Customer outcomes for Regional NSW

Our vision is for regional people, visitors and businesses to experience a world-class regional transport network

The Future Transport Strategy articulates the transport vision for NSW for the next 40 years through six customer and network outcomes; A customer focus, Contributing to successful places, A growing economy, Safety and performance, Accessible services, and Financial and Environmental Sustainability. This section of the regional Service and Infrastructure Plan considers these outcomes further and details ten outcomes from a regional perspective for our diverse range of customers. 

Regional NSW Customer Outcomes

Customer Outcome 1: Flexible transport services 

Customer needs are met by flexible services which are appropriate and reliable 

Technology has enabled an increase in customer-focused and commercial applications of flexible transport, for example point to point (taxis and rideshare), community transport and Mobility as a Service models.  

Flexible transport services provide the most appropriate type of service for customer needs by: 

  • being agile and responsive to personalised customer needs allowing customers to organise a service when they need it, providing a more personalised, door-to-door experience  
  • offering the right transport mode for the right task  
  • better serving multiple destinations, particularly isolated communities 
  • responding to seasonal changes.

The introduction of flexible transport across regional NSW will be a big shift in the transport business model which will benefit regional communities. It enables isolated customers to more meaningfully contribute to society through employment and community engagement and also provides access to basic services such as health and shopping in efficient and cost effective ways that are often not ordinarily available through regular scheduled services.

Flexible services in regional NSW will be targeted at regions or routes where services have long travel times or multiple interchanges and lack integration with other modes. These services will also target first and last-mile connections to and from transit hubs. 

In the short term – 3 models of flexible transport could be introduced in regional NSW: 

  1. Complement time limited mainstream local public transport services (i.e. scheduled bus services) in centres/large towns 
  2. Replace existing time or coverage limited mainstream local public transport service in towns 
  3. Introduce services for smaller towns where no mainstream public transport exists. 

In the longer term – all local public transport services in regional NSW could have increased levels of flexibility. 

The two following case studies present examples of two service providers contracted to deliver eligibility-based community transport for Transport for NSW are also able to deliver flexible services using their spare vehicle assets. 

On demand transport services trial in Sydney and Central Coast 

Eight trials of on demand transport services will run in Sydney’s north west, south west, west, eastern suburbs, northern beaches, Sutherland Shire and the Central Coast commencing from late 2017. Their focus is on connecting people to transport hubs (bus, ferry and train) to reduce demand for commuter parking, employment centres, local shops and hospitals. 

Each trial is unique and has its own pricing scheme. Customers will be able to book online, by phone or via an app. Transport for NSW will use data from the trials to plan future public transport improvements across all areas of Sydney. 

The trial on the Central Coast is a service to take customers to Woy Woy station from locations on the Woy Woy peninsula. The service will be provided by a community transport operator. 

Rural and Regional Flexible Transport Trial – Tottenham to Dubbo 

The Western Region is facing issues relating to an ageing and declining population, as well as social disadvantage.  

The Western Regional Transport Pilot (WRTP) has been implemented as a possible way to respond to these challenges and is the first of its kind in regional NSW. Stage 1 commenced in May 2017 with a weekly return service between Tottenham and Dubbo via Albert and Narromine operated by a community transport provider that services the Dubbo area.  

The journey from Tottenham to Dubbo is 145 km and is approximately a 2 hour drive each way. Fares have been set at $15 return for adults, $7.50 for children and $2.50 for eligible concession holders in line with the Regional Excursion Daily (RED) ticket. 

A recent evaluation of the service has found:  

  • The service benefited the community and residents of Tottenham 

  • The service improved social access for socially disadvantaged residents 

  • Access to medical services increased along with reports of better independence amongst users 

  • The community also reported on road safety benefits and social inclusion improvement 

  • 8.4% of Tottenham’s population had used the service and there is potential to grow 

  • The operator reported an average occupancy rate of 66%.  

  • The service appealed to a broad group with the majority of users female, aged over 60 who held a full car licence 

  • Fares were perceived to be very affordable and a key driver to usage 

  • 90% of customers on the new transport service travelled on a concession fare. 

Key learnings from the evaluation will be incorporated into the remaining stages of the WTRP and will also inform government decisions on further flexible services in regional NSW. 

Customer Outcome 2Embracing new technology 

Customer needs are met by a transport system that is continuously adapting to and embracing new technology 

The NSW Government is committed to adopting and applying new technology to transport needs in regional NSW. Technology will continue to challenge and disrupt current thinking and innovation will be critical as we seek ways of doing things differently. 

CAV trial underway in Sydney 

A two year trial of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) is underway at Sydney Olympic Park. It is the first precinct-based trial of an automated shuttle in Australia and is the first trial of vehicle automation to take place in NSW.

The trial aims to understand what supporting technology and infrastructure is needed to operate an automated shuttle in this environment, how it interacts with other precinct users (pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) and how it integrates with the broader transport network. We will also better understand passengers’ responses to this type of vehicle and the services it can enable, like on-demand transport in off-peak times.

Opportunities for CAV Technology in regional NSW 

Fully connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are expected to be widely used post-2035, with benefits expected for both passengers and freight. CAVs have application as part of a flexible integrated public transport solution, providing first and last mile connections to trunk services such as rail, coach, air, bus or demand responsive services as well as improved freight productivity.

CAV trial recently announced for regional NSW

On 1 December 2017 an expression of interest was announced for trials of driverless vehicles in regional NSW. Transport for NSW plans to provide seed funding and partner with industry, researchers, local councils and businesses to develop and co-deliver a number of connected and automated vehicle trials across regional NSW.

Trials will focus on customer mobility use cases and investigate the benefits and challenges involved in introducing emerging CAV technology to country NSW.

Lessons learnt from these trials will help Transport for NSW identify and implement new, creative and better ways to deliver transport to our regional customers. It will also help industry develop technology, products and services that can be deployed to deliver improved mobility for customers.

Technology underpins all aspects of our vision for regional NSW, for example:

  • Customer focus: Mobility as a Service technology platforms enable dynamic, personalised, customer-centric services with seamless multimodality.
  • Growing the economy: Improving productivity through exploring benefits of freight technology advances, for example supply chain efficiencies of vehicle platooning.
  • Successful places: Flexible services that take customers where and when they want to go.
  • Safety and performance: Smart vehicle technology features such as automatic braking and lane keep assist are increasingly available in new vehicles to improve road safety
  • Accessible services: Assisted mobility devices (such as e-bikes, segways and mobility scooters) enable people to travel further than traditional active transport (such as walking and cycling).
  • Sustainability: Electric vehicles and/or aerial mobility devices (for example drones) for use in emergency response where traditional networks are compromised (for example accidents or natural disasters).

Telecommunication improvements in regional NSW are foundational to enabling people to travel less and undertake some work, study, shopping and health appointments at home, or at locations close to home.

