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East Coast

High Capacity
Infrastructure
Corridors
A realistic pathway
to very fast trains
Infrastructure
Partnerships
Australia

8th Floor
8-10 Loftus Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T +61 2 9240 2050
F +61 2 9240 2055
www.infrastructure.org.au

Aecom Australia Pty Ltd

Level 11
44 Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T +61 2 8295 3600
F +61 2 9262 5060
www.aecom.com

For more
information
please contact:

Brendan Lyon
Executive Director
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
T +61 2 9240 2051
E brendan.lyon@infrastructure.org.au

Larry McGrath
National Manager, Transport
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
T +61 2 9240 2056
E larry.mcgrath@infrastructure.org.au

Philip Davies
Director – Strategic Planning and Advisory
AECOM
T +61 2 8295 3618
E philip.davies@aecom.com

David Adams
Director – Economics
AECOM
T +61 2 8295 4336
E david.adams@aecom.com
CONTENTS
Executive Summary  8

recommendations  12

The Authors  13

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia  13

AECOM  13

1.0 Introduction  14

1.1 Why preserve infrastructure corridors?  14

1.2 Current approach to national infrastructure spending  16

1.2.1 High capacity infrastructure corridor needed to meet growing demand  16

1.3 An incremental approach to establishing the corridors  16

1.4 Future high capacity infrastructure - The very fast train option  18

1.5 Projected population  19

1.6 Current infrastructure requirements and capacity constraints  20

1.7 Meeting future transport needs  20

1.7.1 Effective transport leads to productivity growth 20

1.7.2 Limitations of existing systems 20

1.7.3 Investment decisions impact on productivity and congestion  21

1.8 Importance of government leadership  21

2.0 Infrastructure Planning – A National Approach  22

2.1 Infrastructure planning in Australia  22

2.2 Demand building towards high-speed rail  22

2.3 Towards a national infrastructure planning approach  22

2.4 Corridor protection – land designation and acquisition  24

3.0 Connecting Australia – The Case for High Speed Rail in the Future  26

3.1 What is high speed rail?  26

3.2 The role of high speed rail in delivering REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT  26

3.3 A little history …  26

3.3.1 Purpose of overseas high speed rail networks  27

3.3.2 Governance  27

3.3.3 Finance options  28

3.3.4 Lessons learned  28

3.4 Snapshots of current overseas VFT projects  29

4.0 Developing a Realistic Scope  32

4.1 Preliminary engineering function  32

4.2 Design and alignment  32


4.2.1 Engineering approach  32

4.2.2 Design assumptions  33

4.2.3 Entry to cities  33

4.2.4 Operations  33

4.2.5 Assumed route alignment  34

4.2.6 Proposed implementation stages  35

4.2.7 Indicative transit times  36

4.2.8 Proposed corridor profile  37

4.2.9 Constraints  37

4.3 Technology, infrastructure and rolling stock  39

4.3.1 Staging approach  39

5.0 Economic Benefits  41

5.1 Introduction  41

5.2 Travel time benefits  41

5.3 Decongestion benefits  47

5.4 Wider economic benefits  47

5.5 Savings in external costs  47

5.6 Deferral of a second Sydney airport  48

5.7 Land value increase from improvement in accessibility  49

5.8 Value of options – land acquisition cost savings  51

5.9 Immediate versus staged corridor acquisition  52

5.10 More efficient freight operation  53

5.11 Tourism and business events  53

5.12 Employment benefits  53

5.13 Reducing reliance on fossil fuels  53

5.14 Safety benefits  54

5.15 National road pricing  54

5.16 Economic impact on the aviation sector  55

6.0 Environmental Constraints for Infrastructure Corridors  57

6.1 Introduction  57

6.2 Environmental FACTORS 57

6.2.1 Other considerations  58

6.3 Corridor characteristics  59

6.4 Environment risk management  59


Tables
Table 1: PREDICTED VFT TRAVEL TIMES & PASSENGERS 2051  8

Table 2: COAG National Objectives and Criteria for Future Strategic Planning of Capital Cities  23

Table 3: POTENTIAL STATION LOCATIONS  35

Table 4: POSSIBLE Implementation Stages 35

Table 5: Indicative Route Transit Times 36

Table 6: Estimated City centre to City centre journey times  37

Table 7: Main competing modes and the mode shares for 2010 42

Table 8: Population growth per annum  42

Table 9: Mode shares for 2021 & 2051 Business as Usual Scenario 43

Table 10: Base and future scenarios travel time comparison for the competing modes  44

Table 11: Mode shift and travel time savings 46

Table 12: Travel time improvement in regional cities  50

Table 13: The key environmental issues associated with the introduction of the corridor 57

Table 14: Examples of mitigation measures 60

Figures
Figure 1: Population Density Increases 2011 to 2051 and an indicative east coast High Speed Rail corridor  11

Figure 2: Gas and electricity infrastructure networks  15

Figure 3: Passenger carrying capacity – comparison between transport modes 17

Figure 4: Breakdown of Benefits for high speed rail  18

Figure 5: Population increase along Australia’s East coast 19

Figure 6: Population growth of capital cities vs. Australia total  19

Figure 7: Illustrative graphic of a potential corridor with shared infrastructure 24

Figure 8: Funding Sources: A scenario of possible funding sources in a u.s example 29

Figure 9: Indicative Infrastructure Corridor Route, showing potential La Trobe alignment 32

Figure 10: Potential Sydney to Sunshine coast corridor AND Potential Melbourne to Sydney corridor,
showing assumed Albury alignment and potential La Trobe alignment 34

Figure 11: Australian east coast corridor AND recently completed French TGV route  38

Figure 12: USA east coast corridor AND Spanish high-speed corridors 38

Figure 13: Long distance market share model 45

Figure 14: Comparison of average external costs for rail versus other transport modes 48

Figure 15: Plot of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD for Sydney, in 2009 values and prices 49

Figure 16: Comparison of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD relationships for Sydney,
Brisbane and Gold Coast (2009 values and prices) 50

Figure 17:  Comparison of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD relationships for Sydney,
Brisbane and Gold Coast (2009 values and prices) 50

Figure 18: Growth (% Change) in Unimproved Land Values per annum for the Key Coastal Towns and Cities  51

Figure 19: 2009 Unimproved Land Values per square metre 51

Figure 20: Break-even probability of Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne corridor options 52


Glossary
ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics

ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

ARTC Australian Rail Track Corporation

AVE Atla Velocidad Espanola (Spanish High Speed Rail Train)

CBD Central Business District

COAG Council of Australian Governments

CRC Rail Innovation Co-operative Research Centre for Rail Innovation

FIFA Fedération Internationale de Football Association

GDP Gross Domestic Product

HCI High Capacity Infrastructure

HSR High Speed Rail

IA Infrastructure Australia

ICE Inter-City Express (German High Speed Rail service)

IPA Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

NBN National Broadband Network

NSW New South Wales

Renfe Spanish government’s railway company

RFF Réseau Ferré de France (French Rail Network)

SNCF The French national railway

TGV Train a Grande Vitesse (French High Speed Rail service)

UIC International Union of Railways

V/Line Victoria’s regional rail service

VFT Very fast train


8 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

Executive Summary

High speed rail has long been considered a possibility for the east High speed rail is primarily used for passenger transport and includes
coast of Australia, but to date this consideration has not resulted in railways that operate at speeds greater than 200 kilometres per
concrete progression toward a network; or even consensus about a hour. Despite an absence of a standard definition for high speed rail,
future network’s route. common characteristics of most high speed rail systems include:

Now, as Australia grapples with a debate about how it can best • travel speeds greater than 200 km/h;
accommodate projected population growth and reduce carbon • purpose-built, continuous welded rail tracks to allow for greater speeds;
emissions, it is clear that High Speed Rail could offer a game • the absence of at-grade pedestrian crossings;
change in the way we consider and plan for mobility, regional • electric overhead lines used to drive the system; and
development and other social and economic outcomes. • the use of in-cab signalling.

In this report, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) and In recent times, operational high speed rail systems have attained
AECOM propose a new way of considering High Speed Rail on the routine travel speeds of greater than 300 km/h as technologies have
east coast of Australia, through a long-term, realistic and pragmatic advanced. For example, the TGV in France routinely achieves speeds of
approach to nation building. 320 km/h, while China’s new system operates routinely at 350 km/h.

TABLE 1
PREDICTED VFT TRAVEL TIMES & PASSENGERS 2051
2051 Business as Usual 2051 VFT 350km/h Mode Travel time
Mode Split Split 350km/h VFT
Brisbane - Sydney Air 6.637 m 3.098 m
Car 0.978 m 0.978 m
Train 0.038 m 3.577 m 173 mins
Brisbane – Melbourne Air 4.289 m 4.041 m
Car 0.090 m 0.090 m
Train 0.000 m 0.248 m 353 mins
Sydney – Canberra Air 0.658 m 0.128 m
Car 11.146 m 0.063 m
Train 0.335 m 11.948 m 57 mins
Sydney – Melbourne Air 12.795 m 6.611 m
Car 2.086 m 2.086 m
Train 0.080 m 6.264 m 180 mins
Gold Coast – Sydney Air 4.407 m 1.947 m
Car 1.004 m 1.004 m
Train 0.046 m 2.506 m 146 mins
Gold Coast – Melbourne Air 2.936 m 2.741 m
Car 0.668 m 0.668 m
Train 0.030 m 0.225 m 326 mins
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 9

Analysis undertaken for this report on the proposed high speed Under this scenario the
rail corridor shows that at 350 km/h, an Australian High Speed Rail
network would actively compete with air travel on the east coast. Gold Coast would be only
Table 1 shows predicted travel on key corridors both in a business as
usual scenario to 2051, and with a proposed 350 km/h very fast train
two-and-a-half hours by train
service. from Sydney, Melbourne three
Under this scenario the Gold Coast would be only two-and-a-half hours from Sydney, and Sydney
hours by train from Sydney, Melbourne three hours from Sydney,
and Sydney and Newcastle would be less than 40 minutes apart.
and Newcastle would be less
This analysis shows that high speed rail becomes an attractive and than 40 minutes apart.
competitive mode to air travel, significantly reducing the levels of
carbon emissions and reducing demand on Australia’s airports and
making Very Fast Trains a viable proposition.

