Mass Rapid Transit for Perth & Peel @ 3.5 Million and Beyond

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place - australasia, mode - mass transit, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - bus, land use - planning, land use - transit oriented development, land use - impacts, planning - network design, planning - route design, planning - travel demand management, operations - capacity


mass rapid transit (MRT), Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), transit demand, network capacity


Research by the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) in Western Australia, commissioned by the State Government of Western Australia (WA), examined strategic directions for public mass rapid transit (MRT) to serve WA’s capital city Perth and Peel when the regions’ combined population reaches 3.5 million (estimated to occur in about 2050), from a population of 2.02 million in 2014. The research did not include economic evaluation, as significant detailed planning will be required for route and technology selection, and to measure the effects of emerging disruptive communications and transport technologies, demographic and urban growth outcomes on demand for public transport trips. In the three decades to 2015 Western Australia electrified and substantially extended its ‘heavy-rail’-based MRT system, operated by the State’s Public Transport Authority (PTA), which in 2015 comprised a five-branch radial electrified network of 70 stations and 181 route-km, operating through the CBD hub, providing significant capacity for future years. The MRT network is supported by a timetabled bus feeder system, which was not a focus of this research. A ‘sketch planning’ methodology estimated capacity-critical week-day peak-hour public transport boardings for the 3.5 million population horizon. The urban development strategy of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) for ‘Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million’, which includes significant ‘densification’ and a focus of growth in and around designated ‘Activity Centres’, was used in estimating transit demand, but differing employment distribution scenarios were tested. A growth in all-day public transport market share from about 8% (2015) to at least 12% (@ ‘3.5 million’) has been assumed. The desired growth strategy includes a strong CBD employment hub. The potential impacts of disruptive technologies on travel behaviours were considered but the long (three and a half to four decades) planning horizon precluded their quantification. Future MRT network development was based on recommended Hi-Trans© ‘demand-based’ principles, which seek to maximise service frequency to achieve as far as practicable ‘turn-up and go’ timetabling. Plans by the PTA for MRT network capacity enhancement until 2031 (including minimal network extensions) were the basis for network capacity estimation without significant new infrastructure. Findings regarding additional new infrastructure included options for a new line serving the inner north (east of and absorbing demand which would otherwise flow to the present northern railway, which will reach practicable capacity before 3.5 million), complemented by significant addition of orbital network lines (one ‘heavy’ rail and one LRT) joining strategic Activity Centres, by an inner city Metro distributor, and by a small number of new rail links aimed at enhancing network connectivity and improving operating resilience. An important aim of proposed new orbital lines and the new MRT corridor east of the northern line is to divert peak-hour boardings from the northern MRT radial, which will reach capacity before ‘3.5 million’. A substantial part of the extended network would probably be built in tunnels to avoid using major road capacity needed for road traffic, and to avoid adverse effects on TOD precinct designs. Variations from the planned land-use densification would necessarily affect the utility of future additions to public transport infrastructure, with less densification requiring reductions in investment, and conversely greater densification providing opportunities for greater network capacity and connectivity.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC), copyright remains with them.