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Executive Summary

Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan

Executive Summary

The Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan is an evidence based plan that has identified key transport policy, service and infrastructure initiatives for investigation within the Global Gateway City of Greater Newcastle, comprising the five local government areas of Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens.

The Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan provides the overarching strategic transport network and vision that will guide future transport planning for the Greater Newcastle area.

The Plan builds on the platform being established to increase liveability in Greater Newcastle through more sustainable travel behaviour.

Newcastle Light Rail has been a transformative infrastructure project, triggering increased investment and urban renewal of the city centre. This has seen the development of University of Newcastle NeW Space, a landmark education precinct, Newcastle Interchange, Newcastle Courthouse upgrades as well as new businesses entering the city centre, supporting jobs in the region.

These city centre investments have flow on benefits across Greater Newcastle and the broader Global Gateway City catchment. The coming years will see investment in the New Cruise Terminal, the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct and new road projects, such as, the completion of the Inner City Bypass between Rankin Park and Jesmond which will support better access across Greater Newcastle and to the John Hunter Hospital Health Precinct. Newcastle Airport is expecting strong passenger growth, attracting increased business travellers, visitors and tourists to the region.

In addition to Light Rail, other improvements to public transport will support these changes with planning underway for the New Intercity and Regional Rail Fleets. The recent introduction of Newcastle Transport has led to more frequent bus and ferry services as well as trials of on demand buses within the metro heart and metro core. This new servicing model could be expanded across the rest of Greater Newcastle and beyond.

With reference to these investments, as well as population, employment, and other key drivers of demand and travel behaviour, key initiatives explored in this Plan include:

  • Development of an integrated public transport network hierarchy, including:
    • Further development of improved bus services to support current and forecast customer demand for travel across Greater Newcastle, building on the recent changes made by Newcastle Transport
    • Improved integration and interchange between modes/services to enable seamless customer experiences
    • Expansion of 30 minute catchments for public transport
    • Improved time of day coverage and service frequency, reduced journey times and the deployment of on demand, flexible services
    • Investment in rail corridor infrastructure programs to optimise the operation of the New Intercity Fleet, resulting in faster journeys for customers
    • Station upgrades and integration between the stations and surrounding land uses to support increased public transport use, with opportunities for park and ride to reduce private vehicle travel for long distances
  • Facilitating car sharing services that are integrated with public transport
  • Further development of active transport networks
  • Opportunities to extend the light rail in Newcastle to facilitate urban development in the metro core
  • Addressing pinch points in the road network and informing the program of road network optimisation improvements
  • Undertaking a car parking review to evaluate and prioritise car parking availability and use, including consideration of park and ride and car pooling
  • Introducing travel demand management policies and transport optimisation programs to re-balance demand against service and infrastructure provision
  • Protecting freight movements and reinforcing key links to the port and airport
  • Separating passenger and freight rail services through the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor

The Draft Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan was released in November 2017 jointly with the Department of Planning and Environment’s Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036. The two plans were developed concurrently to ensure land use and transport outcomes for Greater Newcastle are truly integrated.

Engagement sessions were held with local councils, industry and the community. In total over 20 long-form submissions and more than 200 online comments were received on the Draft Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan.

Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036


The Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan was developed in close consultation with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) as they created their first-ever Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036.

The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036’s vision recognises the area as:

“Australia’s newest and emerging economic and lifestyle city, connected with northern NSW and acknowledged globally as:

  • dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a globally competitive economy and the excitement of the inner city and green, suburban communities
  • offering great lifestyles minutes from beaches or bushland, the airport or universities, and from the port to the lake
  • a national leader in the new economy, with smarter cities and carbon neutral initiatives, and with collaborative governance that makes it a model to others in creating and adapting to change”

The outcomes that underpin the vision for Greater Newcastle are:

  • Outcome 1 – Create a workforce skilled and ready for the new economy
  • Outcome 2 – Enhance environment, amenity and resilience for quality of life
  • Outcome 3 – Deliver housing close to jobs and services
  • Outcome 4 – Improve connections to jobs, services and recreation

Included in the plan are strategies and actions to deliver on the vision and outcomes to drive sustainable growth across Cessnock City, Lake Macquarie City, Maitland City, Newcastle City and Port Stephens communities. A focus is on aligning infrastructure and services in catalyst areas, these are defined as places of metropolitan significance that need a collaborative approach to the delivery of new jobs and homes.

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