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

1 comment:

Chris said...

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