The NSW Government is delivering improved digital connections in regional NSW to enable technology

The Mobile Black Spot Program improves and extends the coverage of high quality mobile voice and wireless broadband services in rural and regional areas across Australia.

The NSW Government has committed $39 million, which has been leveraged for a total program investment of over $120 million in NSW communities by the NSW Government, the Australian Government and privately owned mobile carriers.

The program is currently delivering 183 new or upgraded mobile base station sites in NSW with 40% already completed. These sites will address up to 795 mobile phone black spots in regional communities and provide more than 14,000 square kilometres coverage.

Beyond the Mobile Black Spots Program, the NSW Government is also exploring other options to improve for improving digital connectivity in the regions as part of the $50 million Connecting Country Communities Fund and the Growing Local Economies Fund www.nsw.gov.au/connectingcountrycommunities

The 2017-18 Budget also included $177.7 million to support the next phase of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program, managed by the NSW Telco Authority. The program will deliver an enhanced Government Radio Network to improve emergency and day-to-day operational communications for a wide range of NSW Government agencies and essential services.

Customer Outcome 3Movement and place framework

People and businesses experience vibrant local places balanced with efficient and effective movement of people and goods

Transport connects places but transport can also make places. The movement and place framework is a planning approach which takes broad consideration of surrounding land uses when making transport network and planning decisions. It seeks to reduce conflict between users by providing separation of local movement and through movement whilst creating better, safer street environments for customers and communities.

The application of the movement and place framework also has road safety benefits. Areas that are considered ‘places for people’ will need lower speed limits (set in accordance with the NSW Speed Zoning Guidelines and international best practice). Lower speeds in this environment will ensure the safety of road users, particularly vulnerable users such as pedestrians.

Implementing the movement and place framework 

Movement and Place is our framework for planning, designing and operating the road network to account for different uses. Adopting the framework will ensure that transport networks reflect the needs of surrounding land uses, enabling efficient and reliable movement of customers and goods as well as creating places for people. This concept helps us to move away from planning for different transport modes and customers in isolation towards personalised end to end customer experiences.

The framework will guide the specific corridor and place plans, which will be developed following the release of the Future Transport Plans. As part of this we will develop a Movement and Place Practitioners Toolkit to provide specific guidance to stakeholders involved the planning, designing and operating the road network.

By engaging across government with those bodies responsible for transport, land use and roads in NSW, Street Environments will be agreed and become a common platform for road planning, based on an integrated view of:

  • the strategic significance of roads and streets in their role to move people and goods
  • the strategic significance of the land use adjacent to roads and streets

Through this more collaborative and integrated approach, the Movement and Place Framework will enable greater transparency, collaboration and an tool to provide better clarity to communities and the public, how the NSW Government plans, designs and operates the road network.

Applying Movement and Place

The guiding principles within the framework acknowledge that the needs and expectations of transport customers and communities change for different street environments. Similarly, there is the need to prioritise different customer groups, depending which street environment they are travelling in.

  • Creating places for people – support principles of centre development, amenity enhancements, transport network connectivity, time of day management, walking and opportunities to dwell in city centres to support local identity and placemaking
  • Local connectivity – improving local public transport, walking and cycling connectivity between railway station, airport, key land uses (heath, education, retail, employment) and town centres.
  • Movement corridors – planning, design and management of major roads to be sensitive to centres and surrounding land use and planning for future bypasses using the Movement and Place principles, with whole-of-government multi-modal road and corridor planning, including ‘last mile’ connectivity and freight access for industry.

Movement and place case study

Until Kempsey was bypassed in 2013, the Pacific Highway was a thoroughfare that cut the town in half — bringing tourists and trucks, but discouraging locals. However now the Kempsey CBD has become a retail hub after significant gentrification.

A study by Dr Bruno Parolin found that despite significant fear amongst the business community before the bypass, between 2013 and 2017 there has been an increase of 22% in jobs across all businesses.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-29/kempsey-disadvantaged-town-now-bypass-success-story/9001840

Regional Cities

Regional Centres

Local Towns

e.g. Orange, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga

e.g. Broken Hill, Inverell, Goulburn

e.g. Dorrigo, Peak Hill

Deniliquin

Separation of through movement (Movement Corridors) and reinforced place based activity (Places for People)

Separation of through movement (Movement Corridors) and supporting place based activity (Places for People)

Balancing needs of through movement and servicing local business (Vibrant Streets)

Time of day and day of week management of customer and business needs that consider both movement and amenity

Time of day management of customer and business needs that consider both movement and amenity

Prioritise access to centre for freight, walking, cycling, public transport, interchange and manage parking demand

Facilitate improved access options to centre – improved walking, cycling, public transport and possible interchange options

Facilitate safe access to centre – improved walking, cycling, public transport and parking

Focused investment on making more Places for People linked to key transport nodes through effective land use and transport planning

Focused investment on making Places for People linked to key transport nodes through effective land use and transport planning

Strengthen and grow place making through effective land use and transport planning (e.g. lower vehicle speeds, footway access)

Integrating safety features with road function, accounting for needs of different road users in each environment.

Integrating safety features with road function, accounting for needs of different road users in each environment.

Integrating safety features with road function, accounting for needs of different road users in each environment.

Customer Outcome 4: Supporting centres with appropriate transport services and infrastructure

Regional NSW has a diverse size of places and which require a scalable transport network response

Connections to Global Gateways, Satellite and regional cities

As Greater Sydney grows to a city of 8 million people by 2056, regional passengers and freight operators will look to more efficient ways to move to alternate global gateways, be they in NSW or interstate, to avoid the complex Sydney transport network.

The Global Gateway of Newcastle with its trade port, new cruise terminal and airport will play a bigger role in serving regional catchments beyond the Hunter to the north, north-west and west. Investments in such infrastructure as the Hunter Expressway, Pacific Highway, New England Highway and Golden Highway will facilitate safer and more efficient connections for passenger and freight movement from Tamworth, Armidale, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

Canberra is another Global Gateway city. Its international air connections and federal government service functions allow it to provide a broader range of services and amenities than adjacent regional cities. Canberra will provide global connections to the regional cities of Wagga Wagga and Albury / Wodonga.

Gold Coast is a Global Gateway city to the north of the state. It is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and provides nearby communities with access to health services, tertiary education as well as international air connections. It is also one of the fastest growing tourism markets in nation attracting both domestic and international visitors.

Linking Global Gateway and Satellite cities to Sydney

The demand for travel between Sydney and the cities of Newcastle, Canberra, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne will continue to grow as global connections become increasingly important. With recent significant investment in road infrastructure on the corridors linking these cities (Pacific and Hume Motorways), alternate public transport links have significant room for improvement in journey times to become competitive with car and air travel.

Emerging technologies for land based long distance travel are rapidly evolving however tested and proven methods of transport remain some time off and the previously federally investigated (2012) mode of high speed rail (HSR) was not deemed to be feasible until the 20+ year timeframe. Whilst the operation of emerging technologies are likely to be some way off, investigations into corridor preservation based upon the most constrained design criteria (HSR) should be investigated within the 10-20 year timeframe.