High speed rail is also an important catalyst for regional development Australia has the opportunity to learn from the historic planning
and renewal. In Europe, very fast rail has been associated with mistakes experienced by nations that are well advanced in delivering
the economic and social recovery of a number of regional centres. high speed rail networks who face the twin pressure and expense
Areas serviced by high speed rail generally have higher employment of needing to acquire corridors concurrently with developing existing
than other areas, varying in proportion to travel time savings. High networks.
Speed Rail may, for instance, present Australia with an opportunity to
accommodate growth without the need for radical changes to density International experience shows long-term planning of transport
of capital cities and begin to answer some of our most challenging infrastructure has been the catalyst for higher standards of living
social issues, such as access to affordable housing. and broader precinct and regional development improvements.

Initial analysis suggests that some sections of an east coast high The way forward for an Australian high speed rail network is
speed rail network are likely to make economic sense now – including incremental development, constructing sections where benefits are
a high speed rail connection between Sydney and its second airport most readily available first. This staged corridor development would
– but other segments of the full High Speed Rail network are not involve progressively building out from areas of higher population
likely to become economic until many decades in the future, however densities to provide initial benefit, ultimately creating inter-capital
further detailed study is required. links. It is critical that this process is part of a unified, nationally
coordinated plan for high speed rail.
This report also finds that action is required now to identify an entire
East Coast network and preserve the infrastructure corridors for Some corridors, for example Sydney to Canberra or Newcastle,
the next generation and beyond – to be shared between services may lend themselves to short-term development. If high speed rail
including High Speed Rail, energy, water and communications. linked an existing airport such as Canberra or Williamstown, the
need for a second Sydney airport could be deferred, saving up to
The development of high capacity infrastructure corridors in Australia $15 billion and significantly enhancing the economic case for the
is essential to facilitate the movement of people and goods and project.
the delivery of services, given the predicted population and density
increases over the next four decades. It is imperative the Federal The report does not suggest we build a very fast train along the
Government plays a pivotal role in meeting the challenges that this entire east coast immediately. IPA and AECOM consider that there
involves – to preserve the corridors now, enabling Australia to develop is a very high probability that a new high speed rail link between
and implement a long-term approach to infrastructure planning. the major capitals on Australia’s eastern seaboard will be needed,
but portions of the corridor may not be economically feasible for
Protecting these corridors now will mean that an east coast high years or decades. However, recognising the need to link these
speed rail network remains a realistic option for the future, even on areas with a high capacity infrastructure corridor is the first step;
the segments that do not yet make economic sense. Conversely, the next step involves examining how to get there in a realistic and
failure to protect the corridors now will increase their cost in the future appropriate way – through reservation, acquisition and incremental
and could put a complete network out of Australia’s financial capacity. implementation.
10 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

The approach set out in this report takes into account the social There are also less community impacts in securing corridors
and economic dividends that could be delivered by high speed sooner rather than later. Related value capture development
rail in terms of Australia’s looming population growth and density is also more likely to eventuate with trends towards industrial
in capital cities and regional and coastal growth centres; reduced estates, higher density housing, and commercial property
travel times, housing choice, the impact on national productivity, developments.
standards of living and employment, and the transport-related
problem of congestion affecting all transit and freight modes. Other economic benefits of very fast rail, including productivity
gains, employment growth, sustainability dividends,
The Federal Government is increasingly recognising its central regionalisation of industries, access to labour markets, land
role in meeting demand for infrastructure services. Under current value uplift and growth in overall business capacity, have also
arrangements, the Federal Government plays this role primarily been identified in this analysis. One freight train between
by funding the project initiatives of state governments; but there Melbourne and Sydney replaces up to 150 semi-trailers and
are significant precedents for the Commonwealth to engage saves 45,000 litres of fuel and 130 tonnes of greenhouse
in an integrated, strategic planning approach. These include gases, compared with road haulage. It also showed that in
Infrastructure Australia’s commissioning of national freight the event of a high probability of needing the corridor in the
network and ports strategies, the national plan for health services future for a very fast train network, it makes economic sense
and hospitals and the COAG agreement on developing strategic to reserve and subsequently acquire the entire corridor now
plans for all the capital cities. The COAG agreement is of particular rather than later.
relevance, in that it seeks to put in place long-term plans that
integrate land use, infrastructure and transport, and cater for If there is a reasonable chance of needing a very fast train
economic and population growth and demographic change. in the future – specifically 86% in 2030 or 93% in 2050, as
reflected in analysis for this report – then the benefits of
Figure 1 illustrates population growth scenarios for capital cities, acquiring the entire corridor now exceed the costs in real
their hinterlands, coastal regions, in the Canberra region, and terms. Specifically, this analysis shows that acquiring the land
inland and depicts an indicative corridor route that would be for a corridor between Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast in
required to provide infrastructure services to cater for growth 2010 would cost around $13.7 billion. By 2030, this cost will
of this magnitude. The dotted line through the La Trobe valley have risen to $57 billion. Alternatively, governments could
indicates an alternative Canberra-Melbourne route through choose to acquire the corridor segmentally, based on where
population centres in this region, however final route alignment the network could be rolled out first.
would need to be the subject of further detailed studies.
High speed rail proposals have been proposed over the years,
The compounding elements of congestion are evident as there however the work undertaken by IPA and AECOM in assessing
are currently almost 1000 flights per week between Melbourne a very fast train route along the east coast shows that
and Sydney, and the number will inevitably increase; other Australia’s increasing population and growing economy would
routes, such as Sydney to Canberra or southeast Queensland, are greatly benefit from the establishment of such a system. In
beginning to face similar pressures; and an ageing demographic this report, we propose a realistic approach to achieving this,
is leading to greater population concentrations in regional and through corridor reservation and incremental development of
coastal locations, creating demand for better transport links to the the network radiating from the capital cities.
major cities. These factors are occurring in the face of depleting oil
supplies and growing concern about carbon emissions. Funding such a project would be costly, but it is by no means
impossible. Recent research by IPA on a national road pricing
A long-term approach, which begins to deliver improvement scheme showed that the introduction of such a system could
and tangible benefits in the medium term, is essential to be used to fund new nation building infrastructure which
overcome problems and constraints that are already evident reduced dependency on motor vehicles, and under that
and progressively becoming more acute. Such a nation building scenario, a very fast train could be a potential beneficiary
infrastructure planning approach will become increasingly more of funding. The most successful regional renewal programs
difficult to realise in the future as: in Europe involving high speed rail have benefitted from
cooperative planning and investment, as well as the use of
• Density of land use increases; public-private partnerships.
• Land values increase;
• Land use becomes more fragmented; This report answers the call for a real national debate about the
• Environmental standards tighten; and role of high speed rail and includes a realistic, feasible pathway
• Community impacts on affected landowners increases – to having a very fast train on the east coast of Australia.
over time through development.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 11

Figure 1
Population Density Increases 2011 to 2051 and an indicative east coast High Speed Rail corridor

Population Density 2011 Population Density 2051

Population Density
0 100 - 1,000 Proposed HSR Corridor

0 - 10 1,000 - 4,000 Areas of significant


10 - 100 4,000 + population density increase
12 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

THE WAY FORWARD –


recommendations
This report has identified a realistic and pragmatic approach construct the first economically viable part of the east
toward establishing a shared high capacity infrastructure corridor coast network, to provide certainty to industry and the
for the east coast of Australia. Infrastructure Partnerships community that high speed rail is part of Australia’s future.
Australia and AECOM believe the time is ripe for a considered
debate on how Australia anticipates meeting the infrastructure 4 Reserve the corridor, and target capital expenditure
needs of a growing population in the time towards 2050. towards incremental improvement.
High speed rail has a role to play in Australia, although it may The plan set out in this report is to target capital
not be feasible for some time. However, recognising that it expenditure in ways that produce incremental benefits,
will be required to cater for future demand means there is an rather than deferring benefits until all capital has been
opportunity to act now to protect a corridor along which it can spent. In addition to improving the present value of
run, and ensure we do not preclude its future development. benefits, this approach will increase confidence in the
expenditure program. It will also enable the program
This report recommends embarking on six critical phases
to be modified in the light of experience and changing
towards planning, future-proofing and developing Australia’s
circumstances and technology.
infrastructure on the eastern seaboard to cater for both transport
and utility services: Acquiring the corridor will have substantial costs, however
not acquiring the corridor will be far more expensive in the
1 Undertake a detailed corridor profile and long term.
implementation study to identify and protect a high
capacity infrastructure corridor between the Sunshine 5 Spend when feasible in line with a long-term vision for
Coast and Melbourne, to future-proof Australia’s infrastructure corridors, integrated with other policies.
infrastructure capacity on the eastern seaboard.
Having a long-term vision to develop infrastructure corridors
 Protecting a high capacity infrastructure corridor between enables governments to tailor spending to suit fiscal
the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne will require concerted circumstances. For example, in times of budget surplus,
action by the Federal Government and a high level of governments could invest in straightening alignments.
cooperation with state and local governments. A key Conversely, should there be a case for government-funded
outcome of this process should be an improved process stimulus, then governments could spend on portions of
of infrastructure corridor planning which will facilitate a infrastructure.
nationally consistent approach to planning, assessment,
funding and implementing Australia’s infrastructure. In essence, the infrastructure plan for Australia’s east
coast is defined in principle in the Council of Australian
2 Ensure the corridor is suitable for high speed rail. Governments’ strategic planning criteria for capital cities,
agreed in December 2009.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and AECOM have
recognised that the east coast of Australia will, in all 6 Prepare an integrated infrastructure plan for Australia’s
likelihood, require a new high speed rail corridor over east coast.
the coming decades. We recommend the infrastructure
corridor be future-proofed to ensure its suitability for high Establishment of the COAG Cities Planning Taskforce, the
speed rail, that is, have very low curvature. It should also requirement for all states to have capital city plans by the
facilitate other utilities, including road, energy, data and beginning of 2012 and the national freight network and
communications, sharing the corridor. ports strategies being prepared for Infrastructure Australia
are a positive start for future national infrastructure planning.
3 Commit to a firm timeline for the procurement of the
The most advantageous process towards developing high
first economically feasible segment of a future network.
capacity infrastructure corridors is to link it with the planning
After undertaking corridor and economic analysis in progress under COAG and Infrastructure Australia. The
indicating that the project will deliver benefits, the Federal next step clearly is to mould those plans into a long-term
Government should commit to a timeline to procure and nation building infrastructure strategy.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 13

