Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sydney Electronic Ticketing System Selected

According to media reports, the Pearl Consortium, made up of Downer EDI, Commonwealth Bank and Cubic Transportation Systems has won the Sydney electronic transport ticketing system. Key to the consortium is Cubic_Transportation_Systems which has provided electronic ticket systems to large city transport systems, including the Oyster Card for London Underground. Downer EDI is an engineering company (the EDI does not stand for "Electronic Data Interchange"). The Commonwealth Bank has experience with MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave these are contactless payment cards. These and similar cards are now being distributed widely to bank customers. However, it unclear if the NSW will permit their use for travel payments.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sydney Bus Theatre

Poster for Stories from the 428Last night I attended "Stories from the 428" at the Sidetrack Theatre,, Sydney. The work is a series of vignettes on and around the NSW State Transit Authority, STA number 428 bus route. The route starts at Circular Quay, in the heart of Sydney and through Sydney's Newtown university student areas, then past the Sidetrack Theatre. The bus stops outside the Addison Road Centre, Marrickville where the performance was held and many of the audience were able to relate to the characters and situations portrayed (some of the characters being based on them).

The stage is set up to evoke a STA bus stop and bus (but will be familiar to any city commuter). The bills for the performance, program and cards are all cleverly designed with the same theme looking like Sydney bus tickets. The pay starts with a line of commuters wating for a bus and all reading the Metro free newspaper in synchronism. This opening reminded me of a recent production of short plays at the New Theatre, in its ballet of paper folding, as did the overall format of the production.

The vignettes are funny, insightful and in some cases confronting and frightening. One in which an obsessive character places rubber bands on his writs and describes in clinical detail the effect on his hand was very worrying. However, overall this is a warm celebration of community amongst the city.

This was week one of the show and in week two (until the 4th April, 2010) a new team of directors and writers take over exploring the same theme, so I might get back on the bus for another ride.

If attending a performance, take time to explore the Addison Road Centre,with its assortment of community and arts organisations. Also drop into Glow Worm Bicycles down the road.

You can take the 428 bus from Circular Quay to the Theatre. While the theatre pays homage to the bus, this is not reciprocated. When I tried to plan this route with the NSW travel planner, I found that the system did not know where the Addison centre was and when I tried the street address, the system wanted to send me to Goulburn, in southern NSW.

ps: Perhaps next we need some stories from Istanbul bus, tram, ferry, train to Thessaloniki. Sitting on a ferry heading under the Galata Bridge in Instanbul, the old man sitting next to me filled his chest with pride and swept his hand out in an expansive gesture to the view and said something in Turkish. I don't speak Turkish, but it was something like: "Look at My Magnificent City". In Thessaloniki, home to the original "Young Turks", plotters and spies, I happened to met an agent of a foreign government and take them for a ride on the local bus (while they were an expert international arms smuggling, they could not work out the local bus tickets).

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sydney Metro Website Still Available Online

Media reports indicate concern that the website of the abolished Sydney Metro Authority is no longer publicly available. However, it has been cached by Google (3 Feb 2010 01:06:28 GMT).

I suggest the NSW government adopt the practice of some federal departments and retain such web pages at their original address, but add a header to indicate the material was no longer current. This practice was adopted when there was the first change of government after adoption of the web by government (I recall the interdepartmental meeting where it was discussed). This practice is also followed by some US federal and state agencies.

Also the National Library of Australia might like to put a copy in their Pandora Archive.

Obviously details of a failed project which wasted hundreds of millions of dollars is an embarrassment to the NSW government, but attempting to suppress the information is unlikely to improve the situation.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Transport for Sydney

The NSW Government released a discussion paper, "Sydney Towards 2036" (10 March 2010) and has invited online discussion of topics, which correspond to the document's chapters, such as "Alternative transport options". Unfortunately the discussion paper has not been integrated with the discussion forum, making citizens input difficult.

The discussion paper is released as a 2.2 Mbyte PDF file. The discussion forms consist of a set of web pages. The content discussion paper has not been reproduced under, or linked from the corresponding topics. This requires the reader to first download the 30 page PDF document, find the relevant section of interest, then turn back to the web site, find the corresponding web page and then somehow relate one to the other in their comment. As an example "Integrating land use with transport" starts on page 15 of the discussion document.

The ten topics for in the report are:

  1. Planning for a growing population
  2. Making Sydney climate change ready
  3. Integrating land use with transport
  4. More jobs in the Sydney region
  5. Growing Sydney’s value
  6. Strengthening a City of Cities
  7. Meeting changing housing needs
  8. Balancing land uses on the city fringe
  9. Achieving renewal
  10. Implementation

The NSW government has an apps4nsw competition, modelled on the successful federal government gov 2.0 mashup competition. Perhaps someone would like to mash up the Sydney planning discussion paper and discussion forum.

My suggestions for the transport topic were as per my submission on the Sydney CBD Metro.

Also the book Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age (Paul Mees, February 2010) is of interest.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Mobile phones as transport tickets

Deutsche Bahn (DB) are trialling an electronic ticketing system Touch&Travel which may overcome problems with the smart card systems of Victorian and NSW. The DB system uses mobile phones and Near Field Communications (NFC). The key difference to contact-less smart cards, as tried with limited success in Victoria and NSW, is that the system is reversed: the card is attached to the train and the passenger's mobile phone is used as the card reader. As a result little infrastructure is needed to be installed by the transport system: the mobile phone provides most of the smarts.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Sydney Metropolitan Transport Plan

The NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, yesterday released a Metropolitan Transport Plan. This is in line with my submission on the Sydney CBD Metro. The new strategy abandons the plan for an automated underground Metro by the previous NSW Premier and the highly centralised CBD land use plan it implied. The reinstated older plan is for heavy surface railways between several economic centres and the use of freeways, supplemented by light rail and bus-ways for the urban areas between them. This new (old) plan reinstates the "Cities of Cities" plan and the North West Rail link.

This is an improvement on the Metro plan which was unworkable, but places too much emphasis on the use of private cars for transport. The NSW government needs to accept that there must be large investment in public transport and that building roads is no solution. However, the major problem is not with the new plan, but with the lack of credibility the NSW government has in implementing any transport plan, having changed plans, and Premiers, several times in the last few years.