Another constraint for the implementation of higher speed connections is the requirement to navigate the complex urban environment and established transport network of Greater Sydney. To increase the potential passenger catchment, it is recommended that any higher speed connection travelling through Greater Sydney enters from Campbelltown and Hornsby and passes through Parramatta (Central City) where rapid connections to the metro network would provide access to the Eastern and Western Cities.

In the next decade it is recommended that Faster Rail corridor infrastructure investment programs be focused on Satellite and Global Gateway cities to achieve significant travel time savings. For Wollongong and Gosford the aspiration is for a 60 minute journey time. For the Global Gateway of Newcastle the travel time aspiration is 2 hours, while for Canberra it is under 3 hours. The Australian Government has recently announced that it will provide matching funding for the development of a strategic business case for Faster Rail in the Sydney to Newcastle corridor. These investments will be required independently of the introduction of higher speed connections which would appeal to different rail travel markets (i.e. less or no stops and potentially higher fares) and deliver benefits to both passenger and freight flows.

Access to the trade gateways of Newcastle port and Port Kembla from inland NSW will continue to be important for the next 40 years with the movement of coal dominating the rail transport task. The establishment of a 24-hour International Airport in Western Sydney will also provide new opportunities for agriculture and passenger access from the Central West and Orana and South East and Tablelands.

Importance of connections to closest regional city

A change in approach to providing transport in regional NSW will be a shift away from a network focussed on servicing trips to Sydney to providing more services and facilities in regional cities and leveraging changes in technology to reduce the need to travel long distances.

Journey to Work data shows there is a strong connection between regional centres and their associated regional cities and towns. These connections will remain important and are likely to benefit from improved transport connections between regional cities.

The challenge is to serve these trips as conveniently, safely, efficiently and financially sustainably as possible through new and more flexible transport service models and the leveraging of technological enhancements.

Importance of regional city to regional city connections

Previous regional planning has focussed on the connections of regional cities within a region. Whilst these will remain important, safe and efficient links to regional cities in adjacent regions is considered just as important as different products and services or service levels may be offered in other regional cities.

As previously discussed, the investment in transport infrastructure in the past 20 years has focussed on creating efficient north-south connections between regional cities. A future focus on east-west connections between the inland and coastal geographies will support the growth of population on the coast whilst also opening up tourism and trade connections to the inland regions.

New Intercity Fleet (NIF)

A new fleet of long distance, intercity trains from Sydney to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the South Coast is on the way. The first of the double deck trains consisting of 500 new train carriages will be delivered in 2019 and the rest of the fleet will progressively follow. A portion of the new fleet will be serviced and maintained at a new purpose-built train maintenance facility being built at Kangy Angy on the Central Coast whilst modifications are needed to existing maintenance and stabling facilities at Eveleigh, Broadmeadow, Wollongong and Port Kembla.

Some existing rail infrastructure also needs to be upgraded on the intercity network to accommodate the introduction of the New Intercity Fleet. This includes:

  • Platform extensions

  • Installation of CCTV, PA, lighting and station furniture, where required

  • Modifications to station platform edges

  • Modifications to infrastructure within the rail corridor, including the installation and relocation of signalling and overhead wiring structures

  • Re-positioning of rail tracks along parts of the rail corridor

The key benefits for customers from the introduction of the New Intercity Fleet are:

  • Two by two seat layout, wider seats with arm rests, and more space

  • Charging stations for each seat, digital screens, air conditioning, CCTV and passenger intercoms

  • Dedicated space for luggage, prams, bicycles and wheelchairs, plus accessible toilets

Active transport in our regional cities, centres and towns

A key to supporting the growth and vibrancy of our regional cities, centres and towns through transport is making them places people want to walk and cycle in.

Walking and cycling contribute to the amenity of places. They provide opportunities for social interaction and increase the perception of safety in places through passive surveillance. Places with a high amenity are also generally places people want to travel through and spend time in. This often means more money being spent locally. 

Walking and cycling also have a number of other benefits – they contribute to the health of people by preventing serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and anxiety and depression as well as reduce the impact on the environment when people choose to walk or cycle rather than drive.

Across NSW, Walgett, Barraba, Bourke, Braidwood and Bingara have some of the highest percentages of people who walk to work in their community. Similarly, Bryon Bay, Mullumbimby, Iluka, Broulee and Ballina have some of the highest percentages of people who cycle to work.

Our regional cities, centres and towns already outperform Greater Sydney in the average percentage of people who walk or cycle to work. We will continue to work with local government and other key stakeholders to build on this great base and support our regional cities, centres and towns.

Customer Outcome 5: Responding to changes in land use, population and demand

Changes in land use, population and demand, including seasonal changes, are served by the transport system

Regional communities in NSW have always changed, developing and growing on the back of natural endowments and other economic opportunities. The regional transport network must also change, continuously planning and investing according to the current trends and predicted future needs of regional communities. As well as providing transport amenity in regional NSW, the NSW Government is committed to supporting economic growth and working with local communities, local government, industry and other regional stakeholders to respond to key new economic growth opportunities as they emerge.

This commitment requires an agile transport system which is supporting economic growth and responding to opportunities for new economic activation. We recognise the critical role that transport plays in supporting regional NSW, especially the role of the visitor economy, and in turn the role that regional NSW plays in the broader NSW and Australian economies. In this Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan, and also the supporting Future Transport Plans such as the Freight and Ports Plan and the Tourism and Transport Plan, we’re investigating initiatives which:

  • Connect communities and businesses conveniently, efficiently and safely to their regional centre or city and onwards to capital cities and international markets
  • Enable significant holiday and weekend movements associated with the visitor economy, seasonal demands related to agriculture and movements of Fly-in Fly-out workers
  • Increase frequencies and span of hours for public transport services
  • Deliver the most appropriate type of service for customer needs
  • Improve port connections catering for significant freight movements and enabling improved market access and distribution.

Taking an integrated approach to transport services, infrastructure and land use allows us to more accurately predict and more appropriately respond to emerging trends including:

  • Demographic trends within regions such as population growth
  • Urbanisation such as the shift from rural areas to regional cities and centres
  • Densification of land use such as is occurring along transport corridors, within identified centres and in proximity to areas of high land value and amenity.

Catering for the seasonal demand in Jindabyne

Every year the number of people in Jindabyne more than doubles in the winter ski season. This population grows even more during the school holiday periods and over weekends.

With this population growth there is an increase in demand for travel options to connect residents, temporary workers and visitors to where they need to go.

At peak times the existing road network reaches capacity. Weather events can mean road closures and travel delays.

Both Government and private operators are working to deliver solutions to improve travel options in the Snowy Mountains region.

