Successful places for communities

Along with our focus on mobility, we develop transport solutions that enhance the character and identity of successful local places with a focus on enabling access for all. This includes contributing to making public spaces in cities and towns that are smart, attractive, sustainable, accessible and economically successful. NSW’s Movement and Place Framework recognises that streets are not just about moving people and goods; they are places for people to live, work and spend time

To deliver successful places for communities across NSW, we will harness smart sensors, technologies and analytics and provide transport solutions that make places more liveable, accessible and sustainable. We will encourage an increase in the use of public transport, walking and cycling, based on customer insights and feedback, to better understand and cater to local communities’ needs and preferences, so that by 2024 NSW is:

  • Contributing to place making: creating transport solutions that enhance the character and identity of local communities and enable access for all
  • Towards net zero emissions: accelerating the switch to alternative sources of energy and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles
  • Protecting the environment: placing the environment at the forefront of design, service delivery and operations
  • Strengthening regional connections: creating new options for connecting regional communities and effective movement of goods
  • Increasing network resilience: strengthening our network and assets to minimise disruptions from extreme events
  • Enabling active lives: making walking and bike riding a real option for our customers and communities
  • Engaging respectfully with communities to deliver transport solutions: consulting and listening to all communities, including Aboriginal communities, where our staff and contractors work

Contributing to place making

Technologies and data help make successful places smarter and more responsive to changing needs. NSW’s Smart Places Strategy and Smart Infrastructure Policy commit Transport to embedding sensors and technology into all major infrastructure projects, sharing data and insights to drive better informed decisions, and improving the productivity, liveability and resilience of centres. Smart places are technology enabled people-friendly public spaces, with high-quality amenity, easy access for pedestrians and cyclists, and that are accessible for a diverse range of people.

Smart places have digital technologies tailored to local needs, including dedicated communications networks; smart CCTV, smart lighting, predictive analytics, and emergency systems to reduce crime; SCATS smart traffic signalling and real-time route planning to reduce congestion; and real-time intelligent sensors to monitor air quality and the movement of people and vehicles, including freight.

We are working on smart kerbs and streets that use technologies to support smart places and place making objectives, including street designs that are ready for electric, connected and automated vehicles and related services. It is also possible to integrate smart places and data driven digital engineering processes into digital models like a Digital Twin being a 3D and 4D digital spatial data model of our built and natural environments, to improve community engagement, planning, construction, operations and maintenance of places.

Protecting the environment and moving towards net zero emissions

The transport sector is the second largest, and the fastest growing, source of greenhouse gas emissions and creates air pollution impacts on communities. NSW is placing the environment at the forefront of design, service delivery and operations, and is accelerating the switch to alternative sources of energy with the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles to support NSW’s Net Zero Plan goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Transport’s Future Energy Strategy and Action Plan commits to securing our transport energy needs from sustainable sources and supports the transport sector's transition to net zero emissions by 2050.  

Electric vehicles offer major cost savings for households and businesses with cleaner, quieter operations, and could account for 50 per cent of new car sales by 20304. Already, over 68,000 motorists have opted for an electric or hybrid vehicle5, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by up to three tonnes per car each year.

Transport has already supported additional charging points for electric vehicles and aims to transition its entire fleet of over 8,000 mainly diesel buses to clean and quiet zero-emissions buses, powered by net zero energy. Over 50 electric buses have been ordered and plans are underway to expand the transition across metropolitan and regional areas. As the first Australasian port to join the International EcoPorts network, the Port of Newcastle has committed to integrating sustainable practices, including its transition to a fully electric vehicle fleet.

NSW’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Model Availability Program provides financial incentives to help fleet managers for businesses, councils and not-for-profit organisations purchase light passenger and commercial electric vehicles and install charging points. With NSW’s large fleets, these incentives encourage importers to offer more affordable models into the Australian market.

Light and medium electric commercial vehicles are now available and more electric heavy vehicles are being trialled. While the technology is not yet advanced, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could transform the heavy freight sector and use hydrogen produced from renewables with low or zero emissions. Transport will investigate opportunities for electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses and freight vehicles.

4 Energeia (2018), Australian Electric Vehicle Market Study.
5 As at 31 December 2020

In addition, Transport will roll out new hybrid diesel-electric regional passenger trains from 2023 and investigate further opportunities to capture regenerated energy on electric rail. There are also opportunities for strategic collaboration with electricity distributors to integrate energy and transport networks, such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy exchange using smart meters, battery storage, and expanding the use of renewable energy as it comes on line.

