Future Networks

The future transport system is designed to support the vision for Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities where people can access jobs and services within 30 minutes and where customer outcomes are achieved.

The vision for the transport system includes city-shaping, city-serving, centre-serving and strategic freight networks. Each of these networks is designed to perform complementary functions, collectively forming an integrated transport system for Greater Sydney that supports the vision outlined in chapter 3.

Each network is based on initiatives detailed in chapter 6. Initiatives beyond those that are committed by the NSW Government are subject to further investigation and funding.

The strategic transport network

Almost all transport trips, regardless of mode and for both passenger and freight, are carried by the road or rail network. The exception to this is the ferry and maritime network. The road and rail networks perform a range of functions, and different services are included in each of the city-shaping, city-serving, and centre-serving corridors. More detail on the role of the strategic road and rail networks is outlined below.

Strategic rail network – overview of potential future rail corridors

Trains form the backbone of Greater Sydney’s public transport system, enabling large numbers of customers to access centres reliably and efficiently. The future vision for our train system is to build on this role, supporting 30 minute access for customers to their nearest Metropolitan City Centre and providing high capacity transport between these centres.

A range of potential train/mass transit links across Greater Sydney have been considered as part of the development of Future Transport 2056. These links have been identified based on their ability to support a number of key outcomes such as:

  • Improved accessibility to one of the three cities or strategic centres
  • Customer benefits such as reduction in travel times between key destinations and improved accessibility, frequency and reliability
  • Productivity drivers such as supporting existing and future growth areas, contribution to economic development and opportunity to facilitate employment growth
  • Support for urban renewal, future housing needs and the creation and renewal of great places with a focus on safety
  • Transport service and infrastructure improvements to provide train crowding relief, improve sustainable travel choices and increase network efficiency
  • The progressive separation of freight and passenger rail movements across the metropolitan train network

The potential train/mass transit links have been assessed against the customer outcomes of Future Transport 2056, as well as land use and city-shaping objectives within the Greater Sydney Region Plan (A Metropolis of Three Cities).

Potential timing for these links also aligns with broader outcomes such as the establishment of the WSA-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis and improved accessibility through the Central River City.

Key trade-offs have been considered as part of developing the future train/mass transit network. This takes into account the long lead times of large scale rail projects, the benefits in terms of travel time savings and city shaping opportunities, and the cost of delivering and operating both the existing and new train/mass transit links.

For these reasons the focus of the train/mass transit network is on city-shaping and city-serving corridors.

Current/committed network

The first Sydney Metro lines will deliver a step-change in service levels for customers in the north-west, east and south-west of Greater Sydney. Customers in the north-west will have faster, more reliable access to the Harbour CBD and strategic centres from Norwest to Epping and to Chatswood. Sydney Metro City and Southwest will extend direct metro services to the Harbour CBD and Bankstown, relieving pressure on some of the city’s busiest train lines and providing more frequent services for customers.

A new metro line between Greater Parramatta and the Harbour CBD will deliver turn-up-and-go services on one of Sydney’s busiest transport corridors. This will reduce journey times between the Central River City and Eastern Harbour City, support growth on the corridor, particularly in the Bays Precinct as well as Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula, and help to manage crowding on the T1 Western Line.

The North South Rail Link through the Western Parkland City (St Marys to WSA-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis) will enable more customers in the west to access jobs and services within 30 minutes, and will help shape the sustainable growth of the area. Upgrades to transport corridors such as the Blue Mountains Line will improve capacity and reliability.

2026 network with initiatives for investigation

The extension of the existing rail line from Leppington to WSA-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis will connect the WSA to the existing train network and provide additional public transport capacity in south west Sydney.

The WSA-Parramatta train link will reduce journey times between these centres and mean each of the three cities are connected by turn-up-and-go train services. This will enable customers across Greater Sydney to have convenient access to efficient, reliable and high capacity transport between the three metropolitan centres, and will enable more customers in the Central River City and the Western Parkland City to access jobs and services within 30 minutes.

Train improvements on T8 Airport Line, T4 Illawarra Line (including South Coast Line) and T1 Western Line are part of the More Trains, More Services program, including implementation of modern Train Control and Signalling technology across the network (Digital Systems currently in planning). Suburban passenger train services extended south of Macarthur will support population and jobs growth in the Western Parkland City through providing higher capacity public transport.