The NSW Government has provided $20 million to build new overtaking lanes and improve safety on the Monaro Highway and Kosciusko Road. See http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/south-coast/monaro-highway-kosciuszko-road/index.html for more information.

Private coach operators run seasonal services from Canberra and Sydney to the ski resorts during the peak winter months. 

Additional flights are available over winter between Sydney and the Snowy Mountains Airport.

The point to point transport reforms have also opened up new opportunities for how transport services are provided. Local businesses have since been established in the Snowy Mountains region that provide people and groups direct and personalised transport.

Although there's still more work to be done, these are just some of the examples of how both Government and private industry are responding to changes in population and demand.

Customer Outcome 6: Economic development is enabled by regional transport services and infrastructure

Regional businesses and tourism are enabled by appropriate, coordinated, efficient and effective transport services and infrastructure

Providing transport amenity, supporting growth & realising potential

The NSW Government’s Regional Development Framework provides an overall vision across Government for regional development in NSW and acts as a point of reference for work such as Future Transport.

Critically, through the Regional Development Framework, the NSW Government recognises the importance of ensuring all regional communities can access the essential services of a modern economy. The NSW Government believes our geography brings enormous opportunity, and should not deter people from choosing where they live, work and play.

Transport plays a major role in bringing this vision to life through three underlying programs of investments which are best described as:

  1. Providing quality transport services and infrastructure in regional NSW – ensuring a baseline set of transport services across regional NSW
  2. Aligning effort to support growing regional centres, acknowledging the needs of areas with strong growth in population, jobs or both
  3. Identifying and activating economic potential through new transport services and infrastructure.

Freight

The freight industry is one of the key drivers of regional economies. A number of service and infrastructure initiatives identified in this plan are targeted at addressing inefficiencies in the regional transport network which are impacting freight costs. A number of initiatives are also targeted at identifying and preserving key freight precincts and corridors to address urbanisation.

The rail corridors in the Hunter region move the most volumes of freight in the state with the major commodity being coal to Newcastle port. The Newell Highway, the Pacific Highway and the Hume Highway are currently the major road freight routes which carry over 10,000 kilotonnes per annum.

Over the next 20 years, rail freight growth is expected along the corridors in the Hunter, Illawarra and Sydney, with much associated with accessing the three major ports. Road freight flows are expected to grow along the Pacific Highway, Hume Highway, Newell Highway corridors as well as the western half of the Sturt Highway.

Post 2036, road freight growth is expected to continue along the major north-south and east-west corridors across the state providing inter and intra state connectivity. However, the growth rate of coal, which is the biggest volume of freight movement in NSW, is expected to slow over the long term, and by 2036 its growth could be very modest, which will impact rail freight demand, particularly in the Hunter Valley Coal Chain.

We aim for regional NSW to having a modern multi-modal freight transport network with high quality service standards in cost, efficiency, safety, access and automation. We aim to lift freight productivity in regional NSW above recent results, in order to achieve a future with higher living standards through economic growth, and to minimise increases in congestion and other community impacts. Initiatives identified in this plan such as enabling HPVs have the potential to increase the competitiveness of regional businesses resulting in increased employment and lower costs to consumers.

Our detailed approach to the freight task in regional NSW is addressed in the draft Future Transport Freight and Ports Plan. We are working to fully integrate our strategy and planning across all tiers and areas of Government. For instance, the final Future Transport Freight and Ports Plan is being developed to align with the Australian Government Freight & Supply Chain Strategy, the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy, Department of Planning and Environment Regional Plans, and Regional Economic Development Plans.

Air freight

The NSW air freight task is a relatively small but strategically and economically significant part of the NSW economy. Domestic air freight movements are vital to business and industry in regional areas due to the diverse and high-value range of products which travel by air in the regions, such as medical supplies and high value electronic equipment. Air freight also provides fast delivery of time-sensitive fresh produce such as seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Air freight is moved by commercial operators in two ways; either using specialist freight aircraft or within the belly-holds of passenger aircraft. Due to the small size of passenger planes that serve many regional airports as well as runway size constraints, many industries rely on specialist, just in time, air freight services.

Regional NSW businesses are also increasingly accessing air freight through emerging international freight gateways such as Canberra airport and the privately funded Wellcamp airport in Queensland. The development of Western Sydney Airport and its associated freight capability will provide potential new routes for regional freight and expanded operating times to support increased aircraft movements from regional airports.

The visitor economy

The visitor economy is one of the key drivers of regional economies. Service and infrastructure initiatives identified in this plan are targeted at supporting the attraction of people to regional NSW and also an uplift in the tourist experience through improved transport infrastructure and end-to-end customer journey offerings. Initiatives such as road improvements, integrated ticketing and cruise facilities have the potential to deliver improved visitor experience resulting in new regional jobs and economic growth. Our detailed approach to both the freight task and the visitor economy in regional NSW are addressed in two supporting plans; the Future Transport Freight and Ports Strategy and the Future Transport Tourism Plan respectively.

Rail trails

Rail trails unlock scenic public land in regional areas offering tourists and local residents a safe option to walk, cycle, jog or use other non-motorised forms of transport such as bicycles. The economic benefit of rail trails includes the creation of jobs in local communities and other economic benefits for local businesses associated with tourism such as increase expenditure on accommodation, food and participation in regional events.

In June 2015, the NSW Government announced $4.9 million funding for the Rosewood to Tumbarumba Rail Trail pilot project. The proponent demonstrated effective community consultation, a viable operating model and the ability to generate economic benefits.

In June 2017, following significant community engagement and work by local and NSW Government agencies in the proposed rail trail, the NSW Government passed the Transport Administration Amendment (Closure of Railway Line between Rosewood and Tumbarumba) Act 2017, which has allowed the development of the Rosewood to Tumbarumba rail trail.

This pilot rail trail project is providing the opportunity to both identify the full range of tourism and recreational opportunities presented by rail trails and also clarify and address issues such as biosecurity and privacy related to the establishment of rail trails on disused rail corridors in NSW. The NSW Government is also undertaking consultation with communities that are proposing to develop rail trails to inform Government about community attitudes to future rail trail development.

The NSW Government retains ownership and control of the public land associated with rail trail development, therefore preserving the rail corridor for re-opening in the future should it be required.

Inland rail

The Inland Rail project is a significant addition to the NSW rail freight network which provides an opportunity to consider freight network fundamentals and also to realise a range of benefits for NSW industries. 

In a competitive business environment, industry are naturally seeking information and certainty to plan, invest, and ultimately increase revenues and reduce costs. A key focus for the NSW Government is to ensure that Inland Rail optimises the movement of freight in regional NSW through efficient linkages to NSW ports and the development of economically sustainable freight hubs by the private sector at appropriate locations along the route. For example, Parkes as a regional centre with a key strategic location along the Inland Rail route is emerging as a logical major freight hub in the future.

