Transportation Planning Casebook/Sydney West Metro

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Summary of the Case[edit]

Sydney Metro West is an underground metro railway and it is the biggest urban rail project in Australian history. The project will serve the main precincts of Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, The Bays Precinct and the Sydney CBD and provide health, education and research support to surrounding precincts. Sydney Metro West will work with T1 Western Line, as T1 Line will be severly crowded in early 2030s. The project was announced by the NSW Government in November 2016 and it is scheduled to open in the second half of 2020s. It is currently under design and planning status. When in operation, the project will connect Sydney CBD and Westmead, there is a potential extension to the further west.The completion of Sydney Metro West can double the capacity of overcrowded T1 Western Line, establish future capacity for Sydney’s fast growing west and improve the travel speed from Penrith and Blacktown.

Annotated List of Actors[edit]

Stakeholder Groups Members Issues/ Interests
Government departments and agencies ·        Barangaroo Delivery Authority

·        Department of Education

·        Department of Family and Community Services

·        Department of Health

·        Department of Industry

·        Department of Planning and Environment

·        Destination NSW

·        Environmental Protection Authority

·        Greater Sydney Commission

·        Health Infrastructure

·        Heritage Council of NSW

·        Land and Housing Corporation

·        Office of Environment and Heritage

·        Port Authority of NSW

·        Property NSW

·        Roads and Maritime Services

·        Sydney Motorway Corporation

·        Sydney Olympic Park Authority

·        Sydney Trains

·        Transport for NSW

·        UrbanGrowth NSW

·        Venues NSW

·        Western Sydney Local Health District

·        Western Sydney Parklands Trust

·        To show compliance with legislation

·        Preparing plans such as construction, OH&S etc.

·        Disrupting other services and accessibility

·        Biodiversity, noise and vibration impacts during operation/construction

·        Regularly communicating developments to other stakeholders through forums

Local government general managers, officers and administrators ·        Burwood Council

·        City of Canada Bay Council

·        City of Parramatta Council

·        City of Sydney Council

·        Inner West Council

·        Strathfield Council

·        Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils

·        (WSROC)

·        Community consultations

·        Traffic control

·        Environmental and biodiversity preservation plans

·        Health and Safety

·        Disruption of Services

Peak bodies, representative groups and organisations ·        Olympic Park Business Association

·        Royal Agricultural Society

·        University of Sydney

·        Sydney Business Chamber

·        University of Technology, Sydney

·        Western Sydney University

·        Committee for Sydney

·        Student safety, accessibility

·        Air/ noise pollution

·        Construction hours

Non- political group of community ·        Commuters

·        Residents local to construction

·        Families

·        Noise and air pollution, mitigation techniques

·        Duration of construction

·        Traffic control in surrounding areas

·        Impact minimisation

·        Benefits of project

Timeline of Events[edit]

Year Event
2001 Proposals were made to implement a Sydney metro link to expand the current railroad networks and to meet future demands, due to a growing infrastructure. This proposal was categorised as a low priority project by the New South Wales (NSW) state government.
2007 A proposal was made to implement an underground metro link connecting Sydney’s northwest to the south east. This was also categorised as a low priority project and was dismissed by the NSW government.
2008 Announced the construction of the Sydney West Metro. This was largely encouraged by the “Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program” in 2005. The initial findings estimated the project cost to be approximately $12 billion. Due to budgetary concerns this project was dismissed.
2015 Long term proposals were made to expand the network to connect western suburbs to the central business district. The feasibility of the project was not justified due to ongoing political issues.
2016 Project feasibilities were conducted. The Sydney West Metro project was eventually confirmed and announced.
2017 Local communities and governmental institutions were consulted.
2018 Vital geotechnical investigations were carried out to attain an insight into the planning and design work for the Sydney Metro West. The examinations aim to determine and analyse existing ground water conditions and strengths and weakness of the underlying rocks.
2019 The project will be delayed for opening due to ongoing project delays. The expected opening was during 2019.
2025-2030 The Sydney West Metro is expected to be fully operational and publicly accessible.

Map of Locations[edit]

A finalised design for the Sydney West Metro has not been completed yet and so the final route of the metro has not been determined. This in turn means that the stations along the route have also not been decided upon. However, extensive community consultation and planning is currently being undertaken in order to determine the optimal route for the Sydney West Metro and the stations along it. What has already been decided is the general locations of at least four stations: The Sydney CBD, the Bays Precinct, the Parramatta CBD, and the Westmead precinct [1]. It is also likely that there will be a link to the T1 Northern heavy rail line at some point along the route.

The general route of the line and these likely station precincts are shown in the figure below:


Policy Issues[edit]

Policy Issue Description
Environmental Impacts The project must adhere to the current NSW emissions standards. Construction has resulted increases in light vehicle movements which has correspondingly led to decreases in surrounding air qualities, which have caused growing concerns within local communities. Increases in noise pollution has also been noted due to extensive tunnelling and drilling projects. However the noise levels observed resides well within acceptable NSW standards for noise pollution.
Impacts on Road Users   Due to ongoing construction, pedestrian, parking and traffic changes would be observed which includes changes in traffic controls and directional signage. Access to driveways and buildings are assured and will not be impeded.