The Authors

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia


AECOM & High Speed Rail
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) is the nation’s peak
infrastructure organisation. Portugal’s RAVE
AECOM was commissioned by the Portuguese High Speed
Its membership comprises Australia’s most senior business leaders Rail Authority, RAVE, to develop a model of availability
and public sector executives from across the infrastructure sector. IPA
and asset performance related penalties, CAPEX and
is the only body that brings together the public and private sectors in a
OPEX forecasts related to the maintenance strategy and
spirit of partnership, to build Australia together.
organisation structure, staffing buildings and necessary plant,
of the asset for the duration of the operations period
Infrastructure is the lifeblood of the national economy. It is the key to
how Australia does business, how we compete in the global economy France’s TGV
and how we sustain the quality of life of a growing population.
AECOM undertook a technical review of the traffic advisor’s
traffic and revenue forecasting model. AECOM analysed
IPA’s mission is to develop and articulate the best public policy
the historic growths and market share of the existing TGV
solutions needed to deliver the assets and services that will secure
services, including looking at mode shares of high speed
Australia’s productivity and prosperity. IPA is committed to ensure
trains in the rest of France.
that governments retain all procurement options for the delivery of
infrastructure, and believes procurement models must be selected Taiwan’s High Speed Rail
case by case, with a guiding principle of sustainably delivering better
value, better quality infrastructure. AECOM was commissioned by the Bilfinger-Berger /
Continental Engineering Corporation joint venture to carry out
IPA has long been interested in the potential transformational affect the design and detailing of seismic resistant viaducts for the
of a very fast train in Australia – the key is how to develop such a Contracts C260 & C270, which forms part of the 345km long
network in a realistic, affordable and economically sustainable way. Taiwan High Speed Rail Project.
This report sets out this vision.
UK HS2 Project
AECOM was appointed to assess the potential benefits and
AECOM cost to the Manchester region of extending the HSR network
to the North of England and beyond.
AECOM is a global, professional technical, design and consulting
services provider to the infrastructure, environmental, energy and South Africa’s Gautrain
resources, water and government markets. AECOM was appointed the traffic advisor, assisting in
auditing the consortium’s demand and revenue forecasts
With more than 47,000 employees around the world and 3400 in for the bid to understand the traffic and revenue risks
Australia, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. before a commitment was made to underwrite loans to the
AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, concessionaire.
and technical excellence in delivering solutions that enhance and
sustain the world’s built, natural, and social environments. SPAIN’S AVE
AECOM (INOCSA) has developed the Railway Construction
AECOM delivers comprehensive services over the full life cycle of an Project for Subsection La Sagrera-Trinidad Junction, from the
infrastructure project to benefit the government and private industry Madrid-Barcelona-French Border Section, and is now dealing
clients that it serves. It has a genuine appreciation and understanding with the control and surveillance of the planned works. The
of the operating structures and business needs of the transportation works take place in Barcelona’s city centre, this being a 5.2
industry. AECOM’s transportation professionals are constantly looking km long section.
for more acceptable, safer and sustainable ways to move people
across cities, countries and continents. These very complex works include the construction of the
railway platform, the reinstallation of the present lines, as
AECOM also has substantial expertise in high-speed rail projects well as the replacement of Sant Andreu Station and all the
across the world. The text box in this page lists some of AECOM’s provisional situations needed to keep the rail traffic moving.
past work on very fast train projects.
14 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Why preserve infrastructure The report therefore presents a vision that over time will transform
corridors? the way we connect utility services, and move people and freight.
It seeks a commitment to true nation building, encompassing a
Urban development in eastern Australia is concentrated along fundamental requirement for effective infrastructure development:
the coast, creating congestion and imposing constraints on corridor preservation. It will require a national approach that first
productivity, employment and the nation’s overall economic identifies and preserves appropriate corridor networks in the east
performance. Very fast trains will be needed for the future coast capital cities and ultimately connecting the major east coast
transport of passengers and freight. There is a compelling case to population centres while aligning to other projects in Australia.
provide for future options by preserving civil ready corridors now:
acquisition is cheaper now than later; benefits are gained from An integrated approach to critical infrastructure corridors state-to-
the creation of shared infrastructure corridors; and there is scope state, region-to-region, requires long-term vision and governance.
for incremental improvements in capacity. As is the situation in many developed countries, Australia’s existing
corridors are short on capacity. Nationally, domestic freight
Preserving an infrastructure corridor means that development movement doubled to 521 billion tonne kilometres over the 20 years
that would preclude future infrastructure from occurring on that to 2007, and analysis undertaken by Infrastructure Partnerships
land is not permitted. This saves money in the long-term, and Australia estimated that freight volumes will triple over the period to
often with very little upfront costs. There is also less by way of 2050, increasing to 1540 tonne kilometres per annum1. Rising freight
community impacts in securing corridors sooner rather than volumes coincide with congestion reaching critical levels on rail
later. Related value capture development is also more likely systems in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, on metropolitan roads
to eventuate with the trends towards industrial estates, higher and in the principal air corridors.
density housing, and commercial property developments.
High capacity infrastructure corridors will pave the way for
Australia is in a position to learn from other countries that incremental improvement in rail infrastructure in line with demand to
are developing high-speed rail but face a substantial expense cater for passengers and freight movement at progressively faster
to acquire the corridors. At present, planning in Australia is speeds, leading to the introduction of high speed rail and potentially
confined to upgrading existing corridors, rather than taking a very fast trains. However, the corridors offer the advantage that
more strategic approach to cater for longer-term requirements. they would also provide for the delivery of a wide range of other
A coordinated, longer-term view would support the metropolitan services – electricity and gas, water, and communication and data
planning principles established by the Council of Australian links, potentially incorporating the National Broadband Network (see
Governments (COAG) and a recent Senate committee report on Figure 2).
transport.
Australia would not be alone in this approach – the United States
This report aims to trigger a generational change in Australian is engaged in a similar discussion, and although our horizon spans
infrastructure policy and planning to meet the nation’s future decades into the future, the time to plan is now in order that
needs in circumstances that take into account population growth Australia has the basis to improve its performance at least at the
and demographic change. An essential pre-requisite is to define pace of its international peers for it to remain a cohesive, highly
land corridors for infrastructure to meet changing demands from functional society and an innovative, competitive economy, and
an economic, social and environmental perspective, with the to protect its environmental values. While the world continues to
ultimate aim of facilitating the development of high speed rail restore a balance in the wake of the financial crisis, it is as an ideal
for both passenger and freight transport on the east coast from opportunity to begin at the most fundamental level to establish a
Melbourne to Brisbane. sound basis upon which to build the nation’s long-term wellbeing
and prosperity.
While building a very fast train tomorrow from Melbourne
to Brisbane would be desirable, it may not be feasible for This analysis builds a compelling case for a high capacity
years or decades. This report instead advocates an evidence- infrastructure corridor extending from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra
based scenario for long-term infrastructure planning and its and Melbourne and outwards to regional centres in the hinterlands
incremental implementation over the decades ahead in line with of these major cities. On the issue of sustainability, rail already offers
demonstrated demand. A long-term approach, which begins to a competitive advantage – for both passenger and long-distance
deliver improvement and tangible benefits in the medium term, is freight transport – although at present the standard of the transport
essential to overcome problems and constraints that are already network constrains its capability to deliver. Planning and incremental
evident and progressively becoming more acute. improvement, enabling rail to operate at higher speeds and to serve

1 IPA (2009) Meeting the 2050 Freight Challenge


High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 15

more people and move freight more efficiently, will alleviate these encourage increased density. Safety is another major driver for
constraints. increased rail development.

Key forces are coming into effect that will make fast rail highly The most advantageous solution involves a nation building
probable. These include road congestion and the associated increase commitment to future-proofing national corridors as the central
in travel times and costs, rising land values and competition for element of a strategic plan for an integrated infrastructure network
land use, and environmental considerations, in particular the need connecting the high population concentrations across Australia’s
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Sydney, Brisbane and east coast. These corridors must have a gentle curvature, and be
Melbourne, metro rail systems will be required before the middle of a gradient shallow enough to allow the development of very fast
of the century to move people around urban conurbations and to trains as they become economically viable.

Figure 2
Gas and electricity infrastructure networks 

Population Density 2011 Infrastructure


0 100 - 1,000 Proposed HSR Corridor

0 - 10 1,000 - 4,000 Electricity Transmission Lines

10 - 100 4,000 + Gas Pipelines


16 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

The best value for money can be achieved by acting quickly, as allocated for 2009–10 – and the COAG agreement on developing
identifying and protecting infrastructure corridors for progressive strategic plans for all the capital cities. The COAG agreement is of
future development will be easier and cheaper now than when particular relevance in that it seeks to put in place long-term plans
demand makes them essential. Advance action to protect the that integrate land use, infrastructure and transport, and cater for
corridors will make it easier to improve the transport infrastructure in economic and population growth and demographic change.
accordance with demonstrated demand. Governments, on their own
account or in partnership with the private sector, will then be able to
explore the range of funding sources and stage development in line 1.2.1 High capacity infrastructure corridor needed to meet
with their fiscal and policy priorities. growing demand