2036 network with initiatives for investigation

Investment in higher capacity public transport links particularly in the South East of the Eastern Harbour City will support urban renewal initiatives, and support 30 minute access by providing additional public transport services in the south east corridor.

New north-south mass transit/ train links to Greater Parramatta will increase the number of people that can access the Central River City within 30 minutes. This will support jobs growth in Parramatta and help to manage pressure on transport links in the east by spreading demand across the city.

2056 network with visionary initiatives

The long-term network vision provides for a connected network within each of the three cities and addresses long-term capacity constraints. In the east, extension of a new south east mass transit/ train link to Kogarah and Miranda will provide longer-term capacity relief on the T4 Illawarra Line and support urban renewal. The Miranda link is a potential connection from the CBD with one spur going to the South East (Malabar) and the second going to Miranda (Sutherland) to facilitate higher frequencies expected on the mass transit/ train network between the Central River City and the Eastern Harbour City.

The Parramatta-Norwest mass transit/ train link will support longer-term population growth on this corridor, currently served by bus services. This will help to maintain 30 minute access to Parramatta from Norwest.

The extension of the metro line from Bankstown to Liverpool will provide higher capacity transport connections between strategic centres to support population and jobs growth, and provide additional public transport capacity in south west Sydney.

The potential Macquarie Park to Hurstville via Rhodes mass transit/ train link will provide important cross city connectivity from Macquarie Park on the Sydney Metro to the T1 connection at Rhodes and then continuing on to Hurstville.

Strategic road network – overview of potential future road corridors

Roads have a critical role in the transport network, carrying most trips, and supporting efficient and reliable connectivity across the metropolitan area. Roads support multiple transport modes, including on-road public transport, on-demand services, private vehicles, walking, cycling and freight.

The strategic road network facilitates the movement of public transport, freight and private vehicles. High-capacity bus services are currently the most efficient form of on-road public transport, with the existing city-shaping network including the B-Line, which operates from the Northern Beaches to the Harbour CBD.

Emerging forms of mobility will rely on the strategic road network, with roads remaining fundamental infrastructure for the movement of people and goods. Together with our investigation into better allocation of road space, we will investigate equipping the strategic road network with smart technology to allow roads to be used by CAVs and to assist traffic and demand management.

A vision for the strategic road network over the next 40 years is based on initiatives that are committed and that we propose to investigate. The evolution of the network is consistent with the city-shaping network outlined in this chapter, designed to support high demand across the metropolitan area. While some city-shaping public transport services use the road network, the strategic road network also has an important function in carrying through traffic, and keeping it out of centres.

Current/committed network

The current network is formed by a motorway ring that includes the M1, M2, M7 and M5. It provides motorway access from across Greater Sydney to Parramatta, the Harbour CBD and centres across Greater Sydney.

The NSW Government has committed to new motorway links in the Eastern Harbour City, including (subject to Final Business Cases and funding) Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link and F6 Extension Stage 1, to manage congestion and support better places on the established road network. In the Central River City, NorthConnex will link the M1 Pacific Motorway with the Sydney motorway network to improve access to Sydney from regions to the north. In the Western Parkland City, we propose to build a new M12 motorway, as part of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

2026 network with initiatives for investigation

Over the next 10 years we will investigate improvements to the strategic road network, particularly connectivity to the south, with detailed planning of further stages of the F6 Extension, capacity upgrades on the movement corridors that surround Greater Parramatta and early investigation into road upgrades to support priority growth precincts around Wilton and Greater Macarthur.

2036 network with initiatives for investigation

The priority investment to be investigated in the next 10- 20 years is the Outer Sydney Orbital motorway. This will boost capacity to WSA- Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis from the north and form the first stage of an outer Sydney bypass. We will also investigate the Parramatta Outer Ring Road, to reduce pressure on roads within the centre, enabling them to support local journeys and be places for people.

2056 network with visionary initiatives

The longer-term initiatives will address remaining missing links in the motorway network, providing a network of high-capacity movement corridors across the three cities. The Outer Sydney Orbital will ultimately provide an outer bypass of Greater Sydney, connecting the Central Coast, Western Parkland City and Illawarra.