Narrative of the Case[edit]

The expansion of the current railroad network within New South Wales was heavily impeded due to ongoing political debates and influences. Several proposals were made between 2001 and 2009 to expand the current networks to the Sydney West to increase job accessibility and opportunities. The Sydney Metro West was officially announced due to ongoing expansions in the South-west and North-west networks to increase access to the Sydney Central Business District. Environmental sustainability and construction pollution were the major policy issues which were addressed and were publicly accessible thus far and it could be assumed that other issues such as land aquisitions, and criteria for indigenous communities would be possible policy issues of the Sydney Metro West Project.

Currently, the population of Sydney resides within 4.6 million persons. This figure is expected to increase by a further 6 million within the next 2 decades. The region of western Sydney currently hosts approximately 47% of Sydney’s population and 36% of Sydney Jobs. The population of western Sydney is expected to increase by 3.2 million people by the year 2036. Hence it was estimated that more than half of Sydney’s population would reside within Western Sydney by the year 2036. Currently there’re approximately 4.7 million weekday trips, across all transport modes, which connects greater Parramatta regions to the Sydney central business district area. This ridership statistic is expected to increase by a further 36% by 2036. Due to such increases in passenger transportation demands within the west, governments were forced to fund and provide support towards the implementation of the Sydney Metro West, which was initially categorised as a low priority, to ensure long term infrastructure stability, reliability and demand.

The Non- Political group or communities are the main beneficiary of the SMW project. Although the go-ahead for the project was given by the NSW government, their attitude towards the project is related to the attitude the community has for or against the project. This can be due to community concerns regarding the by- products of construction such as noise/air pollution, congestion due to road or lane closures. Increased vehicle movements in the immediate areas surrounding the construction sites can add to the headaches that residents would rather not have. However, the need for a rail line has been identified in the west as the current T1 west line is currently 135% over capacity.The community feedback highlighted a need for faster and more frequent train services between the two CBDs and reduced crowding on trains. The community feedback is an ongoing process and continues even today, and possibly even until construction ends. Government Departments and agencies are mostly concerned with the project complying with legislation and Australian Standards as they want to mitigate the risk of a structural failure or a major systems failure. The construction plans and OH&S plans need to be demonstrated to the government bodies so that they can approve the project with confidence that it can be delivered appropriately. Local government GMs and officers were consulted as the project would directly impact their electoral regions. They were communicated with respect to issues such as traffic control, environmental and biodiversity preservation controls, pollution impacts and mitigation and how their local communities would be consulted with regarding these issues. Other peak bodies such as education hubs and representative groups were also communicated with, with respect to student safety and accessibility, the pollution effects and the times of construction. As of today, the project is in the ‘investment decision’ phase and so construction contracts have not been awarded to any industrial body. The project has garnered a lot of attention with more than 200 parties registering their interest [1]. So far, 63 meetings were held with organisations with 34 providing written submissions. Currently, a second round of industry engagement is being undertaken to gain feedback on initial delivery strategies, technical issues that may affect delivery and whether companies have the appetite for such a large project.

Discussion Questions[edit]

1.    The project aims to provide increased accessibility to Sydney CBD. Considering its estimated efficiency (a train every 4 minutes), compared to the conventional train systems, would this cause induced demand?

2.    Would this be a viable system to withstand demands for the next 50 years? Assuming the general population of NSW, in particular Wester Sydney, continues to grow.

3. What are other avenues of utilising the funds allocated to the Sydney Metro West, to improve accessibility and connectedness? Could we invest it on current Rail road systems to improve its efficiencies?

4.    Since the system is fully automated, would there be any growing public concerns regarding its security and reliability? Could this impact its future prospects?

5.    What are some incentives and disincentives of this project in your perspective? Do the proposed incentives outweigh your perceptions on its disadvantages?

6. Which regions/areas would you consider to be ideal locations for new stations along the Sydney West Metro line? Do you think there should be more connections within Wester Sydney or less?

References[edit]

[1]: 2018. Sydney Metro West. Sydney Metro West- A new railway for Western Sydney, Project overview, March 2018, [Online]. 2, 23. Available at: https://www.sydneymetro.info/sites/default/files/document-library/Sydney-Metro-West-Project-Overview-March-2018.pdf [Accessed 3 May 2018].

[2]: Sydney Metro. n.d. Information Summary - West Metro [Online]. Available at: http://www.newingtoncommunity.com.au/cmsdocuments/WestMetro_Information_Summary.pdf [Accessed 10th May 2018].

[3]: Eryk Bagshaw. 2018. Infrastructure Australia reveals top priorities to fix Sydney's $15 billion congestion problem. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/infrastructure-australia-reveals-top-priorities-to-fix-sydney-s-15-billion-congestion-problem-20180326-p4z69e.html. [Accessed 11th May 2018].