An appropriate mechanism for this process is already in place with Australia’s rapidly burgeoning major cities contribute 80 per cent of
the Council of Australian Governments’ move towards establishing GDP, but the cost of avoidable transport congestion – $9.4 billion in
strategic plans for the nation’s capital cities and Infrastructure 2005, projected to be $20.4 billion in 2020 and upwards of $80 billion
Australia’s commissioning of national freight network and ports in 2050 – will act as a barrier to future growth and improvements
strategies. Various recommendations from the Senate Reference in productivity. However, infrastructure development would more
Committee of August 2009 also support this report’s approach. than counter this cost. According to the Productivity Commission,
efficiencies in transport and energy infrastructure alone would
Shanghai metro developments, similar to European models, have contribute a 2 per cent increase in GDP, not counting the benefits of
mandatory approval principles within project developments where a coordinated east coast infrastructure capital program.
regional and precinct factors of access, mobility, public space ratios
and mixed-use community facilities are based on the size of the Efficiently connecting capital cities and major centres has major
proposed developments. The social, economic and environmental economic benefits. These include better access to labour markets,
factors forecast to impact on Australian cities in the future, as well growth in productive capability of the region, and a growth in overall
as resource constraints, must not be taken complacently. All must business capability.
be addressed in city and national planning where transport is the
foundation for a vibrant economy and community wellbeing, and Recognising the need to address existing infrastructure
with an eye on future requirements. shortcomings, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will
invest $2.1 billion to 2014 to upgrade the north–south freight
The east coast of Australia, including the cities of Brisbane, Sydney, corridor between Brisbane and Melbourne, the Hunter Valley coal
Canberra, Melbourne and the associated Sunshine Coast, Gold rail network and the east–west corridor between Sydney and
Coast, Hunter, Southern Highlands, Geelong & Ballarat regions, Whyalla. It is also preparing an inland rail alignment study looking at
account for the majority of Australia’s gross domestic product, the potential for an inland rail corridor from Brisbane to Melbourne.
up to 75% of all employment, and 63% of the economic activity, This builds on work from 2005 involving expenditure of more than
and houses 60% of the population, as well as bearing most of the $4 billion, which included projects to reduce transit times and lift
national congestion concern. performance on the main Sydney–Melbourne line and upgrade the
rail corridor, provide new track and infrastructure within Melbourne,
and rehabilitate and expand infrastructure and upgrade the track and
1.2 Current approach to national signalling systems on the Sydney–Brisbane line.
infrastructure spending
Population growth and demographic change, in particular the
Historically, infrastructure planning has been influenced primarily at rising populations of regional centres within commuting range of
a state government level, with projects designed to meet narrowly the capitals and of coastal regions, are primary drivers for future
defined needs. Beyond the National Broadband Network, there have infrastructure planning. Australia’s population is forecast to reach
been few examples of federally instigated substantial nation building 26.7 million by 2026 and 36 million by 2056. By 2050, major cities
projects. The establishment of Infrastructure Australia in 2008 to will accommodate three-quarters of the nation’s population. The
advise the Federal Government on investment in infrastructure of transport requirements of the workforce and an ageing of the
national importance is tacit acknowledgment of this gap. Spending population – over 65s are forecast to comprise 23 per cent of the
allocated from the Building Australia Fund in 2009–10, excluding population in 2050, compared with 13 per cent at present – will
the National Broadband Network and the Building the Education create successive waves of demand for faster and more efficient rail
Revolution program, included $4.6 billion for metropolitan rail services.
projects, $4.5 billion for the Clean Energy Initiative, $3.4 billion for
roads and $389 million for ports and freight infrastructure.
1.3 An incremental approach to
A number of recent developments have led to the Federal establishing the corridors
Government taking a more coordinated, strategic approach to
national investment being taken in respect of both infrastructure The aim of a coordinated national transport infrastructure plan for the
and services. These include Infrastructure Australia’s commissioning east coast would be to improve current corridors while preserving
of national freight network and ports strategies, the national future corridors. The staged improvement of rail corridors would
plan for health services and hospitals – to which $3.2 billion was involve progressively building out from areas of higher population
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 17

From a transport perspective, Preserving the corridors now would alleviate rising land values,
particularly around growth centres, and intensifying competition for
it represents highly efficient land use.
land use in that a train line This has the significant advantage of offering the option to share
can move 30,000 to 40,000 people the high capacity, civil ready infrastructure corridor with other
infrastructure – energy, gas, water, and communication and data
an hour, while a freeway lane links. From a transport perspective, it represents highly efficient land
moves only 2500 people an hour. use in that a train line can move 30,000 to 40,000 people an hour,
while a freeway lane moves only 2500 people an hour. For freight
movement, a 1500 metre train, the maximum within the capacity of
the present interstate lines between Brisbane and Melbourne, can
densities to provide initial benefit, ultimately creating inter-capital carry as much freight as 100 semi-trailers.
links. This would establish the basis for the introduction of high-
speed rail, but each part of the east coast network would need to be High capacity infrastructure corridors offer more benefits in their
part of a coordinated plan. impact on congestion, travel times and safety than is acknowledged
in conventional transport appraisals. They include:
Establishing mandatory planning guidelines for prioritised corridors
where funding submissions must meet adherence to criteria that • Travel time savings for existing rail users and travellers changing
reflects construction or interim use of the corridor should be a mode;
priority. Interim use may also include construction that may augment • A decrease in the social, environmental and safety impacts of
high-speed rail. road travel; and
• Congestion relief on roads and at airports, improved accessibility,
This approach may alleviate the need for a second Sydney airport, by and freight efficiency improvements.
potential linking existing airports to Sydney, such as:
Corridor protection at the earliest possible stage allows planners to
• Williamstown (Newcastle – Sydney corridor) deliver infrastructure more cheaply in the future and lock in these
• Southern Highlands or Canberra (Sydney – Canberra corridor) benefits more effectively including:
• Richmond (Western Expressway corridor)
• Access to lower land prices;
Rising population densities across the east coast will need to be • Creating housing affordability and choice by opening up regions
linked by linear infrastructure to meet their future requirements. served by reduced travel times.

Figure 3
Passenger carrying capacity – comparison between transport modes

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO 250 - 1,000 CARS


MOVE 1,000 PEOPLE?

20 BUSES

1 TRAIN
(8 CARRIAGES)
18 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

The development of a major infrastructure corridor along the east In adopting an incremental approach to reserving infrastructure
coast of Australia may generate economic benefits for regional areas. corridors, it is generally cheaper to preserve the corridor earlier
Although travel time savings will be valued by existing rail users, there rather than later because:
will also be benefits to residents and businesses along the corridor
that may not use a high speed rail service. Non-user benefits may • Density of land use increases;
potentially include a fall in the environmental and safety impacts of air • Land values increase;
and road travel as people switch to rail, as well as congestion relief • Land use becomes more fragmented;
on roads and at airports, improved accessibility, freight efficiency • Environmental standards tighten; and
improvements, wider economic benefits and increases in land values. • Community impacts on affected landowners increases – over
A breakdown of the benefits is illustrated in Figure 4. time through development.

Housing affordability is one of the factors attracting more people


to move to cities like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria, 1.4 Future high capacity infrastructure -
Newcastle, the Hunter region and Wollongong in NSW, and the Gold The very fast train option
Coast and Sunshine Coast regions in Queensland, necessitating
better transport connections to our capital cities. These centres offer The cost of construction and operation is a major factor in high
a more affordable housing choice for many people who commute to speed rail development. Existing very fast trains have required
jobs in the capitals as well as those taking advantage of an expanded substantial public funding, but this investment has been offset by
local employment base. They are also becoming a significant base the service and broader benefits they provide. The US in recent
for older people taking advantage of an improved lifestyle and more times has created a government bond scheme through a public
ready access to basic services, often referred to as a sea change or referendum to raise capital for the designated planning and
a tree change. The shift to the regional centres to some extent eases implementation of high speed rail corridors.
development pressure in the capitals.
There is significant scope for the sharing of infrastructure
corridors. Presently, linear infrastructure providers in the areas of
electricity transmission, gas, water, communications and transport
Figure 4 often manage their corridors separately. That said, there is a long
Breakdown of Benefits for high speed rail  history of sharing of corridors for roads, electricity distribution,
telecommunications and communications cables. Increasing
population densities and the consequent rise in land prices make a
compelling case to share corridors, especially along the east coast.
26% 34%
Governments, primarily state governments, have preserved
transport corridors and gained some land use appreciation by
leasing sections of the preservation. However more infrastructure
2%
corridors need to preserved, with detailed planning required and
HSR Stage 1
160 km/h realistic implementation phased and considered.

2%
Given the approach is incremental; parts of the corridor could be
implemented before other parts had been fully acquired. The key,
17% 21%
in our recommendation however, is that the corridor be preserved
now.

Preserving these corridors must consider the “civil readiness”


19% 21%
factors of HSR specifications as minimum. These technical
geographic and topographic elements that must be addressed
assuring HSR “civil readiness”, are reducing minimum
requirements as the technology of motive power, structure and
11% HSR Stage 2
350 km/h subsequently weight of HSR rolling stock, and the number of
motors per car affecting efficiencies for steeper terrain on routes
for HSR.

16% 33% The corridor preservation phase may take up to two years and
must also include environmental, urbanisation and growth factors
and commence to capture elements feeding into the detailed
Unimproved Land
Value Increase
Reduction in Wider Economic
Benefits
planning phase that can take up to 15 to 20 years which is the
External Costs
experience in the US. This phase could be reduced in time for
Travel Time Road
Savings De congestion the regional ‘spine networks’ that would eventually link into the
consolidated East Coast HSR corridor.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 19

Figure 5
Population increase along Australia’s East coast

Sunshine Coast
Brisbane YEAR

Gold Coast
Casino
Ballina
2011 2021 2051
Grafton
Coffs Harbour

Port Macquarie
POPULATION
Taree

Newcastle

Gosford 10,000

Sydney
50,000 1,000,000
Wollongong

Canberra
100,000
Albury
Geelong
Latrobe Valley

Melbourne 500,000 2,000,000

1.5 Projected population Figure 6


Population growth of capital cities vs. Australia total 
Australians are choosing to live along the coast in growing numbers.
Source ABS 2008b. Medium growth assumptions (series B)
This demographic trend will continue in the long-term and
increase demand for connecting households with energy, water,
communications and providing better access to employment and
services. Having high-capacity, high-speed transport connections 40
are essential to allow a wider choice of places to live. It also enables
people to live in more affordable locations, rather than having to live 35
close to their place of work.
30
People (million)

Australia’s population is forecast to reach 26.7 million by 2026 and


could be as high as 36 million by 2056. Demographic change will see 25

three-quarters of the nation’s workforce and of its total population


20
living in major cities in that time. The cities will face overwhelming, but
avoidable, congestion problems. The cost of avoidable congestion was
15
put at $9.4 billion in 2005. It is expected to multiply to $20.4 billion in
2020 and more than $80 billion in 2050.
10

Figure 5 presents a model of which the primary focus is to illustrate


5
projected growth on Australia’s eastern seaboard. Cities in the future
will face significant congestion problems that will impose an
0
estimated cost of $80 billion a year by 2050 in the absence of effective 2008 2026 2056
infrastructure development. Figure 6 underlines this situation, showing
median population growth assumptions for the capitals and Australia Capital cities Australia total

as a whole from 2008 to 2056.


20 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

1.6 Current infrastructure requirements corridors, requiring planning and development to cater for demand
and capacity constraints and achieve greater efficiency and productivity. Increasing travel
times, resulting in delays and higher transport costs, act as a
Australia’s east coast requires an integrated infrastructure corridor for constraint on productivity. A recent Productivity Commission report
the sharing of services, in particular transport, which must take into indicates that increases in the efficiencies of energy and transport
account: infrastructure have potential to yield a GDP increase of 2 per cent.