Investment in a north-south strategic road corridor east of Parramatta will improve access and support better places by enabling local roads to support local journeys.

Long-term capacity constraints at Port Botany and the South East will be addressed through upgraded road links.

City-shaping network

The city-shaping network includes the major road and rail public transport corridors that provide access to Greater Sydney’s largest centres and link these centres together. These corridors form the backbone of the transport system as they typically provide higher speeds, carry the largest number of customers and provide vital connections to and between major activity centres.

City-shaping corridors are defined by higher speed and volume services connecting:

  • Metropolitan centres with other metropolitan centres – e.g. Harbour CBD to Greater Parramatta
  • Metropolitan centres with strategic centres and other local centres along busy corridors – e.g. Greater Parramatta to Blacktown

The function of this network is to enable people living in any of the three cities to access their nearest metropolitan centre within 30 minutes and to be able to travel efficiently between these metropolitan centres. Typically, these corridors are served by either train, metro or high capacity buses as these modes provide the highest capacity.

As our city transitions to a metropolis of 8 million people by 2056, more customers will need access to jobs and services, meaning more people accessing the Harbour CBD, Greater Parramatta and – in the future – the WSA-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis and surrounding area of the Western Parkland City. This requires customers to have convenient access to efficient, reliable and high capacity transport to each of these centres.

The characteristics of the city-shaping network are summarised below.

Characteristic

Description

Capacity

High capacity city-shaping corridors provide access to, and between each of the metropolitan centres. These are the busiest activity centres, which means the corridors serving them are the highest capacity corridors

Frequency

High frequency, high speed services, where customers using public transport on city-shaping corridors may have access to regular services (< 5 min frequencies) across the day

Typical mode

Mass transit modes such as train, metro or high capacity bus, will typically serve city-shaping corridors. These are higher capacity modes to meet the level of demand on these corridors, with limited stops to support faster travel times. The city-shaping network is supported by the rail and strategic road network

Land use impact

City-shaping corridors have a high impact on land use. High capacity and high frequency services typically support more activity where access is provided by the corridor. Higher density land uses within centres concentrates activity and supports multimodal interchange to and from the city-shaping corridors

Network development

Over the next 40 years, we propose to expand the city-shaping network to support the growth of the three metropolitan cities. The evolution of the city-shaping network will the match the Governments land-use and precinct plans, which provide for, and respond to, areas of high growth. Over time, this may require a step-change in the capacity of city-shaping corridors.

City-shaping network with current network and committed initiatives

The NSW Government is investing significantly in the city-shaping network over the next decade to build on the existing network. Initiatives such as Sydney Metro Northwest, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Sydney Metro West (subject to Final Business Case and funding) and Northern Beaches B-Line are being delivered to address major capacity constraints particularly in the denser Eastern Harbour City and Central River City. They will also support 30 minute access to the Harbour CBD and improve journey times and reliability on the busy Harbour CBD - Greater Parramatta corridor.

New passenger rail in Western Sydney will play a major role in connecting to the airport and shaping the future growth and development of the Western Parkland City. The Australian and NSW governments have jointly committed to delivering the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport.

City-shaping network in 10 years with initiatives for investigation

Over the next decade, we will also investigate initiatives that will expand the network of city-shaping corridors to support the vision for Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities. Our focus will be improving connections to Greater Parramatta as it continues to grow and to Western Sydney Airport-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis as the new airport becomes operational in 2026. These city-shaping corridors will support economic development by facilitating 30 minute access to WSA and other centres within the Western Parkland City. These transport corridors will be more influential in the shape of the Western Parkland City if they are considered before the development, not after it.

To support the growth of the Western Parkland City, we will investigate additional city-shaping corridors linking the Aerotropolis to other major centres in the west, including Greater Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown-Macarthur. This will be to support access to jobs in these centres, access to the airport and economic development along these corridors, including the Western Economic Corridor between the WSA and St Marys. A city-shaping connection between the Aerotropolis and Leppington would also link WSA to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, improving business to business connections and enabling transfers for customers.