The plan makes mention of the use of ICT for transport in using GPS for prioritise traffic lights for buses and in integrated ticketing systems. However, more use of ICT could make the new plan more workable. As an example, ICT can be used to provide the commuter with better information about services.

Available are:
  1. Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.
  2. Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010
  3. $6.7 billion North West Rail Link, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally,(42 kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  4. New $4.53 billion Western Express CityRail Service, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (59 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  5. 1,000 new buses means more services and less cars on the road, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (45 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
Minister for Transport AND Roads 4
Minister for Planning 4
Challenges and Vision 5
Meeting the demands of a growing city and a changing population
SYDNEY TO 2036 11
SYDNEY TO 2020 13
Where we are now 17
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
Our New Approach to Transport 23
and Land Use Planning
Supporting our Cities and Centres
Urban Renewal 26
We will grow the cities within Syd ney 27
The 10–year funding guarantee 28
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
New Express Rail Services for Western Syd ney 30
An expanded light rail network 32
Rail to match the demands of growth 34
Better Bus Connections 36
Getting Syd ney Moving 38
Syd ney’s Iconic Ferries 39
Increasing the efficiency of the road network 40
Key Freight Projects 41
A Better Customer Experience 42
Planning the Future Transport Network 43
Next Steps 44

From: Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010

February 21, 2010
Premier Kristina Keneally today released the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities.

It focuses on slashing travel times for western Sydney commuters, a North West rail link, an expansion of light rail, more commuter car parks, new ferries, air conditioned buses and trains.

It is a 25-year vision for land use planning for Sydney and a 10-year fully funded package of transport infrastructure for the Sydney metropolitan area and will deliver benefits for the Illawarra, Central Coast and Hunter.

Over 10 years, the plan comprises $50.2 billion in spending; of that, there is more than $7 billion in new or expanded transport infrastructure and services.

The plan is backed up by a 10-year funding guarantee and is consistent with maintaining the State’s AAA credit rating and delivering value for money for the NSW taxpayer.

This is the first time that land use and transport planning have been integrated into a single, funded plan.

Under the plan, Transport and Planning Ministers would jointly approve major transport infrastructure, ensuring Sydney’s transport needs are matched to growth. In addition, significant land use decisions will be made by both ministers.

Ms Keneally made the announcement following a specially convened State Cabinet meeting in Sydney today.

The NSW Cabinet decided to:
  • Stop work on the $5 billion Stage 1 CBD Metro;
  • Reallocate resources and funding to a range of other projects and transport plans over the next 10 years;
  • Move swiftly to support the tenderers for the major construction contracts affected by the decision to stop the CBD Metro – saying they would be reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred; and
  • Put processes in place to assist property owners and tenants who have incurred legal, valuation and other costs relating to property acquisition.
“We’ve listened to the community and made a tough decision,” Ms Keneally said.
“This is about re-allocating spending to where it is needed. Sydney is no longer one city.
“Sydney is a series of regional cities – Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith – and accessible centres like Blacktown, Chatswood and Bondi Junction.
“This is about responding to the challenges of Sydney’s growing population.”
By 2036, Sydney is expected to grow by 1.7 million to a population of 5.98 million.
“The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities is about getting people home from work as quick as possible. By 2016, 28 per cent of all trips to work will be taken by public transport.”
The Premier’s Plan – the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities – includes:
  • The $4.5 billion Western Express CityRail Service – a separate dedicated rail track to slash travelling times from western Sydney to the city. It will achieve faster and more frequent services with a goal of up to 50 per cent more services and 17 per cent more passengers on the CityRail network on an average weekday. This will occur through:
    • o Separating a dedicated track from all other traffic;
    • o Construction of a new five kilometre priority tunnel –City Relief Line – will be built from 2015 in the city to separate western services from inner-city trains to provide shorter journey times;
    • o Construction of eight new platforms to increase capacity at Redfern, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard to relieve congestion;
    • o New express train services will be introduced for the Blue Mountains, Richmond, Penrith, Blacktown and Parramatta; and
    • o Increase CityRail’s capacity on all lines and allow the introduction of express rail services to western Sydney.
  • Start of work on the $6.7 billion North West rail link from Epping to Rouse Hill with six stations at Franklin Road, Castle Hill, Hills Centre, Norwest, Burns Road and Rouse Hill in 2017;
  • A $500 million expansion of the current light rail system – bringing its total length to 16.9 kilometres with up to 20 new stations and almost 10 kilometres of new track – a more than doubling of the distance of the existing route. The $500 million comprises:
  • Road works and infrastructure;
  • 4.1 kilometres of light rail from Circular Quay via Barangaroo to Haymarket; and
  • 5.6 kilometres of light rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.
  • Improvements to bus services – costing $2.9 billion – which includes:
    • o Roll out of 1,000 new buses in Strategic Bus Corridors in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast;
    • o Bus priority measures such as GPS traffic light priority; and
    • o New STA and private bus depots.
    • Over the next 10 years, $3.1 billion for new trains and this is in addition to the 626 carriages on order;
  • Creation of the new Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority to drive future transit-oriented development and urban renewal. Authority will be similar to the highly successful Redfern Waterloo Authority and Barangaroo Delivery Authority. It will be responsible for implementing the integrated metropolitan land use strategy and will report to the Minister for Roads and Transport and the Minister for Planning with its own board with a Federal Government representative.);
  • A number of other transport related measures including:
  • o $158 million in cycleways – completing many of the city’s high priority missing links;
  • o More than $400 million in commuter car parks; and
  • o $57 million Commuter Infrastructure Fund for local transport partnerships – such as improved and easy access for people with disabilities and more awnings and shelters at rail stations;
  • $225 million over 10 years for Sydney ferries, including six vessels;
  • $536 million for motorway planning, transit corridor reservations and land acquisition for future projects;
  • $483 million from State and Federal Governments to deliver important freight works in Sydney, including a NSW Freight Plan to increase productivity and secure jobs;
  • State Government will continue to deliver $21.9 billion of joint State and Federal funded road projects; and
  • An historic partnership with the City of Sydney to develop a memorandum of understanding on public transport; movement on laneways and streets and planning issues such as pedestrian friendly areas and civic spaces.

  • To ensure that future State and Federal governments are still able to build high capacity public transport if and when they are needed, corridors and planning approvals will continue to be secured, such as metros.
    The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities builds on the MyZone announcement on February 1.

