A high-speed rail network in Australia would create many benefits by reshaping cities and regional communities along its route.
NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance announces a move to the next stage of planning for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project in November 2019.
Once again, the state looks intent on pressing ahead with a huge road project without releasing a business case. Among the many concerns is the failure to look at lower-emission alternatives.
The continued upward trend in our second-biggest source of emissions is a result of government inaction on a transport mix dominated by trucks and cars and a lack of fuel-efficiency standards.
Only the inner suburbs of Melbourne and other capital cities meet the 20-minute neighbourhood test. But we could transform the other suburbs for much less than the cost of current transport projects.
Investing in rail can put transport emissions on the right track.
Electric trains use seven times less carbon dioxide than cars. With careful planning, railways could drastically cut emissions from a sector that now accounts for a quarter of the carbon in our air.
The Melbourne Transportation Plan included every freeway and major arterial road built in the city since 1969.
While called a transportation plan,
it was heavily skewed towards roads. We need the type of city-shaping thinking that underpinned the plan, but today's plans must match 21st-century priorities.
The Australian and Victorian governments have both promised funding for a Melbourne Airport rail link, but a private consortium’s unsolicited proposal is also on the table.
Unsolicited market proposals are not transparently assessed. Infrastructure should be built to serve the public interest, not shaped by its private backers, but the checks to ensure this are broken.
In cities like Copenhagen that have good infrastructure for cycling it’s an established commuting option alongside road and rail.
A breakdown in the road or rail systems often causes commuter chaos in Australia. Some overseas cities are more resilient because they have other options – and our bicycle network could give us that.
Many commuters already travel from regional cities to work in capital cities like Melbourne so what impacts will fast rail have?
While governments focus on how to ease congestion and make affordable housing more accessible for workers in our biggest cities, fast rail could be a mixed blessing for regional cities.
VLocity trains run at speeds of up to 160km/h on four Victorian regional lines.
More than half a century after the first high-speed trains began running overseas, Australia is still waiting for the long-promised service. Right now, faster rail is a better short-term prospect.
With more than a million Australians using public transport to get to work each day, demand for car parking at the station is virtually insatiable.
The Commuter Car Park Fund announced in the budget sounds big, but is likely to create only around 30,000 extra spaces – a marginal benefit for Australia's 1.2 million daily public transport users.
The Morrison government’s infrastructure budget favours Victoria, in a change from recent budgets.
Despite boasts of 'record' infrastructure spending, relative to GDP it's comparable to previous budgets. What's different is that Treasurer Frydenberg has chanced his arm more over the longer term.
Vancouver used traffic congestion as a ‘stick’ and the SkyTrain as a ‘carrot’ in a strategy to discourage car use and make the city a better place to live.
Instead of spending ever more on roads, we can learn from Vancouver's use of congestion as a 'friend' in managing the development of transport networks and of the city itself.
Transport promises stretching as far as the eye can see: Victorian Labor’s big one is a $A50 billion suburban rail loop.
Whichever party wins, Victoria's new government will have promised the biggest transport infrastructure project in Australian history. So what are the promises and are they backed by proper assessment?
Another election, another infrastructure promise – in the Andrews government’s case, a $50 billion suburban rail loop.
In the election bidding wars, parties commit billions to transport projects, often before all the work needed to justify these has been done. More cost-effective alternatives hardly get a look-in.
Victoria has led the way in upgrading intercity rail services with medium-speed VLocity trains that have a cruising speed of 160km/h.
High-speed rail for Australia has been on the drawing boards since the mid-1980s but has come to nothing. Three states are developing medium-speed rail with federal funding, but NSW is missing out.
In contrast to most big airports where public transport provides a large proportion of passenger access, 86% of access to Melbourne Airport is by car.
Good public access for Melbourne Airport and others like it depends on not fixating on one solution, like a single rail line, but instead developing multiple options integrated with the city's needs.
Sydney’s WestConnex is being constructed as a “high priority” project, despite its business case failing to meet Infrastructure Australia’s stated requirements.
Analysis of the business cases for three of the biggest projects deemed "high priority" by Infrastructure Australia raises questions about the process.
Very wet weather is likely to persuade many regular cyclists and walkers to travel instead by car if they can. This is Bondi Junction after a storm hit Sydney.
The relationship between weather and our travel choices is complicated. We can't change the weather, but, with many other factors in play, good policy and design can reduce its impacts.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance and the Coalition government are under pressure to fix long-standing problems with Sydney’s train system which have now come to a head.
The real challenge is finding appropriate ways to invest in public transport that will not only take pressure off the system but also support improved travel on all modes, including cars.