We will also investigate improved north-south connections to Greater Parramatta, with an initial focus on higher capacity bus services to improve 30 minute access to jobs and services in the Central River City.

Across the three cities, we will investigate upgrades to existing city-shaping corridors to support growth. This will include capacity and reliability upgrades to the existing train network.

City-shaping network in 20 years with initiatives for investigation

Our vision for 2036 is an expanded city-shaping network across Greater Sydney. We will investigate higher capacity connections to Greater Parramatta, particularly from the north and south to provide 30 minute access for more customers in the Central River City as the city grows. This will also help to relieve congestion by dispersing passengers across the network by enabling more people to access jobs and services away from the Eastern Harbour City. We will also support potential urban growth by expanding the network in the south east of the Eastern Harbour City. Across the network, we will investigate the use of new technology to increase the capacity and frequency of existing services. Specifically, we will support population and jobs growth by investigating the provision of more turn-up-and-go services across the city-shaping network.

City-shaping network in 40 years with visionary initiatives

Our vision for the 2056 city-shaping network is a turn-up-and-go, high capacity network that provides 30 minute access to metropolitan centres in each of the three cities. The long-term network vision provides for a connected network across each of the three cities and addresses long-term capacity constraints. To achieve this, we will investigate city-shaping connections on corridors where capacity will most be needed, including in the south of the Eastern City and to the north of Greater Parramatta. The Parramatta-Norwest city-shaping corridor will support longer-term population growth on this corridor, currently served by bus services.

City-serving network

The city-serving network provides on-demand or high frequency services to customers within the ~10km areas around the metropolitan centres. These typically higher density areas accommodate residential areas, jobs, services and many major attractions, such as sporting facilities. Providing a dense network of transport services within these areas is important for servicing these areas and providing access to nearby metropolitan centres. The city-serving network enables greater density within this area by maintaining convenient and reliable connectivity.

The characteristics of the city-serving network are summarised below.

Characteristic

Description

Capacity

High-medium capacity – the city-serving network provides access to higher density areas.

Frequency

High frequency – customers using public transport will have access to high frequency services across the day with ongoing investigation into delivering turn-up-and-go services

Typical mode

Bus, ferry, light-rail, train, walking and cycling – the city-serving network is made up of varying modes of transport. These modes have medium to high capacity to meet demand with frequent stops along the corridor

Land use impact

City-serving corridors have a medium to high impact on land use. High frequency and high capacity services have the ability to support higher density land use

City-serving network with current network and committed initiatives

The current city-serving network is characterised by scheduled ferry, bus, light rail and train services as well as denser walking and cycling networks. These provide access across the Eastern Harbour City and Greater Parramatta.

Over the next 10 years we have committed to increasing the capacity of the city- serving network. The CBD and South East Light Rail will connect Randwick and Kingsford with the Harbour CBD, providing an efficient, frequent and reliable service for customers in the south east. It will also improve the amenity of the Harbour CBD. We will boost capacity and support urban renewal around Greater Parramatta with Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 and Stage 2 (subject to Final Business Case and funding).

To support the growth of Greater Parramatta, we will investigate bus improvements on Victoria Road. This will help improve 30 minute access and boost capacity, and we are investing in the Ferry Fleet Replacement Program, including upgraded services on Parramatta River ferries.

We have also committed to increasing the role of public transport through greater prioritisation of bus services along city-serving corridors to improve 30 minute access, and are investing in priority walking and cycling networks around the centres.

City-serving network in 10 years with initiatives for investigation

Over the next 10 years we will investigate a number of further initiatives to respond to growth around our metropolitan centres.

In the Western Parkland City, we will investigate infrastructure to support bus connections around WSA Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, Liverpool, Greater Penrith and Campbelltown-Macarthur.

We will also investigate improvements to service frequency, including more demand responsive services, and capacity across all city-serving modes to improve 30 minute access and support growth.

Consistent with customer outcome 3, a focus will be working with local government to investigate improvements to walking and cycling connections so that these are the most convenient modes for short trips around metropolitan centres. Specific initiatives are identified in chapter 6.

