initiatives