    MyZone is a new fare structure and multi-modal system for greater Sydney to make using public transport fairer, simpler and cheaper. It is scheduled to commence on April 18.
    The new fare structure applies across the entire CityRail, State Transit, Sydney Ferries and private bus networks in the greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Central Coast and the Hunter.


    The NSW Government wants to know what the community thinks about the initiatives outlined in the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities plan.
    The NSW Government will simultaneously undertake the first five year review of the Metropolitan Strategy.
    Submissions and comments can be lodged at:
    Once the review of both documents has been completed, all feedback will be consolidated into a Metropolitan Plan to link our transport and land use planning.

    From: Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.

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    Monday, February 01, 2010

    Sydney Metro Alternatives

    I still can't work out exactly what Sydney Metro's response to my submission (and others) on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans was, despite an email, with a letter they had already sent me (appended).

    The email did not say anything new, but on re-reading this I noticed mention of: "Table 5 in Appendix D for a reference list". It did not say what this was appendix D of, but I guessed it was "06 Submissions Report - Appendix D". On the last page of this document (page 28) I found a line in a table which said: 4.11
    4.16 2536 4.6. I assume this indicates that submission 2536 is covered by sections 4.6, 4.11 and 4.16 of the report. Why these details are listed in this order is not clear. This is about as easy as a numerological analysis of a biblical text. I was able to find "4.6 CBD Metro – the first stage", but the report does not appear to have a section 4.11 or 4.16, as it ends at 4.7.

    One interesting part of this document is the table which indicates that the most frequently raised issue is alternatives to the Metro.

    Table 2: Most frequently raised issues (unique submissions*)
    * Excluding government stakeholders
    1Alternatives to the metro project 4.6263
    2General business impacts (construction)4.64126
    3Project cost4.9120
    4Need for an integrated transport plan for Sydney4.11118
    5Justification for the project4.7117
    6Socio-economic issues at Rozelle4.6899
    7Project route and alignment4.1273
    8Metro network4.1072
    9Project design4.1770
    10Excessive noise and vibration4.4162

    Text of letter from Sydney metro:


    Level 19, 321 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
    PO Box Q286, QVB Post Office NSW 1230
    T 02 8238 2700 F 02 8238 2797

    Mr Tom Worthington
    1 February 2010

    Submissions Report for Sydney Metro Network Stage 1 (Rozelle to Central)

    Dear Mr Worthington

    Thank you for your submission on the Environmental Assessment for Stage 1 of the Sydney Metro Network (Rozelle to Central).

    As part of the project assessment process, Sydney Metro has prepared a Submissions Report detailing the issues raised in submissions and our response to each issue.

    Your submission was registered as submission number 2536 and our response to the issues raised in your submission can be found in this report. (See Table 5 in Appendix D for a reference list.)

    The Submissions Report outlines some changes made to the project as a result of our consideration of the submissions received and additional design information. We have also updated our Statement of Commitments which includes a number of new initiatives, such as purchasing 100 per cent renewable energy to operate the metro.

    Sydney Metro has lodged the Submissions Report with the NSW Department of Planning for consideration as part of the project assessment process. The report is now available on the NSW Department of Planning website ( – go to the Major Project Register in the Development Assessments section of the website). A link to the Submissions Report is also available from the Sydney Metro website (

    Pending approval of the project, construction works are scheduled to start in mid 2010. We will continue to keep the public informed of progress through our website, community newsletters and media announcements.

    Please do not hesitate to call 1800 636 910 if you have any questions or need more information about the submissions process.

    We look forward to working with you to develop this essential public transport system for Sydney.

    Rodd Staples
    Acting Chief Executive

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    Sydney Metro Response to Submissions

    Last October I wrote a brief submission on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans for the proposed Sydney CBD Metro. Today I received a paper letter (dated 15 January 2010, but postmarked five days later on 20 January 2010). The letter says that a response to the issues I raised is in a "Submissions Report" available on the web, unfortunately I have not been able to find that response.

    The letter does not give the web address of the report. It gives the home page of the NSW Department of Planning and of Sydney Metro. I was unable to find the document navigating from these home pages. I tried telephoning Sydney Metro, but got an answering service, which took a message, but so far no one has rung back.

    Eventually I found a web page "Project Application - CBD Metro - Assessment" which has"Response to Submissions" which might be what the letter was referring to. However, that then links to ten PDF documents, the titles of which do not match those of the documents I was commenting on (Environmental Assessment and Station Plans). These documents are about 40 Mbytes in total. It is not reasonable to have to search through 4,000 pages of material looking for a response to my submission. It would be quite simple for Sydney Metro to electronically mark which bits of the report refer to specific submissions, or at least point to the most relevant section.

    I attempted to find mention of my submission by searching the documents using a web search, but was unable to find either my name, nor the reference number allocated to the submission: 2536.

    In its judgement "Muin v Refugee Review Tribunal; Lie v Refugee Review Tribunal" (8 August 2002) the High Court of Australia found that a government agency could not merely make "documents" available in a mass of undifferentiated material, it was necessary to provide some form of identification of the specific relevant material.

    In my view Sydney Metro has not provided a response to the submission, or to any submission, as there is no way to find references to submissions in the thousands of pages of material. Sydney Metro has therefore no complied with NSW planning law.

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    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Phone number put Hex on mail message

    Recently SpamAssassin warned me that an incoming message might be Spam. It turned out this was because the message mentioned a number of transportation web sites. Sydney Public Transport Information uses a phone number as its web address . This triggers rule URI_HEX ("URI hostname has long hexadecimal sequence"). Sydney Ferries is an .info domain name which triggers INFO_TLD ("Contains an URL in the INFO top-level domain"). It is not clear to me why these should be suspicious.

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    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Problems with Myki Smart Transport Card Website

    The Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has announced that the myki smart card ticketing system is available for trains in metropolitan Melbourne. However, there appear to be some problems with the myki web site.
    1. The W3C Markup Validation Service reported 47 Errors and 65 warnings.
    2. The W3C mobileOK Checker reported "This page is not mobile-friendly!".
    3. The TAW automated accessibility test reported 4 Level One, 30 Level Two and 29 Level Three problems.
    These would tend to make the web site less responsive and usable.