All levels of Government are working together to realise the potential of Inland Rail for regional NSW

The Australian and NSW Governments have provided grant funding to local government through the Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Development Program to undertake studies and planning to optimise the commercial and other economic development opportunities associated with the Inland Rail project. Funding has been made available to Local Government Areas along the Inland Rail route including Moree Plains Shire Council and Narrabri Shire Council to undertake activity such as strategic planning and preliminary design work including identifying road access and critical ‘last mile needs’ especially with a view to new major intermodal opportunities.

The NSW Government is working collaboratively with the Australian Government and ARTC to deal with a large number of complex issues. This plan identifies a number of early initiatives for investigation, such as bridge upgrades to allow double stacking on the Inland Rail, however the final NSW Freight and Ports Plan will reflect the final arrangements agreed with the Australian Government and ARTC. It will also consider the infrastructure investment requirements to address east-west rail implications such as network upgrades to key rail hubs and junctions with a focus on more efficient connections between inland NSW and global gateway ports on the coast.

Intermodal terminals (IMTs) will enable growth

IMTs play a critical role in the transport of freight, facilitating improved productivity and efficiency across the network, and acting as a key enabler for increasing rail share. By facilitating landside efficiencies, IMTs also ease capacity constraints at NSW ports and the surrounding road network resulting from growing containerised freight volumes. The introduction of Inland Rail and the strengthening of connections to the State's ports provide the opportunities for IMT's to play a larger role in growing regional NSW's economic output.

There are currently 45 sites identified as intermodal container terminals in regional NSW (sites outside the Sydney Trains network), with 33 operational, 10 proposed (in planning) and two currently non-operational.

Within Greater Newcastle, intermodal facilities are operated by freight forwarders and transport operators at strategic locations. In other regional areas, the terminals have generally evolved around pre-existing rail infrastructure with few greenfield sites being developed as intermodal terminals.

There are three operational ‘border’ sites at Bromelton (QLD), Merbein (VIC) and Wodonga (VIC) which attract freight from NSW. There is also a proposed ‘border’ site at Fyshwick (ACT) and a non-operational terminal at Kingston (ACT). Another terminal at Goondiwindi (QLD) is currently only supporting road based operations.

Intermodals are commercial enterprises operating for profit. The NSW Government has an important role to support the private sector transport industry and broader regional economic development, including working with businesses to identify and realise investment opportunities which provide an appropriate benefit to regional communities and their economy. In a transport context, this can include working with proponents on issues such as planning and provision of multi-user last-mile transport infrastructure connection. However the final decision on the viability, investment, location, services, private-use infrastructure, warehousing and logistics of commercial enterprises such as IMTs is a decision for private operators.

The Inland Rail project may encourage the development of new IMTs in regional areas where the new alignment could allow the operation of longer or heavier trains. A key focus for NSW is to ensure that Inland Rail optimises the movement of freight in regional NSW through efficient linkages to NSW ports and the development of economically sustainable freight hubs by the private sector at appropriate locations. Efficient links to Port Botany, Newcastle port and Port Kembla will be essential.

Regional Economic Development Strategies will support regional-level planning

The NSW Government and local Councils, in collaboration with industry, are completing Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) covering all regions in NSW in the first half of 2018. The REDS identify a range of projects and other initiatives, including transport projects and initiatives, which can be undertaken to support and stimulate regional growth. Where these strategies identify state-wide transport projects or initiatives they have been considered in Future Transport whilst region-specific or local projects and initiatives will be considered during the development of region-level plans.

Red Bend Silo last mile road improvements

In 2016/17 an upgrade of 4km of local roads connecting to the Newell Highway has enabled road train access to Red Bend Silo, resulting in greater economic value and fewer vehicle movements.

Red Bend Silo is a grain receival site located in Red Bend near Forbes, Central West NSW. The site processes 60,000 tonnes of grain per year on average and is identified by GrainCorp as a primary site.

Prior to the road upgrades road train access was not available from the Newell Highway to the Red Bend Silo as there were three undersized intersections as well as road sections with overly narrow pavement widths. As a result smaller combinations of heavy vehicles had to be used, or road trains had to be decoupled into smaller units.

Enabling road train access has significantly reduced the volume of trucks on the road, creating an economic benefit for many stakeholders, including farmers, truck operators and GrainCorp by increasing the efficiency of this task. Local councils and RMS have also benefited from reduced wear and tear on road infrastructure.

Customer Outcome 7: Safety

A safe transport system for every customer with zero deaths or serious injuries on the network by 2056

Every customer reaching their destination safely is the most fundamental requirement of the transport system, and NSW will have a network with zero trauma by 2056. Over the past 5 years an average of 350 lives have been lost and more than 12,000 serious injuries have occurred every year, while the cost of trauma to the community is over $7b a year (Source: Centre for Road Safety, data 2013 to 2017).

Regional road safety

This is a particular challenge on regional roads, where one-third of the population live but two-thirds of road deaths occur. The Road Safety Plan 2021 sets new priorities and helps NSW work towards the State Priority Target of a 30 per cent reduction in road fatalities from 2008-2010 levels by 2021. New road safety targets will be set every 10 years to continue to move Towards Zero trauma on our roads by 2056.

We will work towards achieving zero deaths or serious injuries through a Safe System approach where we plan services and design infrastructure to integrate with human behaviour to prevent trauma. It involves all elements of the system (infrastructure, vehicles, speeds and people) working together to ensure safety and in a way that accounts for human error.

[3] Definition of regional NSW in this graphic differs from that in Road Safety Plan 2021 released 6 February 2018.

Saving Lives on Country Roads program

To address the trauma experienced on regional roads, the NSW Government will implement a new Saving Lives on Country Roads program to install and upgrade safety features on country roads and reduce run off road crashes, crashes on curves and head on crashes. It will:

  • Address high risk curves through improved curve signage, widened shoulders, vehicle activated signage and safety barriers
  • Reduce crash types commonly related to lane departure and driver fatigue by installing wide centre lines, flexible barriers, audio tactile (rumble) line marking and sealed shoulders
  • Deliver a targeted Saving Lives on Country Roads public education campaign
  • Partner with local councils, community groups and industry to support grassroots Towards Zero initiatives
  • Ongoing targeted Police enforcement to reduce risky behaviour common in crashes on country roads
  • Enhance planning and design of major road projects and upgrades with safety at the core
  • Identify high risk roads and, in consultation with the community, review travel speeds where there are limited road safety features protecting people if there is a crash
  • Continue to deliver the Safer Roads Program to improve road safety on country roads, including works to upgrade features on regional motorcycling routes.

These initiatives will be integrated with other initiatives identified throughout the Road Safety Plan 2021 to deliver a safer road system in regional NSW. This includes measures to increase the uptake of safe vehicles by regional NSW residents, enhance enforcement to shift unsafe behaviour, deliver targeted public education, implement legislative changes to allow camera based technology to enforce mobile phone use offences and engage with regional NSW communities, councils and businesses.