• Population density and growth in the major cities, and creating


increasing density in regional centres surrounding the capitals and 1.7.2 Limitations of existing systems
in coastal regions;
• Increasingly congested air corridors, roads, ports, regional rail More public transport does not automatically result in greater
freight and passenger metropolitan lines; customer satisfaction, and in fact an increase in supply will not
• City housing choice, housing affordability, and location; automatically lead to a corresponding increase in demand and
• The sea change and tree change phenomena as more people satisfaction2. Frequency of services is an important factor, but public
move from larger urban areas to the coast and inland rural areas, transport advocates such as the Melbourne Public Transport Users’
and the impact of an ageing population; Association rank reliability and speed as equal considerations among
• A long-term move towards lower fossil-fuel based transport commuters.
modes;
• Limited airport and air corridor capacity to cater for additional Metropolitan rail operations, primarily heavy rail, are constrained by
transport demand; shared junctions, mixed traffic, entropic technology and subsequent
• The need for efficient public transport connectivity in urban and upgrade and interface issues, and operate at the lowest optimal
regional areas and linking them; speed. External factors are reducing the opportunities for state
• Congestion of infrastructure service corridors within and between governments to improve services. These factors include freight
cities to service electrical, gas, water, communications and other running, various braking curves, outmoded signalling, reliability
services such as the in-progress National Broadband Network; measures related to poor timetable specification, risk aversion of
and public and government expectations, and land corridor capture.
• That major cities contribute nearly 80 per cent of the national
Gross Domestic Product, 75 per cent of Australia’s employment NSW’s RailCorp has spent years developing and building a clearways
and are the principal locations for 70 per cent of all business. program that allows for clear sectors on the rail network, but it still
Unless congestion is addressed, productivity will be constrained runs trains in peak hour at an average of 37 km/h with some trains at
in the future. 150 per cent crowding for 80 per cent of the journey3.

Much of the infrastructure recently constructed in Australia is The common experience of rail passengers within Melbourne
world-class. However, current transport infrastructure is straining to of delays and lengthening travel times contrasts with the V/Line
provide sufficient capacity for people in and around cities, as attested service from Southern Cross station to Geelong, which operates
by the daily experiences of commuters in Sydney and Melbourne at an average speed of 97 km/h over the route distance of 75
in particular. It must be recognised that rapid transit yields a more km. The journey time of 46 minutes is extremely acceptable and
efficient use of land space than cars. Rail is the most efficient use linked directly to the regional liveability of the Geelong region and
of land transport corridors, however the speed of rail needs to be satisfaction levels with the rail service. Similarly, Perth’s Mandurah
increased to make it a preferred choice of travel. service operates over an equivalent distance of 70 km at a speed of
86 km/h. As with the Melbourne–Geelong line, the new Perth line is
proving a government and regional success. Notably this line runs
1.7 Meeting future transport needs through the median of a road corridor.

1.7.1 Effective transport leads to productivity growth Sydney’s intercity rail fleet serving Kiama, Lithgow, Wyong, Gosford
and Newcastle has average speeds of 48 to 65 km/h, much lower
The development of very fast train services in Europe and Asia than the 115 km/h maximum speed capability of RailCorp’s CityRail
has resulted in enhanced accessibility between regions, growth in rolling stock. Dedicated sections to higher rail speeds and more
regional centres and the decentralisation of employment growth, frequent services are the keys to congestion relief and would create
as well as increasing property values. The situation contrasts with a modal choice that will not become apparent until services move
Australia where regional rail lines servicing Melbourne, Sydney to higher speeds and compete with other modes such as cars.
and Brisbane are not up to standard, roads are at capacity during Progress is being made toward building the infrastructure spines,
the peak periods, with the creep of shoulder peaks continuing to but a broader, integrated strategy is essential to capitalise on the
exacerbate the problem. This issue affects both freight movement to benefits.
already congested ports and airports, and rail, and road traffic within
already congested CBDs. Even if people can be encouraged to live and work in outlying or
regional centres, unless the coverage and capacity of the transport
The forecast tripling in Australia’s freight task will escalate network is increased, this will cause overcrowding on public
infrastructure utilisation and constraints within existing transport transport and congestion on the roads.

2 The Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 12, No.4, 2009


3 Compendium of Cityrail Travel Statistics, seventh edition, July 2010.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 21

Efficient rail is the lowest cost transport mode on all inter-capital National governments need to provide certainty about the
corridors for long-distance haulage of freight. Therefore, any required process for infrastructure development to secure funding
initiative that reduces rail operating costs and encourages the for projects that meet their criteria. Centralisation of funding
transfer of freight from road to rail will improve the productivity of also seems to force stronger accountability on project delivery
the transport sector and sectors that rely on transport. Given the authorities, and ensure funding programs extend beyond election
critical role that land transport plays in moving freight to and from cycles.
ports, and therefore in Australia’s international competitiveness,
achieving a substantial modal shift from road to rail for long-distance Well-planned cities are central to the nation's continued economic
freight haulage will provide major economic benefits. growth and to the wellbeing of local communities. In fact, few
areas of public policy have the potential to improve the day-to-
day lives of Australians as better urban policy. Australians will
1.7.3 Investment decisions impact on productivity and undoubtedly become wealthier on average in the years to come
congestion but whether or not their lives become easier and more enjoyable
as a result will depend largely on how urban life is structured.
Historically, there has been significant underinvestment in rail freight
infrastructure4. Over the last several decades, road expenditure has The eventual development of a national urban policy through the
accounted for approximately 70 per cent of Australia’s infrastructure Council of Australian Governments follows this rationale. The
spending, with the remaining 30 per cent divided between rail and policy must be about creating cities that are more productive and
ports. Between 1974 and 2004 the Commonwealth invested $58 globally competitive, more liveable, and more environmentally,
billion on roads and only $2.2 billion on the rail freight network. socially and economically sustainable. It is providing a spatial
perspective on the major issues facing Australia: housing,
Freight transported by rail uses one-third the fuel required for road transport, infrastructure, water, climate change, health,
transport per tonne of freight, and produces only one-third of the education and social policy generally. And the state and territory
nitrous oxide, half the volatile organic compounds and less than jurisdictions are readily cooperating on better urban planning
two-thirds of the carbon monoxide. The Cooperative Research through COAG.
Centre for Rail Innovation found that for freight transport, the social
and environmental costs of transport by road are approximately five The establishment of the COAG Planning Taskforce and the
times those for transport by rail. December 2009 COAG agreement on strategic planning for the
future of capital cities was a significant step. Its progress is
Road transport currently dominates in Australia. Trucks transport being overseen by the COAG Reform Council, with the support
almost 90 per cent of the freight between Sydney and Melbourne of a newly-appointed expert advisory panel chaired by former
and 76 per cent between Sydney and Brisbane. On the Sydney to Deputy Prime Minister, Brian Howe, to ensure consistency of
Melbourne haul, this requires the movement of some 3000 trucks planning systems between the capitals. The planning of capital
a day. cities needs to be long-term and strategic, fully integrated, and
coordinated across all three levels of government. This will result
in urban planning that identifies policy and practical infrastructure
1.8 Importance of government leadership priorities and addresses issues of national importance, including
economic growth, population increases and population ageing.
Major infrastructure projects require political leadership and backing
to eliminate or manage the risks of procurement, planning, and Under the COAG agreement, all states will have capital city plans
funding. It is incumbent upon governments to provide clarity that meet the criteria by 1 January 2012, with decisions about
by defining rules for approving and funding projects as well as future Commonwealth urban and infrastructure funding to be tied
providing predictability for the scale of the longer-term funding. to those plans.
Governments must therefore become involved in the promotion
of policy and planning towards desirable outcomes and give As an example, the Southeast Queensland Regional Plan and
infrastructure long-term political support for city and regional Programme demonstrates best practice in integrating transport,
populations to understand the legitimacy of transport policy and water, energy and services infrastructure planning up to 2031.
project implementation. The plan provides a pipeline of projects to encourage both public
and private investment and is a model for workable partnerships
There is evidence of a correlation between the strength of the between state and local governments.
political control and sponsorship of projects and their eventual
success. According to a 2010 KPMG report, the United Kingdom The recent announcement of the new Sydney Metropolitan
Government was decisive in committing to the Docklands Light Rail Development Authority to drive future transit-oriented
network, and the French Government likewise had a strong role in development and urban renewal is further proof of action from
defining the capital investment priorities of the Paris Metro. Project state governments on integrated urban planning and recognises
success is most likely where political control and sponsorship was the importance of linking state-level action and national planning.
high and there was a high level of integrated authority. It was lowest The authority will include a Commonwealth representative,
in the cities and regions where there was little central control and ensuring a national perspective is applied to the vision for
planning. Australia's largest city.

4 Rail Freight Transport in NSW, NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service Briefing Paper No. 8/2009
22 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

2.0 Infrastructure Planning –


A National Approach
2.1 Infrastructure planning in Australia Due to population projections,
Planning for infrastructure has traditionally not been done in a there is an urgency to protect
nationally coordinated fashion, with major projects primarily being
planned and implemented by state governments. Many major
long, preferably straight,
projects that the states are undertaking as part of the Federal infrastructure corridors that
Government’s national stimulus plan are being implemented with
freight movement and congestion factors driving the benefits case. can accommodate civil-ready,
However, the basis for allocating funding for most projects was that more cost-effective utilities for
they were, or were close to being, shovel-ready, and not necessarily
that they fell within a coherent, coordinated policy framework the east coast of Australia.
incorporating population movements, urbanisation, distribution and
logistics, sustainability, connecting ports and dedicating corridors for based on global experience and acknowledge that while benefits
high-speed connectivity of all essential utilities. may not be initially captured; planned, incremental, coordinated,
generational programs can create a national vision servicing the
The Commonwealth’s rollout of the National Broadband Network is majority of Australians, with the benefits being realised over the long
perhaps the only genuinely national, futuristic infrastructure project term and in fact decades ahead.
currently underway. Quite apart from the $43 billion NBN program,
the capital that the Australian Government allocated from the Infrastructure Australia’s recently commissioned national freight
Building Australia Fund in 2009–10 was directed primarily towards network strategy has potential to recommend better rationalisation of
roads, metro rail, ports and freight infrastructure. rail networks to get better use of Australian ports due to bottlenecks.
The preservation of infrastructure corridors can contribute to the
Australia now needs to step back and determine high capacity realisation of freight strategy objectives, through shared usage of
infrastructure corridors in areas where people want to live and then these corridors for freight and passenger transport. There is an option
to preserve them. Such corridors should be shaped to suit utility for freight trains to run at night. This would not impact transit during
requirements, which will become increasingly valuable as population the day when demand is higher. An alternative or additional solution
density rises. Due to population projections, there is an urgency to may be dedicated freight transport on the residual rail network and
protect long, preferably straight, infrastructure corridors that can passenger only on the HSR corridor.
accommodate civil-ready, more cost-effective utilities for the east
coast of Australia. In consideration of these alternative options, this paper recommends
that a broader vision of a total east coast infrastructure corridor
Accordingly, this report demonstrates the merit of a staged, long- network must be considered.
term approach that builds to the point at which a very fast train
becomes a realistic, viable option, delivering real benefit. However,
it is firstly imperative to preserve infrastructure corridors that 2.3 Towards a national infrastructure
Australians require for the next generation and beyond – for services planning approach
such as transport, energy, water and communications.
The Australian Constitution gives responsibility for land-use planning
to state governments, which in turn delegates some planning to
2.2 Demand building towards high-speed rail local governments. However, some infrastructure is of national
significance, as recognised by the Australian Government in its
Increasing population density and worsening congestion are driving establishment of Infrastructure Australia.
us towards a transformation in the way we move people. Road
congestion is an endemic factor of daily life and business in and The Infrastructure Australia Act 2008 provided the legislative authority
around the major east coast population centres. Rail congestion, to establish Infrastructure Australia. The intention was to establish
too, is becoming an increasing problem. Air traffic congestion in the a nationally consistent approach to planning, assessing, funding
Sydney–Melbourne corridor, already the third busiest air corridor in and implementing Australia’s infrastructure. The primary function of
the world, is another important factor. Infrastructure Australia is to coordinate, document and prioritise the
nation’s infrastructure requirements, and assist the various states,
There are many international examples and lessons for Australia; the territories and regions in ensuring that infrastructure needs are met in
issue is whether we can implement policy and programs that are a timely and coordinated fashion.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 23

