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Land use and transport vision for 2056

Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure Plan

Land use and transport vision for 2056

The transport vision for Greater Sydney has been developed to support the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC’s) vision for Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities, where people have access to jobs and services within 30 minutes. It also responds to the opportunities and challenges that will reshape the city and the way people and goods move over the next 40 years.


Opportunities and challenges for transport

Supporting the growth of our city

Greater Sydney is undergoing significant change, which is creating opportunities and challenges for our transport system. These include the need to support the growth of the region, sustaining and enhancing our role as a global city and harnessing new technology for the benefit of our customers. Sydney is one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the developed world. By 2056, 8 million people will call our city home. This creates an opportunity for us to shape growth of the city but will require changes to how people and goods move to address the travel challenges that come with a growing city.

By 2056, Greater Sydney’s population will be equivalent to the current population of Greater London and New York City, and approaching the scale of a small mega-city.

The density of population and employment is also expected to increase over time, with differences in density across the metropolitan area. While the population density of Greater Sydney is expected to remain relatively low, within the Eastern Harbour City population density is expected to reach what Singapore is today, and Parramatta will be equivalent to Greater London today. To support this population and density increase the transport network needs to be planned accordingly.

The growth of Greater Sydney provides an opportunity to reconsider what the city will look like now and in the future. This includes the need to provide jobs and services close to where people live, to sustain and enhance the liveability of our places and to support the sustainability of the city. Transport plays a critical role in achieving these aims by improving accessibility to jobs, services and other amenities.

A larger city with higher density centres will change the transport task. It will mean:

  • an increase in the number of people and goods moving within Greater Sydney. The number of daily trips in Greater Sydney by all modes is forecast to increase from 11 million in 2016 to 15 million in 2036.
  • greater diversity in travel patterns
  • increased challenges in travelling across the city; and
  • more trips to and from areas where there is currently limited activity.

This will require significant changes to the size and structure of our transport network and greater use of more efficient modes of transport, such as public transport and walking and cycling. It will also require us to better use existing capacity, particularly through prioritising more efficient vehicles on the road network.


Sustaining and enhancing our role as a global city

Greater Sydney is Australia’s leading global city. It is more connected with the world than ever before, with over 250 languages spoken and growing trade connections. However, we face growing competition from established and emerging cities to attract jobs, skilled workers and visitors as people, businesses and investment become more mobile.

Maintaining our competitiveness and enhancing our status as a global city requires us to focus on attracting people and jobs – liveability, productivity and sustainability. This includes:

  • encouraging greater use of more efficient modes of transport. By global standards, a high proportion of trips in Greater Sydney are by private car (see Figure 15). This is a contributing factor to increasing congestion, which costs the city $6.1 billion a year and is forecast to rise to $12.6 billion by 2030 (BITRE 2015). Global cities have well-connected, integrated public transport networks. To remain globally competitive as Sydney grows, it will require expanding public transport and ensuring more efficient modes of transport are prioritised on the road network where they are able to move more people more efficiently.
  • balancing movement and place needs on the transport network. Transport corridors are where people and goods move. However, they also comprise places that are destinations themselves, including commercial precincts and centres. Enabling people and goods to move efficiently around the city while recognising the importance of the places through which transport services pass is necessary for sustaining and enhancing the liveability of our city.

Harnessing technology for the benefit of customers

Changes in technology are reshaping the way people and goods move and creating new opportunities to improve the experience of our customers. NSW is at the forefront of this change, introducing and piloting innovative solutions for our customers. Continuing to harness these changes for the benefit of our customers is a key opportunity over the coming decades.

Whether it be new ridesharing services, real-time transport apps or paperless ticketing, customers are already experiencing the benefits of new technology. As detailed in the Future Transport 2056 Strategy, advanced automation and new digital platforms are set to extend these benefits.

The range of applications for technology-enabled solutions is broad – from optimising available capacity and making more efficient use of it; to better network flows and resilience; to improvements in the safety, reliability and efficiency of networks, assets and services. By embracing technology and innovation, we can open up an exciting future of personalised transport for customers and fully unlock the value of investments in the network. For example, greater automation of mass transit services can improve the efficiency of the network. While not here yet, automated rideshare for first- and last-mile transport may deliver greater choice and convenience for customers.

New forms of mobility also require us to consider how we support their integration into the transport system to align with the wider priorities for Greater Sydney. For example, Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to revolutionise road travel. However, considered planning – and potentially regulatory intervention – will be needed to ensure our roads continue to function efficiently and our centres remain places where walking and shared transport are prioritised.

Planning for the next 40 years gives us the opportunity to help shape how technology is used for the benefit of our customers. However, the uncertainties arising from the fast pace of technology-driven change mean we must be flexible in our planning.


Vision for 2056


A metropolis of three cities

The GSC has established a vision for the region as a metropolis of three cities, where people can access the jobs, education and services they need within a travel time of 30 minutes by public transport. This underpins our strategic vision for transport in Greater Sydney, which is based around providing access to metropolitan centres and strategic centres.

In response to forecast growth and to help shape it, the GSC has developed a strategic land use plan for the city. It sets out a vision for shifting Greater Sydney from being dependant on a single central business district to being a metropolis of three cities. The three cities, as identified in the GSC’s Greater Sydney Region Plan include:

  • Eastern Harbour City - the currently established Harbour CBD and economic corridors to its north to Macquarie Park and south through Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and Port Botany to Kogarah. It is an economic engine – especially in the financial, business and professional services and innovation start-up sectors – with a beautiful harbour, sought-after suburbs and a large proportion of knowledge-intensive jobs. It includes the North, South and Eastern City Districts.
  • Central River City - anchored by Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) and the strategic centres of Blacktown (also associated with Western Parkland City), Norwest, Macquarie Park (also associated with the Eastern Harbour City) Rouse Hill, Castle Hill, Epping, Mount Druitt and Marsden Park. It is anticipated to experience the most significant urban transformation over the next 10 to 15 years. The boundaries of the Central River City align with the Central City District.
  • Western Parkland City - focused around the metropolitan city cluster of Western Sydney Airport-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, Greater Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown-Macarthur, the Western Parkland City is Greater Sydney’s emerging city. It includes significant residential areas and employment lands, with employment particularly concentrated around the new aerotropolis. The boundaries of the Western Parkland City generally align with the Western City District urban areas.