    The accessibility problems are of particular concern. The web site says:
    "We make every reasonable effort to ensure that this website reaches level AA conformance with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG), and conforms to the Victorian Government's Accessibility Standard. ..."

    From: Accessibility, MyKi, Victorian Government , 2009
    This statement is clearly false (even this page with the accessibility claim on it had dozens of accessibility problems). A reasonable effort has not been made and the web site does not conform with level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Not even the description of the level of compliance aimed for complies with the guidelines (the term "level AA" is incorrect: the correct term is "level Double-A"). On the face of it the Victorian Government is in breech of federal anti-discrimination legislation.

    As an example the home page says: "Click the 'BUY' button below to take advantage of the FREE registered myki offer." The image below says "Buy", but the ALT text for the image does not say "Buy" it says "Get myki". This is very likely to confuse any user of the system who can't see the image because they are blind, would not be easily able to identify where "below" was and so would not be able to find a "buy" button. This very obvious problem should have been picked up if even the most minimal accessibility testing had been done.

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Rail and broadband in place of second Sydney airport

    A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. This is not a new or unexplored idea, from a high speed rail line proposed in 1981, to a "East Coast Very High Speed Train Scoping Study" in 2008. But the mass production of very high speed trains in Asia, combined with advances in broadband and environmental pressures, makes it more feasible.

    The Federal and New South Wales Governments are to conduct a joint study of options for additional airport capacity for Sydney. This follows a "National Aviation Policy White Paper" (16 December 2009). It should be noted that the paper is not just talking about an airport and mentions rail transport systems. I suggest that the study should look at a train in place of a second Sydney airport. A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. Provision of wireless broadband on the train would allow the passengers to do useful work and be entertained. In addition to passengers, a high speed train can also carry high high value freight, such as priority mail, currently sent by air.

    Sydney airport already has two underground stations in place and a direct underground line to the Sydney CBD. Work would be needed on the rail corridor out of Sydney, but this is relatively minor, with work already underway for a rail freight corridor.

    Very fast trains are now a proven technology, with China and Korea mass producing adaptions of proven European designs.

    The cost of the line from Sydney to Melbourne could be covered by the sale of land in new greenfield environmentally efficient towns in inland Australia. These towns would also reduce the growth pressure on Sydney (politically the new towns would be attractive to the current NSW and Federal governments as it would shift the voting trends to the ALP in previously conservative rural electorates). Integration of the National Broadband Network in the new towns would allow rapid provision of services and jobs to the new towns and reduce the cost of infrastructure.

    New towns could be built along the VFT route incorporating high environmental and planning standards. Buildings could be designed to use the minimum of water and power, then assembled from mass produced modules. Homes could be designed to accommodate the elderly. Broadband could bring jobs, education and services to the towns quickly. Both government and commercial telecommuting offices could be provided allowing office works to telecommute most days and perhaps have to catch the train only once every few weeks. Each town could have a university campus, as well as a hospital with advanced medical facilities, linked by broadband to specalists.

    The pressure on Sydney airport will also be reduced in coming years due to changes in the aircraft used and environmental pressures. The introduction of larger aircraft, specifically the Airbus A380, will reduce the number of international aircraft movements needed. Added to this the Boeing 787 (and Airbus A350) will allow more direct international flights from other Australian airports, reducing the need for Sydney to act as a hub. Added to this, the need for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will increase pressure on airlines to have aircraft loaded to capacity to increase fuel efficiency. The requirement for passengers to pay the environmental cost of their travel will also dampen demand for flights.
    Sydney is Australia’s biggest and busiest city and Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport is Australia’s busiest airport, with over 32 million passengers in 2008–09. To ensure the future aviation needs of Sydney meet the expectations of the community and are fully integrated into long-term growth strategies, the Government, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, will work together to plan for the Sydney region’s future airport infrastructure, including how it links to Sydney’s growth centres and its road and rail transport systems. This is the first time that the two governments are aligning their planning and investment strategies. ...

    From: National Aviation Policy White Paper, Department of Infrastructure,Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, 16 December 2009

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    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Cities for People

    Greetings from the The Shine Dome in Canberra where Professor Jan Gehl is presenting the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture. Professor Gehl conducted the "Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey" and is the author of "Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space". He started with Robert Mann New York traffic engineer, he proposed the "lomax" (Lower Manhattan Express way). In response Jan Jacobs rallied the neighbourhood and went on to write "The Death and Life of Great American Cities". He then went on to talk about after graduation and learning how people use architecture and what was wrong with architectural education. He strives to go beyond two dimensional rendering which architects use to worry about the dynamics of human use of architecture.

    Professor Gehl was critical of Le Corbusier's 1924 planning, where the citizens may only get some greenery on a wall to look at. He also criticised the CIAM Athens Charter 1933 which aimed to separate people and transport. From the 1950s as cars became affordable, the problem became to find more space for cars and planners had become traffic engineers. The result was tall buildings with all the spaces between them taken by cars. The dignity of people was lost in the process with the car taking precedent. Cities are valuable because they allow people to meet each other face to face and cars degrade this.

    In the eighties old urbanism was rediscovered with housing tower blocks demolished.

    The 1998 Second Athens Charter of City Planning reversed the previous charter arguing that housing and transport should be unified. Many architects were already practising this, but some not. In 2009 in Dubai, Frank Gehry is still proposing 1920s Le Corbusier style impersonal buildings. Professor Gehl described this as "Bird Shit" architecture, dropped from the sky to pollute the urban fabric. He showed the example of Kenzo Tange's, Singapore waterfront high rise.

    Professor Gehl used Copenhagen 1962 to 2009 as an example of what to do. In 1962 the main street was pedestrianised, with great success. Progressively 18 public squares were turned from parking lots into people squares. He charted the change in reasons for visiting the city, which changed from "Necessity" in 1900, "Transport" 1950, Shopping 1960, to Enjoyment in 2000. An illustration of this is the growth of the cappuccino culture. Even in Cophenagan's climate, people are happy to be outside all but two months of the year.

    In the 1960's Copenhagen considered phasing out bicycles, but this was reversed by the first oil crisis. Copenhagen developed a network of bicycle paths separated from car traffic. They also have priority traffic lights for bicycles and green lanes. The lights are timed to allow a continual flow of bicycles, with cars having the wait. This is the reverse of the trend in Beijing, where bicycles are being squeezed off the roads.