City-serving network in 20 years with initiatives for investigation

By 2036, the WSA Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis will have a greater urban density. Customers within this area will require reliable, fast and frequent services to connect to jobs and services. We will investigate the best means to deliver these services, including through more on-demand services.

Greater Parramatta and the surrounding high density urban areas will be supported by a network of city-serving transport services. We will investigate the need to further expand the Parramatta Light Rail to service new high growth areas.

To support urban renewal in around the Eastern Harbour City we will investigate light rail extensions to Maroubra Junction (CBD and South East Light Rail) and the Bays Precinct (Inner West Light Rail).

We will continue to improve walking and cycling connections, with a focus on metropolitan centres in the Western Parkland City as these continue to grow.

City-serving network in 40 years with visionary initiatives

By 2056, the city-serving network will form part of an integrated transport system that provides seamless, convenient and reliable travel to customers across of all of Greater Sydney. As the region grows, each metropolitan centre will have a dense network of high frequency services in the ~10km areas surrounding them. Walking and cycling will be the most convenient option for short trips around centres. As technology advances and to improve efficiency, we envisage more city-serving corridors having flexible, demand responsive services.

 

In focus: City-shaping and city-serving networks in the Eastern Harbour City

Our vision for the future network is one where different links form part of an integrated network across the Greater Sydney region and each of the three cities. As outlined in this chapter, centre-serving corridors will support and complement city-shaping corridors by providing access for people that live away from major city-shaping transport links, such as train lines.

As part of our vision, city-serving links will also complement city-shaping links. Within the ~10km area around metropolitan centres, city-serving corridors will be able to support higher frequency, reliable on-street transport as key, city-shaping motorways will divert major traffic away from centres. This is our vision for the integrated network around the Harbour CBD where the network of new motorways, including WestConnex and Western Harbour Tunnel, will enable busy surface roads, such as Parramatta Road, Victoria Road and Military Road, to support more on-street public transport.

Centre-serving network

The centre-serving network connects local areas to their nearest centres. It enables customers living in typically lower density areas across Greater Sydney to access jobs, education and services in centres and to access city-shaping corridors, serviced by train, metro and express bus, that pass through these centres.

The centre-serving network is particularly important in a city like Greater Sydney with many lower density communities away from city-shaping transport corridors. By providing on-demand transport in these areas (or, where required, high frequency services), customers across Greater Sydney can access not just their nearby centre but also the wider transport network in an efficient, reliable and easy-to-understand way.

The centre-serving network also has an important role in the resilience of the transport system, by providing alternative routes to redistribute trips in the event of an incident on the network (traffic incident, or natural hazard such as flood or bush fire).

The characteristics of the centre-serving network are summarised in the table below.

Characteristic

Description

Capacity

Medium-low capacity – Centre-serving transport typically serves lower density areas, feeding customers in these suburbs to higher density activity centres across the city where they can access jobs and services or connect to transport nodes on city-shaping corridors. Corridors and the services they use are typically lower capacity, however in some areas (particularly closer to some centres) services may have higher capacity

Frequency

High frequency or on-demand – where there is sufficient demand, centre-serving transport services will operate at a high frequency. Otherwise, as new technology is harnessed, on-demand services will be available, enabling service frequencies to be responsive to customer demand. This will improve the efficiency of centre-serving transport in lower density areas.

Typical mode

Consistent with being lower demand corridors, centre-serving transport includes bus, point-to-point transport, private car, walking and cycling. Increasingly, a range of alternative forms of transport may be used, including new personalised devices (e.g. e-bikes).

Land use impact

As centre-serving transport is serving typically lower density areas and is therefore lower capacity, its impact on immediate surrounding land use is limited

Walking and cycling will have an important role in the future centre-serving network for shorter trips. More than 11 million weekday car trips in Greater Sydney are less than 10km. Two in five bus trips are less than 5km in length. These short trips contribute to congestion on the already constrained parts of the transport network typically in centres. Lack of access to safe cycling paths is a barrier for the 70 per cent of customers who tell us they would like to cycle more for short trips and would do so if they felt safer and more confident.

Connected cycling networks within 5kms of strategic centres will improve the access to cycling for short trips. Many of these connections will also form part of the Principal Bicycle Network (see conclusion of this section), allowing cycling customers to travel between centres across Greater Sydney. The Principal Bicycle Network will also be designed to integrate with the Green Grid connecting parklands, including the Western Parklands in the Western City.