Level crossings

There are more than 3,800 level crossings in NSW. Of these more than half are on public roads, with the remainder on private roads. Level crossing collisions between trains and vehicles are a major road safety risk.

Individual rail and road agencies are responsible for managing and funding level crossing safety on their rail networks. Local government agencies are asked to contribute one-third of the cost for level crossing upgrades on local roads.

Level Crossing Improvement Program

We allocate supplementary funding for level crossing upgrades and to support initiatives such as safety awareness and police enforcement campaigns through the Level Crossing Improvement Program (LCIP).

Upgrade locations funded by the LCIP are identified through a priority ranking approach using the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM), a review of NSW safety incident data and consultation with relevant road managers and rail infrastructure managers.

Level Crossing Policy

To minimise risks to the public, Transport for NSW has developed two policy positions:

  • Construction of new level crossings – new level crossings are to be avoided and all other options including grade separation and use of existing level crossings should be explored before a new crossing is proposed

  • Level crossing closures – public and private level crossings should be closed wherever it is practical and cost effective to do so. Access can often be managed by a grade separation or by redirecting traffic via an alternate route.

https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/programs/level-crossing-safety

Technology making our roads safer

Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure to improve road safety. Drivers receive alerts about upcoming hazards and traffic signal information. The technology is sometimes referred to as ‘connected vehicles’.

The NSW Centre for Road Safety has established Australia's first C-ITS testing facility. Based in the Illawarra region, the trial has fitted C-ITS technology to:

  • 60 trucks, 11 public buses, 2 light vehicles and 1 motorcycle

  • 3 signalised intersections, broadcasting signal phase information to C-ITS equipped vehicles

  • 1 portable roadside unit broadcasting speed limit information to C-ITS equipped vehicles

  • 3 portable roadside units receiving and collecting data from C-ITS equipped vehicles.

Drivers in participating vehicles see the following safety messages:

  • Intersection collision warning

  • Harsh braking ahead warning

  • Red light alert when light is red or amber

  • Speed limit information.

Video showing how the trial of new technology allows drivers to receive safety messages about upcoming hazards:

https://youtu.be/dNgm_QRcwng

CITI Light Vehicle Study

CITI is being expanded to include 50 light passenger vehicles. The study will investigate the potential safety benefits and user friendliness of the system.

http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/research/roadsafetytechnology/cits/citi/light-vehicle-study.html

Wildlife crossings on the Pacific Highway

Animals on our roads are a safety issue. One in every 41 casualty crashes on country roads involves a vehicle hitting an animal (Centre for Road Safety). When animals stray onto the road it’s hard to know what they’ll do next. Kangaroos, wombats, emus and stray stock can move fast and be extremely unpredictable.

The upgrade of the Pacific Highway has been recognised across Australia and the world as a leader in reducing animal strikes and maintaining habitat connectivity.

Measures such as fauna crossing structures, food trees and fauna fencing have been implemented along the Pacific Highway to cross upgraded sections of the Pacific Highway.

This ensures that animals, including koalas, potoroo and other species can successfully cross the road.

The section between Woolgoolga and Ballina is currently being upgraded with:

  • 25 fauna crossing structures

  • 130 hectares of koala food trees to encourage koalas to access the crossing structures

  • 16 kilometres of fauna fencing to prevent animals from reaching the roadway.

Customer Outcome 8Network Resilience

A transport system that is resilient to significant weather events, including floods, fog and bush fires

Weather events impacting the transport network affect connectivity and can have significant social and economic costs for regional communities and businesses. Remote areas, in particular the State’s west, face significant resilience challenges. Increased resilience in the transport system will improve access and reduce isolation for communities affected by severe weather events and also avoid service disruptions and associated negative impacts on business costs and the regional economy.

Types of severe weather events and their potential impacts include:

  • Closure of a major highway due to flooding or bushfire increasing travel times, isolation and costs to business as well as reducing access to homes, services, employment, and tourism
  • Closure of a rail line due to extreme heat or bushfire impacting on the short-term usability of infrastructure and services by both passenger and freight customers
  • Regional flights grounded due to fog which impacts the timely movement of people and freight to their destination.

The challenge may increase if extreme weather events become more frequent. Asset planning needs to continue to consider how drainage can be built in to the road network, so that our roads don’t inadvertently act as flood levy banks.

Inland and Remote areas, in particular the Far West, face resilience issues. Given the region’s remoteness, and relative transport disadvantage, transport has a critical role in providing access to essential services.

The introduction of the hub and spoke model will be fundamental to the way in which regional resilience is planned. Ensuring that regional centres, towns and remote communities are connected to their regional cities will provide redundancy in the transport network to cope with and respond to local events and broader natural disasters.

Investment decisions in regional transport assets, and also the standard to which they are designed, will take account of future climate risks and the need for increased resilience. If extreme weather events become more frequent, the long term costs of being prepared by making assets more resilient to extreme weather events is likely to be lower than the cost of recovery.

Costs of the Newell Highway closure in 2016

A study was undertaken to estimate the direct and indirect cost of the flooding in the Bland Creek catchment which led to the closure of the Newell Highway between West Wyalong and Forbes. The road was closed on 23 September 2016 and reopened on 4 November 2016. A total of 43 days.

Cost identified included:

  • Increased road freight transport costs
  • Loss in tourism expenditures
  • Loss of agriculture production
  • Increased road maintenance expenditure.

https://infrastructure.gov.au/transport/freight/freight-supply-chain-submissions/Newell_Highway_flood_report.pdf

Resilience initiatives

A number of initiatives identified in this plan are part of building a resilient network.

  • Resilience Package – improving immunity for flood prone regional roads.
  • Road sealing initiatives such as the Wool Track and Silver City Highway and the continuation of Sealing Country Roads Program.
  • Slopes and culverts condition program – program to progressively address and improve the conditions of slopes and culverts in the network.
  • Investigate implementation of traffic incident and information services for management of all road closures (ie floods and natural disasters)
  • Road improvements such as Golden Highway, Henry Parkes Way, Barrier Highway (Dubbo-Broken Hill), Castlereagh Highway (Mudgee-Lithgow), the Lakes Way corridor, New England Highway, Oxley Highway, Kamilaroi Highway, Summerland Way, Gwydir Highway, Sturt Highway, Kidman Way, Newell Highway, Snowy Mountains Highway, Lismore to Bangalow Road, Lachlan Valley Way and Mitchell Highway will include flood immunity works.

Customer Outcome 9: Accessibility to employment and services

Accessibility to employment and services such as health, education, retail and cultural activities within regional cities and centres

Tomorrow’s transport system will see personalised, integrated service provision and a fully accessible network that enables people who find it difficult to access transport services today to use transport when and how they want to in the future.

Improving transport access for regional NSW encompasses three key themes:

  • Geographic accessibility
  • Social accessibility
  • Accessibility for people with mobility constraints, which is particularly important with our growing and ageing population.

