Transport. It shapes the economic, cultural and physical development of places. It influences the decisions people make about where to live, work or set up a business. And it’s a huge contributor to quality of life, social equity and wellbeing. As part of our focus on Evolving Transport, we take a look at how we’re doing things differently to help create vibrant communities across NSW.
Transport has always been a ‘placemaker’ but for a long time that reality wasn’t really reflected in how transport was planned or how investment and service delivery decisions were made.
Transport was managed by separate agencies and organisations and plans were based on what would work for a single mode of transport, focusing on operational rather than customer or community outcomes.
Happily, that’s not the case anymore. We started doing things differently back in 2011 when we came together as one Transport cluster and decided to put the customer at the centre of everything we do.
Now we have our Future Transport plan that includes a strong commitment to putting people and places first and making sure that transport enhances the liveability and economic success of cities, centres and towns and the communities that call them home.
Delivering on this community commitment is a key focus for the Infrastructure and Place division. It is responsible for bringing the customer and community focused plans set by the new Customer Strategy and Technology division to life. And it builds the infrastructure that the new Greater Sydney and Regional and Outer Metropolitan divisions need to deliver integrated customer focused transport services every day.
Deputy Secretary Peter Regan says it’s an exciting time to be working in Infrastructure and Place.
“The sheer scale of what we’re delivering makes us probably the biggest infrastructure delivery agency in Australia.
“What I’m interested in though is being the best, not just at delivering infrastructure, but at creating great places, which connect people, communities and businesses. By rethinking how we operate, we can improve people’s lives, create jobs and drive economic growth.
“To do that we’ve got to keep our focus on the customer, and think about what the ‘greater good’ really means. By starting with what the customer needs, and taking a multi-modal approach, we can help people get to where they need to go seamlessly, safely and sustainably, and that’s going to benefit everyone across NSW,” Peter said.
Working for Wagga
One of our Future Transport commitments is to develop place plans for regional hubs across NSW and first up is Wagga Wagga in the south west.
The community in Wagga has a vision. They want their city to be a global centre of production, connected to the world via inland rail. And Wagga is growing thanks to an influx of new businesses and residents attracted by great economic opportunities and lifestyle it has to offer.
The place plan for Wagga, which is being developed in partnership with Wagga Wagga City Council, will look at how transport can help the community achieve that vision.
The council had already done a lot of work to develop its own integrated transport plan but many of the actions needed our involvement, so the first thing we did was sit down with them to find out what was going on locally and how we could help.
Some of the issues uncovered included the need to improve traffic flow through a growing health and education precinct, managing large numbers of freight trucks, enhancing the main street to support local businesses and prioritising active transport connections.
Director of the South West Region and long-time Wagga resident Lindsay Tanner said this new collaborative, place based approach is a big change in how we approach regional transport networks and services.
“For the first time we’re working towards a shared vision and plan, shared with local communities but also across different parts of the Transport cluster.
“We’re also thinking much more about how customers and communities move around and we’re taking a holistic approach to how transport can support that.
“The biggest change for me coming from Roads and Maritime Services is that now we’re thinking about transport networks, not just linear corridors. That’s an enormous shift in terms of how we did business previously,” Lindsay said.
The Wagga community loves to cycle and one of the things locals have wanted for a long time is to be able to safely cycle to and from work and schools for their daily commute.
Over the last few years the council has worked with the community to design a 51km interconnected network of dedicated cycle paths connecting the city and suburbs. Now we’re providing funding so the project can be completed.
Ben Cebuliak, a senior regional planner, said rather than slowly drip-feeding money over a number of years, we’ve committed the full $11.3M up front and we’ll also stay involved throughout implementation.
“Supporting Wagga and its council throughout the delivery of this project means we can consider things like how cycling can reduce traffic congestion and take into consideration future land use and transport plans,” Ben said.
What is placemaking?
It’s a bit of a buzzword but placemaking has a simple idea at its heart. It goes beyond transport infrastructure by putting people and local communities at the centre of how we plan, design and develop the public spaces that are important to them.
By partnering with local councils, residents and businesses we can really understand how they use their public spaces now, what the issues are and what the community wants for the future.
That means we can deliver transport infrastructure and services that make places work better and improve the health, social connection and happiness of communities. Placemaking is also scalable — we could be focusing on a small area within a city or an entire region of NSW.
You only have to look at what’s going on across Sydney right now to see how Transport is helping to revitalise and reimagine places for local communities. These projects are approaching transport infrastructure in an integrated way, considering how every element will come together to create successful places and provide great transport connections.
We’re creating a precinct with a real sense of place that connects into surrounding neighbourhoods, drawing on the character and heritage of this landmark location.
We’re creating a revitalised, vibrant, waterfront destination matching Sydney’s role as Australia’s premier global city, and one that meets current and future demand for transport services.
We’re helping create a one kilometre dining and entertainment place between Hunter and Bathurst Streets as we build the pedestrian and light rail zone, providing new opportunities for outdoor dining, creative spaces and entertainment.
We’re helping build the Central River City by joining up the greater Parramatta area with two new light rail and pedestrian zones and better public and active transport connections.
Redfern and North Eveleigh
To help make this precinct Australia’s leading technology and innovation hub, we’re providing new public spaces and improving public and active transport options.
We’re helping to create an exciting hub around Town Hall Station with new office buildings, residential apartments, and hotel, commercial and retail spaces.
We’re taking the opportunity to create a modern, liveable precinct featuring green space, community facilities, shops and a gym, supported by a world class metro system.
Eight new metro stations and five upgraded stations have helped transform the liveability of communities all along the Sydney Metro Northwest route.
We’re enhancing this area as a great place to work with an integrated station development that includes a new metro station, two new commercial buildings, a retail space, a recreation precinct, revitalised public spaces and new underground pedestrian connections.
We’re contributing to making North Sydney a thriving commercial, residential and entertainment hub by building a state of the art 40-storey office building above the new metro station that integrates exciting retail opportunities.
We’re helping revitalise this diverse community with a new metro station, lots of open spaces and much more. It’ll be one of the most connected and attractive places in the inner city to live, work and visit.