In focus: Cycling connections and the Green Grid

The Government Architect’s Office and the Department of Planning and Environment established the concept of a Green Grid for Greater Sydney. It is a long-term vision for a network of high quality green areas – from regional parks to local parks and playgrounds – connecting centres, public transport and public spaces to green infrastructure and landscape features. It is designed to keep the region cool, encourage healthy lifestyles and support ecological resilience.

The expansion of the Principal Bicycle Network will be integrated with the Green Grid with Transport for NSW working with the GSC, local councils and other stakeholders to ensure – where feasible – the bicycle network forms part of the Green Grid for Greater Sydney. This will help advance the vision while providing safe and attractive paths for cyclists.

Centre-serving network with current network and committed initiatives

The current centre-serving network is characterised by scheduled public transport services, particularly buses, private vehicle use, some point-to-point travel and walking and cycling. Committed improvements to the network over the next 10 years are focused on harnessing new technology to enable more on-demand services and investing in the walking and cycling network. This is designed to improve the efficiency of transport services and manage congestion by encouraging more use of public transport and walking and cycling.

On-demand transport services, such as buses, enable us to improve convenience for customers and enhance the efficiency of services by ensuring they are more responsive to demand. The NSW Government is partnering with service operators to pilot on-demand services, particularly around selected strategic centres. Trials are already underway on the Northern Beaches and further pilots are proposed in 2018 for selected corridors serving the strategic centres of Bankstown, Macquarie Park and Bondi Junction.

Investing in the walking and cycling network will enable us to improve safety, provide more healthy transport options for customers and manage congestion around centres. That is why a focus over the next 10 years is delivering committed Priority Cycleway projects that will connect the growing number of people cycling around the busiest centres in the Eastern, Central and Western Cities. Council partnership programs are delivering local bicycle infrastructure. Bicycle parking is also being rolled out at transport interchanges which is improving options and extending the reach of public transport.

Centre-serving network in 10 years with initiatives for investigation

Over the next 10 years we will investigate additional initiatives to improve centre-serving connections, with a focus on maintaining efficient and reliable access to strategic centres and expanding walking and cycling connections. With the population of Greater Sydney forecast to grow by 850,000 over the next 10 years, strategic centres will attract more activity.

To address this, our focus will be on initiatives that can better use existing capacity, including implementation of a Road Space Allocation Policy to improve priority for higher productivity vehicles and improving the frequency of public transport services.

Consistent with customer outcome 3, we will also investigate expansion of the walking and cycling network around strategic centres, with a focus on working with local councils to improve cycling connections within 5km around strategic centres in the Eastern and Central Cities. Many centres in these cities have well-developed walking and cycling connections, which can be built upon over the next decade.

Centre-serving network in 20 years with initiatives for investigation

By 2036, we are proposing that more centre-serving services operate more frequently or on-demand, higher capacity connections are in place for the fastest growing strategic centres, and that key walking and cycling connections are complete.

Over the next 20 years, the population of Greater Sydney is forecast to reach nearly 6 million. The total number of trips on the transport network will increase from 11 million to 15 million. Public transport will need to play a growing role to ensure customers have access to their nearest centres within 30 minutes and that journeys are efficient and reliable. That is why public transport services on the 2036 centre-serving network will be high frequency or on-demand across much of Greater Sydney. This will mean services are not only easy to understand and therefore more accessible but are also attractive for customers to use.

By 2036, we also propose that all centres have connected walking and cycling networks, including centres across the Western Parkland City.

Centre-serving network in 40 years with visionary initiatives

The vision for the 2056 centre-serving network is that all customer outcomes are being met, with centre-serving corridors offering high frequency or on-demand services that provide 30 minute access to centres, future forms of mobility being available and integrated with other modes of transport, and walking or cycling being the most convenient option for short trips.

By 2056, Greater Sydney is forecast to have a population of 8 million people. A greater share of trips by public and active transport will be essential to ensure people and goods can move efficiently around the city. That is why, building on our 2036 network, all centre-serving corridors will have high frequency or on-demand services.