The financing of infrastructure projects is guided by the Implicit in these project assessment principles is the notion
Federal Government’s overarching principles that projects should: that an equivalent level of stringency is applied to the advance
planning phases such as infrastructure corridor planning. In
• Address national infrastructure priorities;
addition to this, the COAG National Objective and Criteria for
• Demonstrate high benefits and effective use of resources;
Future Strategic Planning of Capital Cities supports these planning
• Efficiently address infrastructure needs; and
principles and provides guidelines for capital city strategic
• Demonstrate they achieve established standards in
planning systems as per Table 2.
implementation and management.

TABLE 2
COAG National Objectives and Criteria for Future Strategic Planning of Capital Cities

Capital City Strategic Planning Systems should:

1 Be integrated: -
a. across functions, including land-use and transport planning, economic and infrastructure development, environmental assessment and urban
development, and
b. across government agencies;

2 Provide for a consistent hierarchy of future oriented and publicly available plans, including: -
a. long term (for example, 15-30 year) integrated strategic plans,
b. medium term (for example, 5-15 year) prioritised infrastructure and land-use plans, and
c. near term prioritised infrastructure project pipeline backed by appropriately detailed project plans;

3 Provide for nationally-significant economic infrastructure (both new and upgrade of existing) including: -
a. transport corridors,
b. international gateways,
c. intermodal connections,
d. major communications and utilities infrastructure, and
e. reservation of appropriate lands to support future expansion;

4 Address nationally-significant policy issues including: -


a. population growth and demographic change,
b. productivity and global competitiveness,
c. climate change mitigation and adaptation,
d. efficient development and use of existing and new infrastructure and other public assets,
e. connectivity of people to jobs and businesses to markets,
f. development of major urban corridors,
g. social inclusion,
h. health, liveability, and community wellbeing,
i. housing affordability, and
j. matters of national environmental significance;

5 Consider and strengthen the networks between capital cities and major regional centres, and other important domestic and international connections;

6 Provide for planned, sequenced and evidence-based land release and an appropriate balance of infill and greenfield development;

7 Clearly identify priorities for investment and policy effort by governments, and provide an effective framework for private sector investment and innovation;

8 Encourage world-class urban design and architecture; and

9 Provide effective implementation arrangements and supporting mechanisms, including: -


a. clear accountabilities, timelines and appropriate performance measures,
b. coordination between all three levels of government, with opportunities for Commonwealth and Local Government input, and linked, streamlined and
efficient approval processes including under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,
c. evaluation and review cycles that support the need for balance between flexibility and certainty, including trigger points that identify the need for
change in policy settings, and
d. appropriate consultation and engagement with external stakeholders, experts and the wider community.
24 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

2.4 Corridor protection – land designation Effective forward planning


and acquisition of corridors creates the
The need for land acquisition will depend upon the scope
within the respective areas to designate corridors. A major
opportunity to achieve
benefit is that there is the potential for different infrastructure reductions in the cost of
sectors to share these corridors. Effective forward planning of
corridors creates the opportunity to achieve reductions in the infrastructure provision by
cost of infrastructure provision by ensuring suitable corridors ensuring suitable corridors
are identified and preserved in advance of the need to actually
deliver the infrastructure. This avoids the inevitably high cost of are identified and preserved in
retrofitting infrastructure into built up areas where corridors have
to be acquired in short timeframes.
advance of the need to actually
deliver the infrastructure.
Infrastructure Australia has commissioned a study that aims
to identify best practice in corridor designation in use around
Australia and internationally for development of a best practice Corridors could also be used for creating spines from major
model and demonstrate its application to an Australian city. The centres to urban centres where the transport used in the corridors
outcome will be an improved process of infrastructure corridor will not impinge on further development in readiness for high
planning which will facilitate a nationally consistent approach speed rail. Where the federal government acquires land under
to planning, assessing, funding and implementing Australia’s the preservation requirements, states may fund the interim
infrastructure. infrastructure that will in the long-term augment high speed rail
development. As an example, long straight sections could be used
Figure 7 illustrates a hypothetical example in which the for fast trains. In fact, these corridors would be civil ready within
infrastructure corridor caters for road and rail traffic and utilities mandated guidelines under a Federal Government urban and
including energy, water, and data and communications networks. transport planning regime.

Figure 7
Illustrative graphic of a potential corridor with shared infrastructure
26 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

3.0 Connecting Australia –


The Case for High Speed Rail in the Future
3.1 What is high speed rail? facilities well serviced;
• Access to high-speed rail can assist in halting regional population
High speed rail is a type of (primarily) passenger rail transport that decline. It may halt a move to the city or encourage some
operates at speeds greater than 200 km/h. Despite an absence of movement into the outlying regions. In Europe many of the
a standard definition for high speed rail, common characteristics to people who choose to commute have high incomes and their
most high speed rail systems include: travel speeds greater than spending has helped to boost local economies. This has not led to
200 km/h; purpose-built, continuous welded rail tracks to allow the emptying out of the major cities, and the numbers of people
for greater speeds; the absence of at-grade pedestrian crossings; involved in such lifestyle changes are generally manageable in a
electric overhead lines used to drive the system; and the use of local context;
in-cab signalling. In recent times, operational high speed rail systems • High speed rail can open up tourism opportunities. Even former
have attained routine travel speeds of greater than 300 km/h as a rust belt cities have been surprised at the level of visitation that
consequence of progressions in technology. For example, the TGV high speed rail access can stimulate. However, this will not
in France routinely achieves speeds of 320 km/h, while China’s new happen automatically, even in areas with spectacular tourist
system operates routinely at 350 km/h. attractions;
• High speed rail access can be a catalyst to accelerate business
High speed rail has been successfully constructed in many countries visitation;
across Asia and Europe and is currently being developed in North • New investment and higher spending in a region will stimulate job
and South America. The transformational impacts of high speed rail growth. There is compelling econometric evidence from France
were first seen in the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964 – a and Europe in general that areas serviced by high speed rail have
step change in speed and reliability through creation of a new line higher employment than other areas, varying in proportion to
dedicated to high traffic flows between major cities and optimised travel time savings;
in all its engineering and operational aspects for that purpose. Two of • Some regional authorities have been successful in stimulating job
the fundamental advantages offered by high speed rail are speed and growth in higher value added services activities, particularly those
capacity. in the knowledge economy, which in turn elevates and broadens
the skills base of the region. This includes growth in research and
The maximum commercial speed of very fast trains has increased development, information technology design, higher education
steadily since that first Japanese line was opened. The 300 km/h and training facilities; and
standard of a decade ago is now 350 km/h. It is edging nearer to • All centres visited in Europe that were serviced by high-speed
the 400 km/h mark – believed to be the sound barrier of high speed rail benefited from an increase in property values. This is so well
rail, a point where diminishing incremental journey time savings of accepted and anticipated that property values rise in a location
going faster are being outweighed by exponentially increasing energy well before the service opens for business.
costs.
The most successful regional renewal programs in France and
Europe driven by high-speed rail have involved cooperative planning
3.2 The role of high speed rail in delivering and investment. This has involved cooperation between different
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT levels of government as well as public-private partnerships. The
next generation of high speed rail projects in Europe will be more
Key findings from a European study5 have identified the following reliant on cooperative investment and concentrate even more upon
benefits to smaller cities, towns and rural areas, which may provide stimulating regional development.
lessons for Australia:

• High speed rail can act as a catalyst for regional renewal. It is 3.3 A little history …
associated with the economic and social recovery of a number of
large and small towns and cities, and regions; The first country to construct a dedicated high speed rail line was
• High speed rail enhances accessibility and mobility, and generates Japan with the introduction of the Shinkansen, or Bullet Train, in 1964,
a wide range of positive economic impacts; connecting the major cities of Tokyo and Osaka. The Shinkansen
• Business will migrate to take advantage of lower costs and offered a quick and reliable alternative mode of transport to air or
lifestyle opportunities if the conditions in the investment road. The success of the Shinkansen in gaining market share from air
destination are right. The environment has to be supportive, and travel inspired European railways to follow the same path.

