28 March 2017
MEETING AGENDA – PRECIS
The following report appears as late item with the Administrator’s approval as information required for the preparation of the report was not available at the time of distribution of the Business Paper.
1 Administrator's Minutes
C0317 Item 17 Administrator's Minute: Parramatta Road Public Transport Improvements – Guided Electric Transit System 3
28 March 2017
Subject: Administrator's Minute: Parramatta Road Public Transport Improvements – Guided Electric Transit System
File Ref: 17/4718/31107.17
From Richard Pearson, Administrator
1. Request the NSW State Government to jointly fund a Preliminary (Stage 1) Feasibility Study to examine the provision of a centre-running Guided Electric Transit System along Parramatta Road, between Strathfield and the Sydney CBD;
2. Offer to provide dollar for dollar funding, to a maximum of $80,000, toward a joint Council/State Government Preliminary (Stage 1) Feasibility Study of a centre-running Guided Electric Transit System along Parramatta Road, between Strathfield and the Sydney CBD;
3. Invite other Councils along the Parramatta Road Corridor, between Strathfield and Sydney CBD, to contribute toward the Preliminary (Stage 1) Feasibility Study.
In response to the NSW State Government’s Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy (PRUTS) and potentially reduced traffic volumes on Parramatta Road (predicted to result from the WestConnex Motorway project) the former Leichardt Council resolved (C167/16P) to commission consultants to prepare a study examining opportunities to provide light rail along Parramatta Road. Other Parramatta Road Corridor Councils were approached to co-fund the Study, with Canada Bay Council agreeing to contribute $10,000 and Inner West Council contributing a total of $60,000 toward the study.
Subsequently, the Inner West Council commissioned Bodhi Alliance and EDAB Consulting to prepare the Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study.
When the draft study indicated that light rail would be difficult to accommodate within the existing corridor and identified alternative transport options, Council expanded the study brief to include a comparison of the State Government’s recently proposed Rapid Bus Service (RBS) and the Guided Electric Transit System (GETS) identified in the draft study.
Subsequently, Council officers have reviewed the final version of the Study which includes this comparison.
Summary of the Study Findings
In summary, the study indicates that:
· kerbside running of either buses or light rail was unlikely to encourage reactivation of frontage uses on Parramatta Road;
· while centre-running light rail was likely to assist in encouraging revitalisation of the Corridor, the lane width required would be likely to necessitate footpath narrowing widening and/or possible site acquisitions at narrow points along Parramatta Road;
· centre-running of buses would require significantly more space than light rail due to the door configuration of the existing fleet (left side loading);
· contemporary technology is available which provides an alternative to buses and light rail that is likely to be able to provide centre-running within the existing carriageway. This technology is referred to as a Guided Electric Transit System (GETS). A GETS suitable for Parramatta Road would be likely to use optically guided, narrow width (2.4-2.8m), rubber tyred vehicles with hybrid gas/electric motors.
During the course of the Study, Transport for NSW announced that it was investigating the use of a kerbside running Rapid Bus System (RBS) for Parramatta Road. Subsequently Council’s consultants were requested to compare the two systems (GETS with RBS). This comparison indicated that:
· both systems could be introduced from Day One of WestConnex, and so preserve any spare capacity that may be available on Parramatta Road. Additionally, even if spare capacity was not available the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy must be supported by a significant improvement in public transport along the corridor.
· both systems have relatively minor sub-surface road works and consequently are unlikely to encounter the construction delays and budget over-runs of many light rail projects;
· both systems cater for point-to-point travel along the corridor as well as medium distance commuters;
· implementation of the RBS would cost less than the GETS, however the long term benefits of a GETS include environmental savings, greater social acceptance, lower maintenance costs;
· GETS has greater capacity than the RBS;
· GETS represents state-of-the-art public transport technology which has the potential to be incrementally upgraded;
· based on the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy’s (ITDP) rapid bus transit scorecard the RBS did not rate as a rapid transit service while the GETS received a “gold” rating;
· kerbside running of the RBS would preclude any opportunities for kerbside parking. Noting that kerbside parking (for at least part of the day) is considered essential in achieving frontage activation and revitalisation;
· GETS has a greater likelihood of both encouraging mode shift to public transport and acting as a catalyst for revitalisation.
Ultimately the findings of this study suggest that a GETS:
· could generally be accommodated within the corridor between Strathfield and Sydney City;
· has an image and appeal that is likely to encourage confidence in developers and future residents and so act as a catalyst for revitalisation;
· would provide a cost-effective solution positioned between the price of rapid bus services and light rail;
· provide sufficient capacity, frequency and flexibility to both service the growing population and encourage revitalisation.
A summary of the study is provided as Attachment 1 of this minute.
Consequently, the study recommends that the Councils and the State Government work together to analyse the feasibility of introducing a GETS for the Parramatta Road Corridor.
Preliminary (Stage 1) Feasibility Study of Guided Electric Transit for Parramatta Road is the next step in providing a significantly improved public transport system along Parramatta Road. It is estimated that this study is likely to cost in the order of $150,000-$160,000 and would include consideration of
· specific technology and vehicles to best fit the local environment;
· design parameters and constraints for the project;
· road and lane configurations, including any specific pinch points and measures to manage these locations;
· environmental benefits;
· revitalisation benefits;
· projected demand: capacity analysis;
· preferred vehicle types and costs;
· more accurate pricing for project.
This study would then be used to inform a Comprehensive (Stage 2) Feasibility Study and Business Case, including a Benefit: Cost Analysis and detailed operational considerations.
Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study - Summary