Further investment in connections to strategic centres and in the Principal Bicycle Network will support walking or cycling being the most convenient option for short trips, improving health outcomes, safety and convenience for customers as well as boosting the productivity, liveability and sustainability of Greater Sydney.

Greater Sydney Bicycle Network

Cycling serves the increasing number of short trips that people make around centres and local areas. These trips access shops, services, schools, entertainment and connect to train, bus, ferry or light rail. Increasing cycling has a health payback by preventing chronic disease through increasing activity and improved personal wellbeing. Cycling also helps to create places, lower carbon emissions, improve access to public transport services and reduce the cost of travel for customers and the community.

The Principal Bicycle Network is the network of major bike corridors across Greater Sydney. In addition to supporting longer distance cycling journeys, the individual components have an important role in supporting shorter distance city-serving and centre-serving journeys. We will work with local councils and other stakeholders to investigate improvements to the network as part of the Future Transport vision.

Current/committed network

Building on the existing network, our immediate focus is working with local councils to deliver committed Priority Cycleway projects to address key missing links around the Harbour CBD, Greater Parramatta, Greater Penrith, Blacktown and Liverpool, such as the Nepean River Green Bridge and Inner West Greenway. Council partnership programs are delivering local bicycle infrastructure. Bicycle parking is also being rolled out at interchanges.

2026 network with initiatives for investigation

Our vision for 2026 is a connected cycle network to the Harbour CBD and Greater Parramatta, offering improved safety and convenience of cycling around these centres and increasing liveability by supporting place-based planning and delivery of great places. Walking and cycling network coverage will be improved by using state held corridors for public transport, pipelines, waterways, crown land and service easements for bicycle network infrastructure.

2036 network with initiatives for investigation

By 2036, we also propose that all strategic centres have connected walking and cycling networks, including strategic centres across the Western Parkland City. This will provide our customers with more healthy transport choices and support access to public transport links across the three cities.

2056 network with visionary initiatives

Further investment in connections to strategic centres and in the Principal Bicycle Network will support walking or cycling being the most convenient option for short trips, improving health outcomes, safety and convenience for customers as well as boosting the productivity, liveability and sustainability of Greater Sydney.

Strategic freight network

The strategic freight network includes the most significant corridors that support the movement of goods. This includes corridors connecting trade gateways, freight precincts and centres across Greater Sydney as well as corridors that connect the region with outer metropolitan areas and regional NSW.

The total freight task in Greater Sydney is expected to nearly double over the next 40 years as a growing population, higher living standards and online consumerism drive higher volumes. The container freight task alone is projected to triple by 2056 to 39Mt per annum.

Supporting the safe, efficient and reliable movement of goods around Greater Sydney will require a high capacity network for moving goods between trade gateways and freight precincts, such as from port to warehouse, and providing convenient access to centres. The future network will support this through the strategic road network and improved rail connections, particularly between ports and warehouses.

The characteristics of the strategic freight network are summarised below.

Characteristic

Description

Capacity

High capacity – strategic freight corridors support the highest volumes of goods that are generated by freight precincts and metropolitan and strategic centres 

Typical mode

Train and on-road – as demand grows, more goods will need to be moved by train where appropriate. This is particularly the case between Port Botany and intermodal terminals in the Western Parkland City, where demand is highest. The strategic road network will also be important for major freight movements, particularly motorways and roads that provide access to centres

Land use impact

High impact – in conjunction with land use zoning, the strategic freight network has a significant influence on where consolidation and distribution facilities are located. Convenient access to the freight network is important for freight customers, meaning facilities are often clustered around these corridors

A key task for the freight network over the next 40 years will be to support growing demand between ports in the east, particularly Port Botany, and consolidation and distribution facilities in the west of Greater Sydney. Consistent with customer outcome 8, a dedicated 24/7 freight rail network will be essential to this by enabling greater separation of freight from other road users and the passenger train network. The network maps below highlight how we propose to improve the freight rail corridor between Port Botany and Western Parkland City industrial and employment lands and intermodal terminals, as well as between Greater Sydney and regional areas. Access to the trade gateways of Newcastle port and Port Kembla from inland NSW will continue to be important for the next 40 years.

