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Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.

APTNSW submission on Smart Cities

posted Sunday 26 June 2016
We made this submission to the Smart Cities project:
Action for Public Transport (NSW) is a transport advocacy group which has been active in Sydney and NSW since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport; both passengers, and the wider community.

While we are interested in transport, you should be aware that land-use is reflected in transport demand. Therefore, transport and land-use should be planned together. Unfortunately, there is much evidence that Sydney transport and land-use are not planned together and indeed are not planned with the skill that trained transport/landuse planners offer. Instead, major decisions are made by politicians who are more interested in garnering votes than in solving transport problems that they probably don't understand.

We find it deplorable that substantial Federal funds are going on Westconnex and Northconnex without publication of credible business cases. We urge that this bias towards populist radial motorways be redressed immediately. In particular, Sydney's metropolitan railways are experiencing rapid growth in peak-hour demand and will soon be at a stage where overloading has measurable adverse consequences. We would like to see substantial Commonwealth funds granted for public transport development in Sydney.

Similar remarks probably apply to Melbourne but to a lesser degree.

We think the Federal Government should press State governments to set appropriate targets for reducing reliance on the single-occupant car for long trips. These targets should be backed by policies to attain them. The policies should be consistent; for example, building Westconnex or similar roads is strongly at odds with a policy of efficient public transport in urban areas.

We think that road access pricing should be a part of these policies in larger cities. Revenue-neutral pricing could easily be devised however sections of the transport industry remain opposed to it and the NSW government seems to be beholden to such interests. The NSW government held a road pricing inquiry in 2012-2013 which took submissions and heard witnesses but the matter was quietly dropped. We would like the Commonwealth to pursue the matter under the Smart Cities banner. A list of references is at http://fixnswtransport.com/roadaccesspricing/.

We note that the Plan mentions a Federal commitment to "provide $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major transformational infrastructure projects, including urban rail". We submit that the commitment should be modified to limit eligibility - only projects for which a comprehensive business case has been published should be funded.

We note that the Government is currently in caretaker mode. We expect that Smart Cities may well be re-shaped in some way by the next Government. We would like to receive updates and requests for submission at relevant times.

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