    In Copenhagen new roads are being designed with only one lane in each direction for cars, plus bicycle lanes, but in such a way they have a higher car capacity than a four lane road. Taxis and trains are also equipped to carry bicycles.

    Professor Gehl contrasted Brisbane and Copenhagen bicycle use. Bicycle use in Brisbane was much lower, with ,most cyclists being young males treating it as an "extreme sport", whereas Copenhagen has almost as many women as men at a much more relaxed pace. However, the Copenhagen cyclists looked hardy when cycling through snow storms.

    Discussing Australia, Professor Gehl detailed Melbourne's success at attracting people to the city. He saw a similar positive future for Sydney, with trams and bicycle lanes planned.

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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Public Spaces For Public Life

    Professor Jan Gehl will present the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture in Canberra, 30 November 2009. Professor Gehl is conducted the "Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey" and is the author of "Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space".
    Free Public Lecture: 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture (30 November 2009)
    2009 November 23

    The Australian Institute of Architects invites the general public to the 2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture to be delivered by world renowned architect Professor Jan Gehl. Gehl’s vision is to create better cities, aspiring to create cities that are lively, healthy, diverse, sustainable and safe – and thereby improve people’s quality of life.

    2009 Walter Burley Griffin Memorial Lecture – Presented by Jan Gehl

    Time: 18:00
    Date: Monday 30th November
    Where: The Shine Dome, Gordon St, ANU, Acton

    Bookings essential. Please RSVP to

    Jan Gehl has worked with the Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne governments and has been engaged by the City of Sydney to develop a Public Spaces and Public Life survey for the Sydney CBD.

    Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said Gehl’s study “will be a landmark urban design initiative for the City to help strike a balance between people, cars and the built form.

    Jan is an Architect MAA & FRIBA, Professor Emeritus of Urban Design at the School of Architecture in Copenhagen. For over 40 years his career has focused on improving the quality of urban life, especially for pedestrians, through his work as urban design adviser to Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, New York Washington, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and many more. His writings include the “Life Between Buildings” first published in 1971, a widely used handbook on the relationship between public spaces and the social life in cities, through to “New City Life”, published in 2006, and which responds to the challenges facing cities in the 21st century (source Gehl Architects).

    National President of the Australian Institute of Architects, Melinda Dodson, will be the respondent to Jan Gehl’s lecture.

    The 2009 WBMGL is presented by the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects with the generous support of the Royal Danish Embassy and GHD Australia.

    The annual WBGML has been delivered in Canberra since 1961.Over that time it has been given by a number of distinguished individuals from many fields of expertise, including Gough Whitlam, Professor Manning Clarke and Romaldo Giurgola.

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    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Prime Minister Needs to Consider the Internet in City Planning

    The latest edition of "On Line Opinion: Australia's free Internet journal of social and political opinion" has an article on "Cities in planning spotlight". I was surprised to find the author is "Kevin Rudd", the Prime Minister:
    "Around the world, nations are grappling with the challenge of planning for the cities of the future. The forces of the global economy are driving rapid urban growth and requiring governments to rethink their approach to the planning and development of cities. ..."
    You can comment on the article, or read those of others. In my comments, I agree with most of the PM's article, but have suggested that the Internet needs to be incorporated in city planning. Projects such as the NBN will change the shape of cities. The Internet can be used to improve public transport and combat climate change, but this needs to be incorporated into city planning to have the maximum benefit.

    Examples of the Internet effecting cities are the use of WiFi on public transport increasing the acceptable journey time for commuters and the use of web booking for car share services. These are examples of changes which can be made to transport system much quicker and cheaper than building a metro or a hybrid car factory.

    In "Cities in planning spotlight" (2/11/2009) Mr. Rudd argues a larger role for central government in city planning. The government has already played a useful role is in transport planning, but needs to incorporate the Internet in planning. The NBN can be used to improve city transport and help combat climate change.

    The federal government funding Melbourne rail improvements and rejecting the Sydney Metro, has sent a clear signal that transport needs to be planned. The NSW government has since made some progress with a study of light rail:

    Recent research predicts a larger rise in sea level than previously thought. None of the proposals currently being prepared for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (CoP15) will be sufficient:

    The Internet is available and rapidly expanding, so it can be deployed to combat climate change faster than other technologies, such as Metros or solar power. Friday's "Govhack" shows how government and community can work innovatively online:

    Data from the $100M Smart Grid Project could be made available for energy saving projects:

    Web carshare projects could be funded:

    Free WiFi for public passengers and a national smart ticket could be introduced.

    Other proposals I put to the APEC Climate Change Symposium in Canberra last week:

    1. GREEN COURSE: Broaden the content and add multimedia, mobile phone and village classroom options to the ANU/ACS Green Technologies course to make it available in APEC countries at the local level:

    2. INNOVATION COMPETITION: Expand the InnovationACT project to the APEC region. In a one year trial Australian and Korea will have teams of students working online on climate change innovations. Prizes will be awarded for the best project:

    3. GREEN CERTIFICATION: Expand the COA Green ICT certification scheme to APEC, providing web tools to ICT green certify organisations:

    4. PROTECT CULTURAL RECORDS: Many cultural institutions are located near the sea and will be at threat from inundation due to climate change. Training and resources for government and non-government cultural institutions to catalogue and digitally preserve their materials can be provided. Background:

    Posted by tomw, Monday, 2 November 2009 10:35:13 AM
    ps: I am on the On Line Opinion Editorial Advisory Board, along with Mrs. Turnbull, amongst others.

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    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Proposed Sydney CBD metro system

    This is for a submission on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans for the proposed Sydney CBD Metro. Comments are invited on this draft (to be finalised by close of business 12 October 2009). These comments are based on the documents provided on the NSW web site (I was unable to find the advertised display at the Leichhardt Library).

    The documents provided offer no alternatives to a metro and no overall transport plan for Sydney. As a result it is not feasible to assess the environmental or other value of the one option presented. Options which need to be considered are expansion of the heavy rail network, as Melbourne is doing with a detailed Victorian Transport Plan and light rail / guided buses in Adelaide.

    The introduction of new telecommunications, including the NBN, will reshape Australian cities. Transport plans need to take account of this. One priority should be an integrated ticket system for Sdyney, similar to the successful Akbil system in Istanbul.