This vision for Greater Sydney influences the places the transport system will need to serve, the location of transport corridors and the level of service required on these.

A 30 minute city

The vision for Greater Sydney is one where people can access jobs and services in their nearest metropolitan city and strategic centre within 30 minutes by public transport, 7 days a week. It is based on a guiding principle based on established research that indicates that if people are required to travel more than 60 minutes a day, it impacts on quality of life and the liveability of a city.

There are two components to the 30 minute city:

  • Connecting people in each of the three cities to their nearest metropolitan centre. These are the largest employment and service centres in each of the three cities – the Harbour CBD in the Eastern Harbour City, Greater Parramatta in the Central River City and WSA-Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis, Greater Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown in the Western Parkland City.
  • Connecting residents in each of the five districts to one of their strategic centres by public and active transport, giving people 30-minute access to local jobs, goods and services. Strategic centres are major centres such as Chatswood, Norwest and Fairfield, with jobs and services, supported by a public transport and walking and cycling network.

As Sydney transitions to a metropolis of three cities, convenient and reliable access for customers by public transport to their nearest centre is increasingly important for:

  • Productivity – reducing the time people spend travelling particularly for their commute to work, increasing people’s access to jobs and business’ access to workers
  • Liveability – improving the quality of life in Greater Sydney by reducing the need for long commutes and helping to manage congestion by better spreading transport demand
  • Sustainability – increasing the proportion of trips by public and active transport and reducing average journey lengths, thereby reducing emissions and improving air quality

The 30 minute city will require more efficient modes of transport – public transport, shared transport and walking and cycling – to play a greater role. Without this, our roads will become more congested and journey times and reliability will continue to deteriorate. As the Western Parkland City develops, the public transport corridors that serve this city will facilitate economic growth by enabling 30 minute access for the surrounding population to these centres. This will support the development of employment and service clusters which benefit from improved access.

Our future networks and initiatives to support these are designed to support this outcome by expanding and improving public transport and ensuring more efficient forms of transport are prioritised.

In focus: Why a 30 minute city

Established research reveals that, on average, people are willing to travel up to 60 minutes each day to access jobs and services. If travel times exceed this, people will begin changing their behaviour – choosing other employment, limiting social activities or choosing to move homes. Known as Marchetti’s constant, this concept forms the basis of a 30 minute city.

Prioritising public transport investment in infrastructure and services where it will create the greatest impact will provide 30 minute access for more people. This will help to manage congestion on the road network as our city continues to grow by providing a more efficient alternative for customers. Improving 30 minute access to our centres will help sustain and enhance the liveability, productivity and sustainability of Greater Sydney and provide our customers with more time for activities and community.


Corridors for moving people and goods

To support the land use vision for Greater Sydney, the NSW Government has developed a vision for the transport system and its corridors that is designed to support people and goods to move safely, efficiently and reliably around the region. This includes people being able to access their nearest centre within 30 minutes by public transport.

Transport corridors support the movement of people and goods around the city. They are broad, linear geographic areas between places rather than specific links. Our vision for the future transport system is focused on three types of corridors that have been developed to align with the GSC’s land use vision and to guide future service levels (e.g. capacity, function and service frequencies) and infrastructure investment. The hierarchy of corridors in Greater Sydney includes:

  • City-shaping corridors – major trunk road and rail public transport corridors providing higher speed and volume linkages between our cities and centres that shape locational decisions of residents and businesses.
  • City-serving corridors – higher density corridors concentrated within ~10km of metropolitan centres providing high frequency access to metropolitan cities/centres with more frequent stopping patterns.
  • Centre-serving corridors – corridors that support local trips, buses, walking and cycling, to connect people with their nearest centre and transport node.

Dedicated and shared freight corridors and connections to regional NSW also form part of the future transport system. The corridors are shown in the figure below.

In focus: Connecting Greater Sydney and regional NSW

Corridors connecting Greater Sydney with outer metropolitan areas and regional NSW are vital for the city and communities across NSW. They enable customers, particularly in outer metropolitan areas, to access jobs and services in Greater Sydney and are vital for the movement of freight between urban and regional areas.

The vision for the future Greater Sydney transport system identifies corridors to the Central Coast and Newcastle, Southern Highlands, Illawarra and Blue Mountains and beyond. These corridors will connect the satellite cities of Gosford and Wollongong – major centres within close proximity to Greater Sydney – enabling customers to have safe, efficient and reliable access to and from Greater Sydney. They will also support passenger and freight journeys to and from coastal, inland and remote regional areas beyond.

Some key corridors that connect Sydney with regional NSW include:

· Hume Highway, Princes Highway, Main South Rail Line and Canberra Branch Rail Line to Southern NSW, Canberra and Melbourne

· Pacific Highway, North Coast Rail Line and Main North Rail Line to Northern NSW and Brisbane

· Great Western Highway, Bells Line of Road and Main Western Rail Line to Western NSW

A range of initiatives have been identified to improve services and infrastructure on the road and rail corridors. These are identified in chapter 6.


Explore our strategies and plans

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.

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