Should Port Botany reach its container handling capacity and Port Kembla be required to cater for NSW’s future container volumes, new transport/ infrastructure links will be investigated to enable goods to be moved safely, efficiently and reliably between Port Kembla and Sydney.

Convenient freight access to centres will also be investigated through a range of ‘first and last mile’ initiatives. Complementing this will be other initiatives, such as new freight consolidation hubs near centres and initiatives to encourage more off-peak freight deliveries.

The evolution of the strategic freight network is summarised below based on the initiatives identified in chapter 6. The NSW Freight and Ports Strategy provides further information on these initiatives.

Strategic freight network with current network and committed initiatives

The current strategic freight network is formed by the strategic road network, which supports freight movements to centres across Greater Sydney, between Port Botany and western Sydney and to regional NSW.

East-west road corridors form a key part of the freight network, with the M2, M4 and M5 linking the Eastern Harbour City and freight precincts in the west. A small share of containerised goods is moved by rail via the Port Botany rail line.

North-south connections are supported by the M1 in the Eastern Harbour City, A3 in the Central River City and M7 in the Western Parkland City, however the M1 is subject to access constraints for heavy vehicles.

The NSW Government is investing in or has committed to a number of initiatives to expand the freight network. WestConnex and Sydney Gateway will effectively extend the M4 corridor to Port Botany and boost capacity on the M5 corridor, better connecting Port Botany and freight precincts in western Sydney.

North-south connections in the most congested parts of the Eastern Harbour City will be improved by Western Harbour Tunnel, Beaches Link and the F6 Extension. This will enable freight movements to bypass centres and busy arterial and local roads, benefiting freight customers, passengers and local residents.

Strategic freight network in 10 years with initiatives for investigation

The 2026 network, with initiatives for investigation in place, will provide improved access to trade gateways in the emerging western city, additional rail capacity and protection of future corridors.

With Western Sydney Airport due to open in 2026, the NSW Government is investigating access to the airport with the Commonwealth Government, in addition to delivering the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan. Future corridors, particularly in the Western Parkland City, are also proposed to be reserved by 2026 to ensure future links can be delivered and that land use is aligned with the long-term vision for the network.

By 2026, additional freight rail capacity is also proposed to support growth in containerised movements. Additional investment is proposed between Port Botany and Western Sydney and on the Main North Line and Main South Line corridors that connect Greater Sydney with other regions.

Strategic freight network in 20 years with initiatives for investigation

The 2036 network, with initiatives for investigation in place, will enable 24/7 freight rail access between ports and intermodal terminals.

East-west freight rail capacity will be boosted by the Western Sydney Freight Line. This will enable containerised goods to be moved by rail between Port Botany and the proposed Western Sydney Intermodal Terminal near WSA.

Should additional container port capacity be required, a rail connection between the Illawarra and Western Sydney would enable containers to be moved efficiently and reliably by rail between Port Kembla and intermodal terminals in Greater Sydney. 

Strategic freight network in 40 years with visionary initiatives

The 20+ year visionary freight network will provide new north-south and east-west links in the Western Parkland City as it continues to grow. These links will support growth in freight volumes and help manage pressure on local roads by enabling more goods to be moved by rail or on strategic roads.

As demand for freight movements grows, significant investment in the Western Parkland City will be required given the growth of the region and the expected concentration of consolidation and distribution facilities in this area. The Outer Sydney Orbital, a proposed north-south road and rail bypass of Greater Sydney near the Western Economic Corridor, will enable goods, particularly from outside Greater Sydney, to efficiently access these facilities. It will also help reduce pressure on north-south connections in the Eastern and Central Cities.

A higher capacity north-south link in the Western Parkland City would be supported by additional capacity on the east-west road corridor between Liverpool and the Outer Sydney Orbital. A number of significant freight precincts are located near Liverpool, including the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. Additional capacity on this corridor would support access to these facilities from the future Outer Sydney Orbital. This will help manage future pressure on the M7 corridor and reduce pressure on local roads.

Additional east-west capacity will be supported by the proposed Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Connection, which would support capacity over the Great Dividing Range by improving access between western Sydney and the Bells Line of Road.