5 Coburg Initiative Study Tour, 2009


High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 27

France was the first European nation to provide services of high Japan’s Shinkansen was purpose built to improve rail accessibility
speed rail with the introduction of the Train a Grande Vitesse across mountainous terrain and provide direct, efficient
(TGV) in 1981, connecting Paris and Lyon. Germany followed, passenger transfer. Also known as the Bullet Train, this high
establishing the Inter-City Express (ICE), providing multiple speed rail service enabled day trips between Tokyo and Osaka,
sections of track to relieve a shortage of capacity in the face of the two largest cities in Japan. While the previous express
growing demand on existing routes (Nash, 2009). Other European service took six hours and 40 minutes, the Shinkansen had
nations such as Spain and Italy continued the introduction of reduced the travel time to three hours and ten minutes by 19658.
high speed rail with an aim to link inter-operable networks into a
more comprehensive network service. High speed rail has also
extended to other parts of the world. Major plans have been 3.3.2 Governance
recently proposed for expansion of China’s high speed rail and in
the United States. The creation and implementation of high speed rail internationally
is a product of the relationship between private and public
authorities. The governance of high speed rail is not uniform
3.3.1 Purpose of overseas high speed rail networks on an international scale, with responsibility for infrastructure,
technology and operations residing with various organisations.
High speed rail has gained in market share in many countries to
the extent that it directly competes with air travel. The TGV can be considered a national product, the result of an
exclusive relationship between the French Government, SNCF
In a world where increased security requirements have (the French national railway) and the private sector company,
eroded the time savings or affected air travel and emphasis on Alstom. The railway infrastructure is owned by RFF whereas the
sustainability continues to grow, high speed rail is regarded as the operation of the system is attributed to SNCF Voyages, the long-
premier travel mode in Europe, especially in terms of upmarket distance branch of SNCF.
passenger demographics, quality of service and travel experience,
industry self-image, and the cosmopolitan nature of direct links The development of high speed rail in Europe is governed by the
between major city centres6. high speed Interoperatibility Directive and its associated technical
standards. This critical piece of European legislation ensures a
Currently operating on approximately 2000 kilometres of track, consistent approach in respect of the technical delivery of cross-
France’s TGV was introduced to relieve a shortage of capacity on border high-speed rail systems.
existing railway lines and provide greater connectivity to major
cities on dedicated railway tracks. The appeal of the TGV was its The Spanish Government’s railway company, Renfe, has been
ability to provide quick and reliable access for passengers to many responsible for operating the AVE high speed rail system since
major cities. The French Government now has dedicated high its inception, although opportunity exists for the inclusion of
speed track to more remote parts of the country, accelerating “the private operators in the future. Private sector companies including
transfer from road to rail and given an alternative to short-haul air Alstom, Talgo, Bombardier and Siemens have been responsible
travel”7. for delivering the AVEs technology and infrastructure.

The Atla Velocidad Espanola (AVE) high speed rail system was Until 1987, the networks of Shinkansen high speed railway lines
introduced to the Spanish rail network in 1992 to improve were operated by the government-owned Japanese National
connectivity between major and provincial cities with a greater Railways. In 1987, Japan Railways Group, commonly known as JR
ambition to link inter-operable high speed rail networks in Europe. Group, took over most of the assets and operations responsibility
The first line was built between Madrid and Barcelona. The from Japanese National Railways. The JR Group comprises
network has grown to nearly 2000 kilometres stretching from several for-profit companies, consisting of seven operating
Malaga to Barcelona. The aim of the government was to stimulate companies, as well as the Railway Technical Research Institute
the country’s economy in the south and revitalise stagnant towns and Railway Information Systems Co., Ltd that do not provide
by connecting regional cities to the country’s two leading business rail services. The seven operating companies are broken into six
districts in Madrid and Barcelona. Primarily used for passenger passenger operators, separated by geography, and a nationwide
transport, freight movement is not uncommon for the AVE. operator.

6 International Union of Railways (UIC) 2008


7 Jean-Marie Guillemot of the Reseau Ferre de France (RFF) (Guardian 2009)
8 Rail CRC, 2009.
28 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

While the future of transportation in


Taiwan’s High Speed Rail
most major cities lies in a mix of heavy,
The high speed rail network of Taiwan was established metro and light rail, buses, cycling
with the aim of enabling the people of Taiwan to live
within a one-day peripheral circle. Established with a and cars, the future of intercity travel
maximum operating speed of 300 km/h, the system was
built to connect to 94 per cent of the nation’s population.
for distances up to 1000 kilometres
Unusually for a high speed rail project, the AUD$17 billion belongs to high speed trains.
network was built as a Build-Operate-Transfer PPP.

During construction, the Taiwan High Speed Rail 3.3.4 Lessons learned
Consortium ran into financial trouble, causing the
government to throw a AUD$1.4 billion lifeline at the The success of the TGV has seen the continued expansion of the
project, in exchange for a 40% stake in the company, high speed network within France and across its borders. SNCF
making the central government the single largest and Alstom have investigated new technology and designed a
shareholder in the project. Since then, the project has faster high speed rail unit, the Automotrice a Grande Vitesse (AGV).
continued to hit financial hardship. These high speed multiple units are driven by distributed power
rather than separate power cars. The popularity of the high speed
There are considerable lessons to be learned from the rail network has attracted many passengers who would otherwise
Taiwanese case, most significantly that we need to use air travel, resulting in a fall in flight demand and in some cases,
be upfront and clear about the need for government flight operations altogether. Station location and route allocation are
investment and participation in any high speed rail proposal factors that require considerable attention. The AVE has brought
from the outset. However, this does not mean private economic development to provincial towns serviced by the high
investment and PPPs are not appropriate. Engaging the speed line. Local towns once considered lifeless have witnessed
private sector will be essential if Australia is to invest in surges in tourism and investment. Now accessible to major cities,
very fast trains; it simply must be done in a responsible, regional towns are demanding business conventions and facilities to
considered manner. accommodate them. As described by Mr Angel Ros, Socialist Mayor
of Lleida, “The AVE is a high-end railway, and simply by virtue of
being on the route, your city becomes a high-end destination.9” Now
resurgent, these towns can and do attract inward investment, which
in turn creates more jobs and a stronger economy.
3.3.3 Finance options
However, the costs of constructing such a system have been
Financial support from government is essential to the success monumental. By 2020, it is envisaged that Spain will spend close to
of most high speed rail networks. Most established high speed 100 billion euros on infrastructure and billions more on trains.
rail networks are financed by government, or government in
partnership with the private sector. While the future of transportation in most major cities lies in a mix
of heavy, metro and light rail, buses, cycling and cars, the future of
The French Government has been responsible for funding and intercity travel for distances up to 1000 kilometres belongs to high
supporting the TGV high speed rail systems since their inception. speed trains.
In 2008 the French Government made a commitment to develop
and expand on the success of the TGV and support the growth of The construction of the Shinkansen network has been an expensive
faster and more efficient high speed rail technology. exercise, forcing the reform of Japan National Rail and imposing
substantial debt upon the Japan Railways Group at various stages
Since Spain opened its first AVE high speed train route between of the network’s construction. Those nations looking to establish
Madrid and Seville in 1992, the Spanish Government has been their own high speed rail network must recognise the financial
responsible for financing the high speed system. Under a plan implications of adopting such a system. Among other issues, noise
devised by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero, Spain pollution has prompted the construction of noise barriers, automatic
has committed to constructing 10,000 kilometres of high-speed braking systems such as Urgent Detection and Alarm System have
track by 2020. been installed for earthquake zones, and water system innovations
have been introduced to address problems caused by heavy snow.
Funding for the initial construction of the Shinkansen was shared
between the government arm, Japan National Rail, and a US$80 While examining the future of high speed rail is a key component of
million loan from the World Bank. However, due to issues in this report, the case studies cover the international experience with
labour management relations and large deficits incurred by very fast trains, which presents a compelling case for our rationale
Japan National Railways, the Shinkansen railway network is now that Australia should take a carefully planned, coordinated, long-term
funded between the private body, Japan Railways Group, and the approach to the transition to high speed rail and ultimately, when the
Japanese Government. circumstances are right, to a very fast train.

9 New York Times, 2009/05/30


High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 29

US High Speed Rail


The US has recently committed to establishing an incremental undertaking all the modelling and planning required to prove these
approach to developing a national high speed rail network linking routes were needed.
major cities. In January 2010, President Barack Obama stated
“that investment is how we can break ground across the country, To bridge the substantial financing and funding gap, high speed
putting people to work building high speed rail lines, because rail projects have been approached as partnerships between state
there’s no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest and federal governments and the private sector.
trains when we can build them right here in America”.
One of the major recipients of early federal funding was the
The US currently has one high speed rail line – Amtrak’s Acela California high speed rail proposal, running 2000 miles from San
Express service from Boston via New York, to Washington, D.C, Diego to San Francisco, and hitting speeds of 350 km/h. This
averaging a speed of 109 km/h but briefly reaching 240 km/h at project is certainly one of the more interesting in the US, as the
times. California State Government has instigated a Revenue Guarantee
Plan which guarantees to private sector participants that a
In February 2009, as part of the American Recovery and minimum level of revenues would be received in the event that
Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the US Government allocated an $8 system revenues are significantly lower than forecast.
billion jump-start to the states for HSR construction and $1 billion
per year for the following five fiscal years. Starting in the middle The US is not too dissimilar from what this paper proposes for the
of the global financial crisis, the government began a selection Australian case – an incremental, long-term, strategically planned
process, requiring states to bid for high speed rail projects, network of corridors, laid out with transparency for all to see.

Figure 8
Funding Sources: A scenario of possible funding sources in a u.s example

$9,000

$8,000

$7,000
Millions of Expendture Dollars

$6,000

$5,000

$4,000

$3,000

$2,000

$1,000

$0
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

State Bond Funds Federal Assistance Local Contributions Private Funding


30 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

3.4 Snapshots of current overseas VFT projects

COUNTRY CHINA Country Morocco COUNTRY Brazil

CHENGDU - Sao Paulo -


ROUTE Route Kenitra-Tangier ROUTE
GUANGZHOU Rio de Janeiro

SPEED 350KM/H Speed 320km/h SPEED 350km/h

LENGTH 1376KM Length 200KM LENGTH 518km

UNDER Under Tendering


STATUS Status STATUS
CONSTRUCTION construction underway

OPENING 2014 Opening 2015 OPENING 2016

COUNTRY USA COUNTRY Japan COUNTRY Germany

Tampa, FL – Aomori - Erfurt -


ROUTE ROUTE ROUTE
Orlando, FL Hokkaido Leipzig/ Halle

SPEED 300km/h SPEED 360km/h SPEED 300km/h

LENGTH 135km 148km (mostly LENGTH 123km


LENGTH
underwater)
Under Under
STATUS Planned STATUS STATUS
construction construction

OPENING 2014 OPENING 2015 OPENING 2016


32 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

4.0 Developing a Realistic Scope

4.1 Preliminary engineering function significant greenfield works would still be required. An indicative
corridor route is shown in Figure 9.
Although the purpose of this report is primarily to discuss the
economic, planning and policy issues related to a proposed high It was assumed that transit time savings could be achieved
capacity infrastructure corridor, some preliminary engineering through individual system improvements or a synergistic
was undertaken for reference in the economic analysis, including combination of several smaller improvements. Potential areas for
for a very fast train. The following section provides a summary of improvement included:
the engineering issues and assumptions that were considered,
however it is beyond the scope of this paper to provide an • Alignment improvements and deviations
engineering solution or technical recommendations. • Signalling
• Rolling stock and power supply alternatives
The study is based on a simplified high level corridor alignment, • Corridor infrastructure improvements
which attempts to link the key geographical areas and address • Separation of high speed services from slower services,
the main constraints along the route. Specifically the alignment specifically freight.
aims to provide a preliminary reference on which the high level
guide costs can be based.

