Kym Norley

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit, place - australasia, planning - promotion, planning - marketing/promotion


transport plans, Sydney, print media, policies, public transportation investment


Some 40 to 50 years ago the Australian State and Capital Territory governments produced comprehensive transport plans that began the transport planning processes for their capital cities. The subsequent path has been varied, particularly in regard to public transport. Sydney in particular has a long history of equivocation and deferral of major transport infrastructure construction, despite current and planned urban growth. Expansion of the railway network is now a major planning issue. Urban growth has outstripped that of the public transport system over an extended period and, whether or not policies of consolidation succeed, urban rail system capacity and extent is of concern. The past decade has been particularly problematic, and Sydney in particular has seen rapid swings in transport infrastructure policy and little new construction achieved. The primary purpose of this paper is to document the events of the past decade and how the plans have unfolded. It notes particularly the part played by the print media in raising the profile of transport planning in this process. The paper is based on path dependence theory and seeks to draw out the relationship between decisions taken over time. It will form the historical timeline for the author’s research in examining the cost of equivocation in public transport investment.