Accessibility outcomes

Geographic Accessibility

Social Accessibility

Accessibility for people with mobility constraints

Greater coverage

x

x

-

Improved information and legibility

-

x

-

Flexible and personalised services

x

x

x

An equitable and uniform fare structure

-

x

-

Physical infrastructure

-

x

x

Greater accessibility will mean better connections to places and opportunities for employment, education, business and enjoyment, especially for those people with few transport options today:

  • people living in remote communities and smaller towns
  • people of all ages including the young and older age groups
  • people on low incomes
  • people with physical disabilities.

Greater coverage

  • A transport system that provides greater coverage across NSW including day return regional centre connectivity for an expanded geographical catchment
  • Same day connectivity to Global Gateway cities or capitals for all locations in NSW either:
    • directly, by air or rail services
    • indirectly, by bus/coach, air or rail
  • An equitable transport system that provides connections to all settlements
  • A transport network that enables seamless and affordable inter-regional and cross-border travel
    • Transport services improve opportunities for people and industry to travel easily and affordably interstate
    • Travel to your nearest centre or city without penalty
    • We will work collaboratively with other State governments to remove barriers and improve connectivity for communities and industries of NSW.
  • Provide for trips within centres, between centres and between regions
  • Change to land use and activity patterns are responded to and influence the transport network.

Improved information and legibility

A transport system that is easy to understand:

  • Comprehensive, accurate information to promote confidence in the passenger transport system and deliver a positive customer experience
  • Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – real time information and booking access to a broad range of transport modes
  • Wayfinding improvements, visitor information and regional promotion.

Flexible service and personalised services

A transport system that through flexible service delivery models:

  • Provides personalised services
  • Serves multiple destinations (particularly isolated communities)
  • Enables customers to access services (e.g. Health, shopping, etc.) that are not ordinarily available through regular scheduled services.
  • Transport services that support tourism movement demands and seasons.

An equitable and uniform fare structure – alignment of fares in regional NSW with metropolitan Sydney

Following recommendations by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) bus fares in regional NSW will be reduced by almost 30 per cent on average. More affordable fares will provide equity across NSW and encourage social inclusion. The changes will be introduced on 5 March with a simpler fare structure with 10 standard fare bands.

Significantly, for the first time people in regional NSW will be able to purchase a Daily Ticket that will provide them with unlimited travel within certain sections on a day. Eligible concession holders will pay half the adult fare for the Daily Ticket and the Regional Excursion Daily ticket for pensions will remain at $2.50.

Other recommendations from the IPART review will continue to be investigated such as restructuring services to better match emerging needs, including on demand services. This new fare structure also provides an opportunity to introduce a next generation ticketing system.

Future ticketing for regional customers

As well as the new fare structure for buses in regional NSW there are a number of new ticketing initiatives are underway that will further benefit regional customers:

  • Transport for NSW is trialling new ways customers can pay for their travel such as contactless payments with credit and debit cards on Sydney Ferries. These payment systems are already available in places like London, while Singapore is due to roll-out contactless payments via wearable technology such as smart watches.

  • Investigations into the implementation of on-board technology that tracks vehicles and passenger boardings in regional fleets could facilitate the implementation of next generation ticketing.

  • NSW TrainLink Discovery Pass that offers customers unlimited booked travel anywhere and as often they like on the NSW TrainLink regional train and coach network.

Physical infrastructure

Ongoing improvements to infrastructure including buses, trains, bus stops, train stations, etc. to enable whole of journey accessibility for all customers regardless of age or mobility constraints, through:

  • Transport Access Program (TAP) – delivers upgrades to improve accessibility for all pedestrians to get to, from and around public transport interchanges. The Program ensures that all stations comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act
  • Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Grants Scheme (CPTIGS) for bus stop upgrades.

New express commuter bus service to Lismore 

A new express bus service trial providing better links with the major regional hub of Lismore commenced in December 2017 for 6 months. The service reflects community feedback and provides connectivity from Byron Bay to Lismore via Lennox Head and Ballina to health facilities, a major regional hospital, the University and other services in Lismore. It is aimed at providing an alternative to car travel, enabling customers to get to Lismore before 9.00 and return home after 5.00pm. Previously customers could only access a shared school service.

The new service is an example of how the NSW Government is rethinking the way we move as part of Future Transport 2056. The service is about encouraging more personalised and better transport outcomes over the coming 40 years.

Bourke/Brewarrina to Dubbo day return trial

People from Bourke, Brewarrina and towns along the way will be able to travel safely and comfortably to Dubbo, spend up to four hours in town and return home later that afternoon. Currently, people travelling from Bourke or Brewarrina to Dubbo, have to stay overnight or organise their own return travel as there’s no day return option.

Starting in 2018 as a trial, the additional service(s) will provide more flexibility to travel to the regional centre of Dubbo for medical and business appointments, shopping, recreational activities or to catch-up with friends and family.

Transport for NSW sought community feedback through a survey in late 2017 to help in determining the preferred day(s) and times of travel when the trial begins in 2018.

https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/current-projects/new-coach-services-for-dubbo-region-trial

Customer Outcome 10Improved connectivity, integrated services and better use of capacity

Customers will enjoy improved efficiency and reliability from their network

An efficient and reliable network

A future regional transport network will:

  • provide reduced journey times and increased reliability

  • provide improved accessibility and coverage

  • keep our communities connected (especially for Inland and Remote geographies that are more reliant on the road network for connectivity)

  • improve the efficiency and safety of freight and passenger movements, especially those that move east-west.

We will improve the efficiency of the regional transport network by:

  • taking advantage of technology advancements to improve the efficiency of the transport system

  • creating an integrated transport system that connects communities, consisting of services within centres, services between centres, services between regions.

  • improving multi-modal interchanges in regional cities and centres to enable seamless connections with local services e.g.

    • utilising demand responsive services from remote towns and villages to interchanges within regional cities and centres

    • facilitating easy and direct walking and cycling access to and from interchanges, through wayfinding as well as provision of bike storage/end-of-trip facilities

    • breaking down the regulatory barriers to efficient cross-border travel and trade.

Improved productivity of the broader road network and rail network

The productivity of the regional road network will be improved through:

  • Continued additional investment in the road network through the Fixing Country Roads program, as well as the harmonisation of heavy vehicle regulations

  • Investment in heavy vehicle access to provide the critical linkage from main roads (including regional road network) to highways and strategic road corridors, while ensuring exposure to risk is managed

  • Implementing the movement and place road planning framework to enhance the movement corridors and place function of our regional cities and centres

  • Undertaking a NSW Roads Classification Review to ensure investment and asset management is funded and managed by the appropriate levels of government to meet future movements

  • Improvements for the crossing of the Great Dividing Range from the Central West and Orana via Great Western Highway for freight movements and the Bells Line of Road corridor as an alternative corridor to Sydney and the Golden Highway to Newcastle

The regional rail network will be improved through:

  • Investment in Faster Rail between the key Global Gateways (Newcastle, Canberra) and Satellite cities (Wollongong, Gosford) through major investment in track straightening, signalling improvements to maximise the operational capabilities of the New Intercity Fleet and new Regional Rail Fleet Project.