    The availability of wireless telecommunications will also make older and slower transport options more viable, by providing services to commuters on route. As an example, the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway is being equipped with WiFi for passengers. Sydney's successful and popular MetroBus could be similarly equipped with WiFi and electronic signs.

    Metros are very expensive long term projects which, even when they start on time (whereas several previous Sydney Metros projects have not) can be decades late and many billions of dollars over budget. The metro under construction at the Greek city of Thessaloniki only 9.6 km long but has taken thirty years to build.

    Sydney needs to consider shorter term, lower cost projects which have a reasonable chance of success. The prime candidate for funding is the extension to the existing inner west Sydney Light Rail.

    NSW should put on hold the plans for a proposed Metro and start to undertake transport planning.

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    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Victorian Transport Plan

    The Victorian government has been promoting a "Victorian Transport Plan" on free to air TV using advertisements. This may have some unintended negative effects. I am in Canberra, which is not in Victoria, and yet I see the ads. This makes me wonder if the Victorian government is spending its transport money wisely.

    The Victorian advertisements looks very similar to those which the NSW Government used to promote its "North West Metro". These advertisements were designed to reassure the public that this plan was going to be implemented very soon, unfortunately this turned out not to be true.

    The Victorian government might usefully reallocate money from advertising a transport plan to replace its stalled MyKi smart card ticketing system. The Victorian Minister for Transport might like to visit Istanbul and ride their integrated public transport system, using an Akbil electronic token. Istanbul's Akbil is less technically sophisticated than Melbourne's MyKi, but has the advantage of being proved in daily use. Melbourne could benefit from such a system.

    The Victorian government is renaming Melbourne's train system a 'Metro'. A metro system is distinguished by having a high capacity, frequent service. Usually with a metro there is no timetable, with services running at specified frequencies, such as every five to fifteen minutes. The Melbourne trains are not such a system and are therefore not a metro. As with the NSW failed North West project, simply relabeling a rail line a "Metro" will not make it one. In the case of Melbourne rail, the service is provided by a private operator, who could be taken to court for falsely offering a Metro service.

    The last problem is that the Victorian government has made it very difficult to obtain the actual plan advertised. The plan is in the form of numerousdifficult to read files, some of which are very large, under an obscure link: "Download the plan":
    Summary document

    Full document

    Document in parts

    Audio (MP3) version

    Consultant reports

    1. Victorian Transport Plan Stakeholder Engagement Summary Report (PDF, 228 KB, 28 pp.)
    2. Booz and Co: Melbourne Public Transport Standards Review (PDF, 217 KB, 15 pp.)
    3. Edward Dotson: East West Link Needs Assessment Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 6 (PDF, 185 KB, 3 pp.)
    4. GHD: EWLNA and Northern Link (PDF, 13,861 KB, 81 pp.)
    5. GHD: Hoddle Street Advice (PDF, 19,168 KB, 91 pp.)
    6. Maunsell: Review and Analysis of Historical and Proposed Commuter Ferry Services on Port Phillip (PDF, 657 KB, 49 pp.)
    7. Meyrick: Economic Assessment (PDF, 321 KB, 28 pp.)
    8. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Review of Social, Demographic and Land Use Analysis (PDF, 135 KB, 22 pp.)
    9. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Additional Impacts Analysis (PDF, 505 KB, 22 pp.)
    10. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Critique of Assessment of Conventional Costs and Benefits (PDF, 1561 KB, 41 pp.)
    11. Price Waterhouse Coopers: Review of the Estimation of Wider Economic Benefits (PDF, 115 KB, 20 pp.)
    12. SGS Economics and Planning: Melbourne Employment Projections (PDF, 933 KB, 34 pp.)
    13. SGS Economics and Planning: Valuing Household Sector Non-Transport Benefits in Cost Benefits Analysis (PDF, 632 KB, 39 pp.)
    14. Summary of Model Outputs (PDF, 1,802 KB, 23 pp.)
    15. The Nous Group: Transport Abatement Wedges (PDF, 706 KB, 54 pp.)
    16. Veitch Lister: Zenith Model Establishment And Validation Report (PDF, 2,935 KB, 34 pp.)
    17. Veitch Lister: Background Assumptions (PDF, 919 KB, 11 pp.)

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    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan

    The ACT Government has issued for a request for tender for a "Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan" (29 June 2009). There is a 35 page (109.5 kb PDF) tender document which outlines the ACT's public transport strategy and triple bottom line approach to cost benefit analysis. Unfortunately, apart from the tender documents, I was unable to find any reference online to any work being undertaken for the plan. The ACT government appears to be starting from scratch very late in developing a public transport plan.
    The ACT Government has been working on an integrated transport plan that will help create a more sustainable transport environment in the ACT. The Plan will help respond to climate change, and provide benefits to the whole community by making the transport system more efficient, effective, sustainable, and accessible. The key components of this integrated transport plan are strategies for public transport, parking, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure supplemented by detailed implementation plans for the next several years.

    As part of developing a strategy for public transport, the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) has undertaken a study entitled the ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan (PT Plan). This PT Plan has focused on a study year of 2031, with improvements identified over the twenty-two years in the future.

    The key elements of the PT Plan are the identification of:
    • a “back-bone” network structure for public transport operation. This is called the frequent network in the PT Plan;
    • an express network structure to meet commuter needs during peak periods; and
    • a coverage network to meet social goals and accessibility needs.
    The frequent network has two components: frequent rapid services and frequent local services. The frequent network refers to services that run frequently offering reliable public transport at intervals which negate reliance on a timetable. In the long term this is designed to run every 15 minutes.

    Further, the frequent network runs for a long service day, usually a span of at least 15 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    The service characteristics of this network have been identified in the PT Plan. The PT Plan has also identified the infrastructures that support the operation of the proposed network structure and service design.

    The PT Plan has recognised that there is a direct trade off between the resources devoted on the “back-bone” network and the “coverage” network. The recommended service design in the study estimates that there is a potential to achieve more than 16% mode split towards public transport by 2031.

    The implementation of this network structure, therefore, has the benefit of increasing the role of public transport within the ACT and reducing car reliance to some extent.