For example: Sydney Metro has committed to offsetting 100 per cent of its operational electricity. Metro North West Line has a power purchase agreement with the Beryl Solar Farm, which operates 355,000 solar modules in Central Western NSW.

Further sustainability improvements will flow from new services that use vehicles and transport networks more efficiently, including MaaS where customers can combine private, shared and public transport, rather than rely on a private car. MaaS and On-Demand shared services, combined with electric and automated vehicles, offer customer more choices, convenience and affordability with better community amenity, while minimising vehicle numbers on the road, congestion and environmental impacts.

Walking, cycling and micromobility options, such as electric bikes, help lower emissions for short trips and can provide connections to public transport. Intelligent Transport Systems - the control and information systems that use integrated communications and data processing to improve mobility, increase safety, manage congestion and incidents - also support sustainability by improving traffic flow and reducing energy consumption on road and rail networks.

Strengthening regional connections

Our vision for regional NSW is to create new options for connecting regional communities and for the effective movement of goods. Future Transport 2056’s Regional Services and Infrastructure Plan commits to providing safe and reliable travel options, and supporting regional investment by connecting manufacturers and producers to domestic and international markets.

As a priority program by 2024, Transport is committed to a major technology uplift to transform passenger and freight mobility in regional NSW, with technologies delivering real-time service information and digital ticketing across all public transport services, cutting-edge technologies that contribute to smart regional cities, and improved digital connectivity at transport hubs and on major train services.

Regional areas will have more charging points for electric vehicles and will host more trials of automated vehicles. We will add regional data to the Digital Twin to help plan further improvements and pave the way for the adoption of emerging services like ridesharing and MaaS, for cleaner and more liveable regional centres, and for more efficient delivery of freight.

Regional freight customers will benefit from increased efficiency at multimodal facilities, more real-time information, and improved rail freight traffic management with telematics and freight routes optimised to reduce network disruption.

Increasing network resilience

Transport is strengthening the transport networks and assets to minimise disruptions from extreme events such as bushfires and COVID-19. These events require us to quickly respond and adapt, while remaining focused on how we deliver for our customers and communities.

We quickly responded to COVID-19 by using reporting tools to track daily patronage, run capacity modelling and offer digital customer information to support physical distancing in, or near to, real time. Our predictive and personalised COVID Safe travel notifications on the Opal Travel app use advanced algorithms to inform customers if their regular service is safe for travel and our live traffic information is now integrated with current bushfire status information from the Rural Fire Service.

We applied capacity checking tools on the Trip Planner and other travel apps such as Opal Travel, TripGo, NextThere, AnyTrip, TripView, Citymapper and Google Maps, showing real-time capacity on bus, train, metro and light rail services. We also developed an Interactive Travel Insights Tool that shows the latest travel trends for each mode on the public transport network across Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

Further technology applications like drones and CCTV are monitoring network assets and provide situational awareness for daily operations and management to minimise the impacts of disruptions and provide more reliable journeys. We are also investigating technologies to assess assets needing replacement, to achieve more reliable, flexible, cost effective and resilient solutions.

Another important aspect of network resilience is the protection of our related digital and data network assets. NSW recognises the value of data as an asset and has adopted the principles and guidance of the NSW Infrastructure Data Management Framework. Transport will continue to work towards the consistent management of infrastructure data across the infrastructure asset lifecycle.

Enabling active lives

Transport is delivering on the vision to make walking and cycling more attractive options, particularly for shorter trips and connections to public transport. Walking and cycling are integral to our transport system and contribute to successful places with over 1.1 billion trips a year made on foot or by bicycle in NSW, including around 600 million trips associated with a public transport journey. Transport’s 2020/21 Walking and Cycling Program is designed to make walking and cycling the most convenient option for short trips, to reduce congestion, and for health and environmental benefits.

This is why we have added technology programs that give walking and cycling options across NSW, with more insights from sensors to track usage, intelligent systems granting priority through the network, and expanded information and choices for customers. Technology also supports customer information on pop-up cycleways, expanded digital information for bicycle riders, touchless pedestrian crossings, and notifying motorists of lower speed limits to provide a safer environment.

Engaging respectfully with communities to deliver transport solutions

Transport is committed to engaging with, and listening to, the views of all communities to develop successful places that are more liveable and sustainable.

We have applied more digital tools for community engagement with environmental assessments and approvals on interactive platforms. The community is able to access detailed technical information more readily to better understand how infrastructure delivery and operations will impact and benefit them, and to provide feedback particularly where face-to-face engagement is not possible or convenient.