  • Replacement of the entire regional Rail Fleet which will lead to improved levels of passenger comfort and operational performance as well as providing jobs for regional cities

  • Investment in east-west rail capacity from the Inland regions to the Ports to capitalise on the opportunities generated by Inland Rail

  • Introduction of the More Trains, More Services Program which will facilitate the separation of inner urban and intercity services and freight on the T1 Western and Northern line and the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line

  • Select investments through the Fixing Country Rail program in the non-mainline rail network to improve rail freight productivity such as improvements to axle weight capacity, track speeds, siding lengths

  • In coordination with the Australian Government, investigate improvements to lines leased by ARTC (remove speed restrictions, curve easing etc.)

Improved connectivity to ports

Planning for future growth in the movement of goods across NSW and within our regional areas is critical to improve reliability in the import / export freight supply chain. In addition to three main NSW ports at Port Botany, Port Kembla and Newcastle, the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane will become increasingly important to the Riverina Murray and Northern NSW respectively with the implementation of Inland Rail.

Newcastle port

The Newcastle port is the world’s largest coal export port, and one of Australia’s largest ports with 168 million tonnes handled in 2016. In addition to coal, other cargoes include alumina, petroleum, fertilisers, grains, cement and steel. The Newcastle port will continue to be the primary coal export facility for NSW, and will continue to diversify into other commodities including fuel as well as supporting the growing cruise ship industry. 

The value of cruising to the Hunter region has been estimated at approximately $11 million per year, and is set to grow. The Newcastle cruise terminal has already been announced and is funded.

Two hundred hectares of vacant port land is available for future port capacity development, representing over 25% of total land holdings at the Newcastle port. The growth and diversification of the Hunter region will stimulate a requirement to expand the port’s facilities with strong support for the investigation of containerised freight facilities.

Improved road and rail connections, from regions such as the Central West and Orana and New England North West feed into the Newcastle port and will contribute to growth.

Improved separation of freight and passenger trains – what’s good for rail freight is good for rail passengers

Better separation of freight and passenger trains is a key focus of our plans for the future, providing real benefits to both these customers. One of the limitations on more freight being carried by train both within regional NSW and on the corridors connecting it to Greater Sydney is that freight trains mainly rely on tracks that are shared with passenger trains.

As passenger trains are prioritised, this means moving freight by rail is often less reliable and efficient than other forms of transport.

We will address this by investing in more dedicated freight rail lines, providing dedicated link between Port Botany and intermodal terminals in the Western Parkland City. This includes upgrading the Port Botany rail line to increase capacity and investigating delivery of the Western Sydney Freight Line to provide 24/7 dedicated freight rail access between the port and intermodal terminals.

To improve the reliability of connections between Greater Sydney and regional NSW, we will also investigate capacity improvements to the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor and Southern Sydney Freight Line and protection of a Lower Hunter Freight Corridor.

Port Kembla

Port Kembla handles commodities such as grain, coal and motor vehicles. Port Kembla will act as a progressive overflow facility for Port Botany once its operational capacity has been reached for containerised freight. This is expected to occur after 2040, with Port Kembla requiring development to increase its capacity to accommodate the overflow.

There are existing challenges accessing Port Kembla, including interaction with the metropolitan network for volumes from Central West and Orana, sharing of the Illawarra line with passenger trains, the limitations of Moss Vale to Unanderra line.

The NSW Government supports the use of rail for the movement of freight. While there is sufficient rail capacity in the short to medium term, freight rail access to Port Kembla is recognised by Infrastructure Australia as an initiative of national priority.

Port of Eden

The Port of Eden is the southernmost deep water harbour in NSW on the Sapphire Coast. The Port of Eden services the needs of regional industries, including fishing, forestry exports and, is an emerging cruise ship destination, whilst playing an important role for the Royal Australian Navy.

The Port of Eden Infrastructure Improvement Program is delivering new boating infrastructure to improve maritime safety in Twofold Bay. The NSW Government has also committed $32 million for the Breakwater Wharf Extension Project, which will allow cruise ships to berth in Eden rather than the current transfer of passengers via tender to the wharf.

Port of Yamba

The Port of Yamba is located at the mouth of the Clarence River. It serves the North Coast region and is the home port of the state's second largest fishing fleet, handling a range of commodities.

It is currently the smallest port in NSW, with only 18 trading vessel visits for 2015-16. Although Yamba has the potential to have a greater role as an export point for the agricultural and fisheries production of northern NSW, it is not currently viable to substantially expand port facilities due to environmental constraints.

Coastal shipping

The NSW Government understands that further investigation is warranted to assess the feasibility and viability to expand NSW inter and intra state coastal shipping, with particular regard to alleviating potential road and rail freight network constraints.

The challenges to freight cargo from inland or regional NSW, for example to coastal destinations, place substantial demand on the existing road and rail infrastructure network, as well as raise changes in the areas of road congestion and fatalities. Such an investigation will factor in the economic constraints, such as coastal freight pricing, infrastructure requirements and investment by industry.

We cannot rely on the physical network alone to deliver transport solutions

Whilst infrastructure provision is important, it is just one lever which can be pulled along with policy and service provision. There needs to be a focus on journey outcomes through appropriate modes and different models of service delivery.

Travel experiences need to be safe, as well as more personalised, flexible and easy to undertake. And the diverse needs of different customer groups all need to be addressed.

The way we deliver services will change, including Government’s role. There will be a greater focus on customer outcomes – Government must anticipate and influence market forces to ensure the future transport landscape delivers on our objectives for the network. There is also a shift to TfNSW being the purchaser of services rather than the default provider.

Better land use planning will enable better management of the transport network and more efficient road space allocation will result in a reduced reliance on new infrastructure.

Maximising service delivery for community transport customers

Transport for NSW has invested in a new trip booking, vehicle scheduling and tracking technology for the community transport sector in NSW, known as CTABS (Centralised Trip Allocation & Booking System).

CTABS is a proven “Uber”-like system that enables community transport providers to improve the demand responsiveness of services to changing customer needs (e.g. short-notice bookings and cancellations). CTABS is about building capacity of community transport providers to meet future customer demand; both increasing services to existing customers and meeting the needs of a rapidly ageing population.

CTABS has potential to reduce costs of services for customers and government by enabling improved usage of vehicle and staff resources. For example drivers interact with a tablet in their vehicle so that staff in the office know where they are and when clients have been picked up or dropped off. Customer bookings can be added or removed from the driver’s scheduled trip list based on where the driver is located.

If the signal to the tablet is lost in a mobile black spot, the tablet continues to record driver interactions and updates automatically once back in signal range. Drivers can also send automatic notifications to the office in the event of mechanical failure or an emergency.