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

National Guidelines for Transport System Management

posted Thursday 31 March 2016
The Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is revising its guidelines for transport system management known as Australian Transport Assessment and Planning (ATAP) Guidelines. The guidelines outline best practice for transport planning and assessment in Australia and have obvious relevance to public transport in urban areas. They are a key component of processes to ensure that proposals to improve transport systems in Australia achieve objectives, provide maximum net benefit to the community and represent value for money. Users of the Guidelines include government departments and agencies, private firms, individuals, industry bodies and consultants.

APTNSW has submitted:

Action for Public Transport (NSW) Inc. ("APTNSW") is a transport advocacy group active in Sydney since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport; both passengers, and the wider community.

APTNSW has long been concerned about the systematic bias against public transport investment embedded in some analysis and appraisal techniques. It is very easy to be misled by decision-making models that presuppose the solution to a problem, address the wrong problem, or cannot cope with the important things that add up to quality of life: access to employment and education, social equity and inclusion, and a healthy environment. The National Guidelines for Transport System Management have a big role to play, either as part of the problem, or part of the solution.

We are pleased to see that the material issued for the purposes of stakeholder consultation recognises two of the key issues that have long concerned us: the question of wider economic benefits, and the question of the city-shaping power of transport changes.

In particular we are pleased to note that the paper on Integrated Transport and Land Use Planning challenges the conventional approach of starting with land use, and making assumptions about the effect of land use on transportation choices. We agree entirely that this approach does not recognise the operation of the dynamic in the other direction - transport provision shapes land use patterns, and transport facilities are indeed land uses in their own right.

The call for integrated land use and transport planning has been made for many years, but APTNSW suggests that Jim Betts, CEO of Infrastructure NSW and former Secretary of the Department of Transport in Victoria, may be even closer to the mark. At an ADC Forum on Infrastructure in Sydney (March 2014) he reportedly said: "Transport planning is land use planning".

Please accept these comments as our submission in the current stakeholder consultation process, in conjunction with relevant submissions we have made to other bodies in recent times:

We would be very happy to participate in this important review process as opportunities arise.

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