    Emerging Issues
    In the past few years, major policy issues such as peak oil, climate change and the social inclusion role of public transport (PT) have come to the fore of transport thinking and planning in the ACT.

    An effective public transport system can and should improve the liveability of a city, and a strategically designed PT system would help us adapt and address both sustainable and broader transport planning challenges. This is reflected in the National Capital Plan, and these sentiments have been expanded in policy documents such as the 2004 Canberra Spatial Plan, the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan, and the Integrated Transport Framework published in August 2008.

    Such a system has the potential to support a more compact urban structure, delivering on the principles of integrated land use and transport planning espoused in the National Charter for Land Use and Transport Planning, to which the ACT is a signatory along with all the other jurisdictions. ...

    4.2 Description of Work
    The consultancy is to be based on a Triple Bottom Line cost-benefit analysis. The cost–benefit analysis should go beyond conventional factors such as travel time, vehicle operating costs and crash costs, and needs to consider other factors such as environmental impacts, potential carbon emission reduction, social benefits through improved accessibility, business opportunities and land use intensification, and municipal service cost reduction from urban consolidation.

    In developing the final report, the consultant should identify, and quantify as far as possible, the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of the PT Plan. An effective public transport system provides opportunities for urban consolidation and greater land value capture.

    The modelling of the PT Plan was undertaken by McCormick Rankin Cagney (MRC) using the strategic transport model EMME and further detailed modelling was carried out using VISUM.

    Specifically, the scope of works includes:

    · Modelling and quantitative assessment of economic, environmental and social costs/opportunities;
    · Reviewing and determining network scenarios of different frequent network coverage and network balance, based on the PT Plan and by consulting with the client;
    · Establishing a base case: “Do Nothing” to benchmark assessment;
    · Assessing potential for land value capture, urban consolidation and transit orientated development, particularly at key interchanges and corridors;
    · Developing of a comprehensive cost – benefit analysis; and
    · Suggesting the most beneficial option for the ACT Government to pursue.

    Modelling and assessment of economic, environmental and social factors:
    The analysis must include both qualitative and quantitative assessment of opportunities the implementation of the PT Plan would provide for the ACT in the areas of:

    · Sustainability and climate change benefits, including greenhouse gas reductions;
    · Potential health benefits, for example through reduced vehicle emissions and more active lifestyles;
    · Economic opportunities for the ACT and region, including integration of the city's key retail and office precincts, core education and tourism facilities, and greater development in areas bordering the route (see TOD below);
    · Social inclusion opportunities, including urban design and amenity, accessibility and affordability; and
    · Other benefits/opportunities identified by the consultant.

    In addition to quantification of the above benefits, the cost – benefit analysis will need to include implementation life cost estimates based on the resources and infrastructure costs. The analysis should address a range of input variables such as population growth and the cost of petrol, parking
    and bus fares. The cost – benefit analysis should also refer to the potential impact of carbon pricing on cost estimates in light of the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2010.

    The analysis can use the Australian Transport Council guidelines – the “National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia" at

    From: Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan, ACT Government, 29 June 2009

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    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Australian Offshore Combatant Vessels

    F-35b V/STOL Joint Strike Fighter embarked on offshore_combatant_vessel (artist's impression)According to "Navy the Big Winner - but but when" (Kym Bergmann, Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, May 2009), the Australian Government has decided to rationalise the Navy's patrol boats, mine counter measures, hydrographic and oceanographic vessels into one class of twenty "Offshore Combatant Vessels". These will be larger than the current patrol boats, at up to 2,000 tonnes. This would appear to be the role the Austal Multi-Role Vessel was designed for. The MRV can be thought of as an Armidale patrol boat welded onto the front of a Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), making a lightly armed trimaran which can also carry containerised loads and operate a helicopter, or even a F-35B.

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    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Sydney Light Rail Extension

    According to several media reports the NSW Government are considering a relatively low cost ($100M) plan to extend the existing light rail line in Sydney's inner west.

    The Sydney Morning Hearld goes further, reporting that "Light rail extension could run within a year" (Andrew West, SMH, May 25, 2009), and this would go to cabinet today.

    The plan is low cost and low risk, as it would extend an existing tram service along an existing disused goods rail line. This appears cheap and easy when compared with the proposed Sydney CBD to Rozelle metro which requires tunnels and the resumption of private businesses for stations and would cost $5.3B if it was built.

    It was not clear why the NSW government previously opposed the low cost, low risk scheme, in favour of high cost high risk metros (which it keeps cancelling). One suggestion in the SMH is that the director-general of the Ministry of Transport, Jim Glasson, was opposed to light rail. It is also suggested that the government needed to do something to support the Education Minister, Verity Firth in her electorate for the 2011 election.

    According to the SMH, the Transport Minister, David Campbell, had an epiphany when travelling by tram on holiday in holiday in Paris and Nice.

    One problem which remains for hr tram is the lack of an integrated ticketing system in Sydney. Like Melbourne, Sydney has had problems with a smart card based system. Like Melbourne the problems are due to an overly complex ticket system and the failure by the government to adopt a simplified system, as used in Istanbul.

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    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    Social Networking for Education and CO2 Reduction

    I will be talking on "Learning to lower costs and carbon emissions with ICT" at the ACS Victorian Branch 2009 Conference, 15 May 2009. In this I am arguing that applications such as the Moodle e-learning and Mahara ePortfolio/social networking can reduce carbon emissions. These tools replace travel and classrooms for education and so reduce the carbon footprint of education. Also they teach the students how to work this way, so that in their workplace they can replace meetings and meeting rooms with web based tools.

    I find online tools very useful for business, but the impediment is to find people to work with who are able to use them effectively. The idea that young people just naturally learn to use the web is a myth; they still need to be trained on how to use it effectively. Even IT professionals, who know how the tools work, do not use them effectively unless shown how.

    Another example of using the web for CO2 reduction I will use for the conference is getting there. I have been using the web for "Finding a green way to get to a green conference". So far I have managed to find trains from Melbourne to Ballarat, with a side trip to Box Hill Institute to discuss vocational sustainability training for computing students.

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    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Chastwood to Epping Rail Line in Sydney

    Macquarie University StationGreetings from the Chastwood to Epping Rail Line in Sydney. This line opened a few months ago, eighty years after planning began. The Chatswood station seems surprisingly unprepared for this, with just a paper sign stuck up to show which platform to use for the service. The Sydney 131500 Transport Information Service has the service listed. The train stops at Macquaire university, which is much easier a trip than last time when I went to talk about energy saving nearby by bus. I was able to post this from the underground train using Optus/Virgin's 3G wireless data service switching between HSDPA and UTMS. The train ride was a very smooth and quiet ride with new carriages.

    ps: Of interest at Macquarie University is the co-generation plant next to the library, the Macquarie University E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE) and the falafels.

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    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

    The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (UK), when completed in late 2009, will be the longest guided bus system in the world. It will use similar technology to the Adelaide O-Bahn Busway, which is currently the world's longest. The guided busways combines the features of a bus and tram. A concrete track is being laid, mostly along the right of way of the disused Cambridge and Huntingdon railway. Small wheels on new buses will allow them to be guided on the track, but also run on ordinary roads between sections of track. This has advantages over a tram, which can only run on track, not ordinary roads. The use of the guideway allows for two tracks (one in each direction) to be laid in a smaller space than a roaidway. However, the system has disadvantages: busses have internal combustion engines (not electrically powered as with most trams) and so create local pollution and then have a lower carrying capacity than multi unit trams.

    I have attempted to map the route of the bussway. Note that the route is only approximate and the timings are incorrect (these are based on Google maps estimate of walking speed). Also I attempted to use Googles "my maps" feature, but could not work out how to import the directions.:

    View Larger Map

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    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Travelling the world's longest Guided Busway

    Glenelg to Adelaide Tram at Glenelg
    At 12 kilometres, Adelaide's O-Bahn Busway is the world's longest and fastest guided busway. As I was visiting Adelaide to give a talk, I thought I would take a ride before it is eclipsed by the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (ANU Alumni have been invited to visit Cambridge in July). My hotel was near the Glenelg Tram so I decided to include that in the journey. The tramway runs 12.3-kilometres from the city CBD to the coast south of Adelaide in a straight line. The tram system was refurbished in 2006 with Flexity Classics vehicles from Bombardier and improved track and stops. The network was extended further into the CBD in 2007.

    The trams have raised platforms and good separation from traffic (the trams run on their own right of way for most of the trip separated from roadways). Adelaide has a well integrated ticketing system with one ticket working on buses, trams and trains. I was able to purchase an all day ticket from a conductor on the tram. The bus drivers also sell tickets and the trains have coin operated ticket machines. Tickets are validated at the start of each ride with machines near the entrances on the vehicles. Unlike the inconvenient and dangerous Melbourne system, there are no ticket vending machines on the trams.

    While the trams are only a few years old, the fabric of the seats are starting to show signs of wear. There appears to be no padding in the seats at all, with thin cloth laid over a very hard plastic shell. A few mm of padding would make the seats a lot more comfortable. The windows of the trams have been covered with advertising on the outside which limits vision through the perforations in the ads. Commuters are unlikely to notice this, but it is annoying for tourists who want to see the view.

    The ride of the trams is much better than the old class H trams (which are run on weekends for the tourists) but is still bumpy in places. The few hundred metres of track at Glenegle has a nasty vibration, which made my teeth hurt, and needs work. However, the discomfort is rewarded when the tram comes to a stop at the end of the line in sight of the ocean, with a cafe on one side and a mall on the other.

    There are bicycle lockers provided at some stops and bicycles (and surfboards) are not permitted on the trams. The stops are well laid out and designed for long vandal resistant life. There is a sponsored mural near the depot at Glandore.

    The section of the line in the Adelaide CBD and at Glenelg is free, providing a very useful service for short journeys. Unfortunately this results in overcrowding of the trams in the CBD. However, this was not as uncomfortable as the loading on the Istanbul tram.

    Some of the stops were by request, with an automated announcement advising when the passenger needed to push a button to request a stop. One problem with this is that, unlike a bus, there appeared to be no audio or visual feedback to indicate that the stop request had been received, leaving me wondering if the tram was going to stop. Overall this was an excellent service which should be expanded.

    Adelaide O-Bahn Busway

    Unlike the trams, which run down the streets of Adelaide, the busway was much harder to find. Google's trip planner advised me to take buss M44 and indicated which stop it left from in the city (in the same street the trams leave from). It would have been useful if the planner indicated what tram stop the bus sto was near, as this is a very long street with a lot of bus stops. Eventually I found the stop and checked the bus had a guide wheel. The wheel looks like one from a children's tricycle, mounted horizontally just behind the front door of the bus. This is linked to the front wheels of the bus and steers it automatically on the busway. I cancelled my ticket in the machine as on the tram. The buses for the buss way look very old and in need of replacement, reminding me of some in India. In particular the articulated buses look very worn (there are technical problems in replacing the articulated buses).

    The buses travel slowly through the city traffic, indistinguishable from any other bus (apart from looking a generation older). They then divert onto the busway, past a warning sign to motorists and over a "sump buster" to catch those which did not heed the warning. The busway looks like a children's toy wooden railway rack enlarged. The track is made of concrete sections laid on concrete sleepers. There are gaps between the sleepers where you can see the ground underneath. There is a disconcertingly small lip on the side of the track for the guide wheel. The track for the opposite direction seems very close (with the windows on the right die of the bus limited to only opening a few cm, presumably for safety). It would appear that if the guide system failed the bus would be derailed, colliding with an oncoming bus or plummeting off the bridges into the river, but the other passengers seemed unconcerned.

    The busway follows the Adelaide River Torrens Linear Park away from streets, making it feel like a trip in the countryside. The buses travel at 80 to 100 km/h and stop at three interchanges: Klemzig Station, Paradise and Tea Tree Plaza. At each stop the bus leaves the busway and returns to running on a regular road. As a result the busway itself is not very apparent to the commuter.

    For a system that has been in use for twenty years, the o-bhan is in good condition. The interchanges look a little dated, the buses look past time for retirement, but the track system looks like it could go on for ever. Adelaide should keep this system.

    There is a problem with a slightly bumpy ride with the joins between the sections of concrete track (much more frequent joins that with steel tram lines). These bumps have caused problems with uncomfortable oscillations in new designs of articulated buses, but are also uncomfortable on regular buses. It should be possible to overcome this problem with a computer controlled ferromagnetic damper added to the bus suspension.

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