It must be noted that no operational analysis has been Figure 9


undertaken. Additionally it is recommended that a detailed
implementation study be conducted to confirm the feasibility of Indicative Infrastructure Corridor Route, showing
the route and identify the key constraints.
potential La Trobe alignment

4.2 Design and alignment


4.2.1 Engineering approach

Increasingly countries throughout the world are adopting


common design standards in respect of high speed rail. This
has the effect of reducing long-term costs and improving
overall system reliability. This approach is most noticeable in
the European Union with the recognition that shared technical
standards have major inter-regional benefits.

Unique in developing the route alignment for the east coast of


Australia outlined below was to assume that incremental steps
will be taken to reach the final objective. In addition while it
is proposed that the corridor be a high capacity infrastructure
corridor it is ultimately the rail geometry which controls this
alignment. For this reason the alignment discussed in this
section assumes that the geometry must be suitable to high-
speed rail.

The study began by looking at using the existing north–south rail


Built up area
corridor and upgrading the existing infrastructure in incremental
National Park
stages. However, as explained in the assumptions below, this
City or Town
approach had to be reconsidered once it was realised that
Proposed East Coast HSR
any modification to the existing alignment while attempting to
reach an intermediate stage would become redundant once Alternative HSR corridor

the ultimate high speed rail option was required. To reach the
desired high speeds of more than 350 km/h at the final stage,
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 33

4.2.2 Design assumptions cities to ensure that the entry does not conflict with such plans but,
wherever possible, augment them. Any augmentation of existing
The following design assumptions have been adopted for this study: metropolitan rail may attract funding from the existing operators/
owners, depending upon the railway ownership structures of the city
• Single use rail traffic – the proposed high speed rail system would in question.
be used by high speed passenger traffic only. Mixed use traffic
would potentially result in a reduced ride quality for passengers Options for high speed rail entries into cities fall into two categories;
and increased maintenance problems due to the varying vehicle existing corridors, such as entries to Gare De Nord in Paris and
characteristics. Should freight trains require passage along the Waterloo in London, or new corridors, such as the Eurostar Rail Link
corridor, additional lines would need to be added adjacent to the to St. Pancras, London.
high-speed passenger lines. Existing passenger lines could also
be converted exclusively to freight use once high speed lines are The use of existing corridors is generally less expensive compared
operational, ultimately allowing for full grade separation along the with new corridors because much of the existing infrastructure
east coast. An alternate solution was considered for managing may be utilised. They also represent less environmental impact on
mixed traffic including segregated operation or the addition of the basis that any additional impact is an incremental increase to
existing infrastructure. One possible option is to operate freight that which already exists. The major disadvantage of using existing
services at night when passenger demand is lowest. corridors is their impact on rail operations, particularly availability,
• Existing rail corridors are inadequate for high speed traffic – a reliability and transit time.
preliminary review of the existing track alignment has found
the geometry of the existing rail corridor cannot typically be This report does not intend to spell out exactly where rail services
used for high speed traffic particularly to the north of Sydney. will enter and exit the capital cities on the route – this would need
It is assumed that outside the three key metropolitan areas of to be the subject of a large feasibility study involving all levels of
Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne the proposed high government. It is noted, however, that considerable tunnelling would
speed alignment will be greenfield works. be required if very fast train services were to be introduced on new
• Utilisation of existing corridor and rail infrastructure – within track to purpose-built stations.
the metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
the proposed alignment will remain within the existing corridor For some major Australian cities, it is unclear whether the CBD is the
where possible. This will require significant upgrading works to best location for very fast train stations. In many instances, platforms
be completed along these suburban networks. It is anticipated for very fast train services must be extremely long, and space in the
that in Sydney and potentially elsewhere, extensive tunnelling will CBD of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney is very limited. This may
need to be undertaken. require upgrading of metropolitan rail networks to link high-speed rail
• Transit time values – in the absence of any detailed operational terminals with the existing transport infrastructure.
modelling, the transit times specified in this report have adopted
average speeds over the route.
• Corridor protection – high capacity infrastructure corridors need to 4.2.4 Operations
be reserved, particularly near metropolitan centres and populated
regional areas. For traditional steel wheel on rail high speed technology, service
• Coordinated planning – a high speed rail initiative cannot be reliability is greatly reduced if operated with lines shared with
implemented independently. A coordinated national infrastructure existing metropolitan services. High speed rail services have
plan must take it into consideration varying state requirements conflicting operating goals to metropolitan ones. High speed
and the existing and proposed rail infrastructure. services are timetable dependent, and customer expectations
are for trains to run precisely to prescribed times. However,
metropolitan railways are increasing becoming less timetable
4.2.3 Entry to cities dependent, with customers demanding regular services rather than
timetabled ones. This creates a conflict in that it makes it difficult
The feasibility of establishing an efficient entry into the major for a high-speed service to find an available path between the
cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra – represents metropolitan services and as the demand for metropolitan services
a significant engineering component of the study. An optimum increases over time, this conflict is compounded. Hence, shared
solution needs to be found with respect to cost, efficient operation, running on existing lines with metropolitan services greatly reduces
passenger catchment areas and environmental impact. In particular the reliability of high speed train services due to the difficultly of
any option must consider the long-term plan for railways within the establishing available pathing.
34 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

With shared running of services, the maximum availability of 4.2.5 Assumed route alignment
pathing for high-speed services is achieved through running at
the same speed as the existing metropolitan services. This would Guide costs and transit times described in the report are based
be further optimised by directly minimising the existing service on a high level route alignment developed by joining assumed
patterns. However, this would require the high speed service to destination nodes along the east coast between Melbourne
adopt the same stopping pattern and run at the same speed as the and Brisbane. Although this route is not necessarily the optimal
existing service, which would greatly reduce the overall transit time. scheme, as route definition was outside the scope of this report,
it provides an indication of the time saving that can be achieved
An alternative use for high speed running is to provide new track on between the major east coast cities.
existing corridors. Depending upon the level of service, this may be
a single track with passing loops provided at strategic places. This It is important to note that this study has assumed the Sydney to
new track could be dedicated or shared with other express style Melbourne route via Albury/Wodonga as this is where population
commuter services, however the high-speed service should be and demand appear most conducive to a high speed rail service.
given priority. However, we have also considered that a potential option would
be to proceed from Canberra to Melbourne via a La Trobe valley
Any new corridor would probably require the track to be alignment, and this appears on all maps as a dotted line. The final
underground which, depending upon the type of high-speed route alignment would naturally be a matter for further analysis.
rail service, may also include stations. The advantage of a new
corridor is that it could be utilised to provide other tracks for new For the purpose of this study the following nodes, as shown in
metropolitan services, which would spread the project funding. Figures 10 and Table 3, have been adopted to define the route.

Figure 10
Potential Sydney to Sunshine coast corridor AND Potential Melbourne to Sydney corridor, 
showing assumed Albury alignment and potential La Trobe alignment

City or Town Proposed East Coast HSR


Built up area
Alternative HSR corridor
National Park Watercourse
Highway Railway
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 35

Table 3
POTENTIAL STATION LOCATIONS existing and proposed rail infrastructure. Specifically the interaction
and coordination of national freight rail activities must be considered.
Northern Route Southern Route
It has been assumed the infrastructure upgrades will be categorised into
• Sydney CBD • Sydney CBD three separate implementation stages:
• Hornsby • Sydney Airport
• Gosford • Campbelltown 1. Existing conditions – Existing rolling stock is a mix of suburban
• Newcastle • Canberra Airport electric, interurban electric and regional diesel rolling stock. The
• Taree • Albury existing track infrastructure presents a heavy constraint on the
• Coffs Harbour • Melbourne Airport train operations and significantly limits track speeds. The system is
• Casino • Melbourne CBD predominantly non-electrified with the exception of the metropolitan
• Gold Coast areas.
• Brisbane CBD
• Sunshine Coast 2. Intermediate stage – Proposed corridor alignment upgrades,
including civil, bridges and tunnel works, are completed and permit
speeds in excess of 350 km/h. Diesel rolling stock and signalling is
4.2.6 Proposed implementation stages incrementally upgraded to permit higher speeds up to a maximum
of 160 km/h. The lines are unchanged from the existing conditions
This paper proposes an incremental approach rather than a major project with the system predominantly non-electrified with the exception of
that has to be completed before any benefits can be realised. metropolitan areas.

The guide costs and transit times described in the report are based 3. Ultimate stage – Power and signalling is upgraded and new rolling
on a high-level route alignment developed by joining assumed stock procured that permits speeds in excess of 350 km/h.
destination nodes along the east coast between the Sunshine Coast
and Melbourne. Although this route may not be necessarily optimal, it To maximise the value of the intermediate stage works, the proposed
provides an indication of the time saving that can be achieved between staging plan could consider:
the major east coast cities.
• An interim overhead wiring system that supports existing rolling
Two recommendations are drawn from this initial investigation regarding stock, i.e. 1500v DC, but can be later upgraded to support high-speed
the proposed staging of a high-speed rail system: rolling stock where current OHW requirements are 25kv.
• Interoperability of existing rail infrastructure with upgraded rolling
• Corridor protection. High capacity infrastructure corridors need to stock.
be reserved, particularly near metropolitan centres and populated
regional areas. It should also be noted that if additional government funding became
• Coordinated planning. A high speed rail initiative cannot be available, and if transit times competing with air travel were a key
implemented independently. A coordinated national infrastructure driving outcome, Stage 1 could be bypassed to go directly to Stage 2 at
plan must take into consideration varying state requirements and the 350km/h, for example on the Sydney to Canberra corridor.

table 4
POSSIBLE Implementation Stages

Max. Line
Stage Infrastructure Rolling Stock Comment
Speed (km/h)

Existing Situation Varies (Less Existing infrastructure including Existing rolling stock—mix Victoria, with assistance from Infrastructure
than 160 km/h in sections of track consisting of tight of suburban electric, Australia, is upgrading regional lines to 160
most areas) with curves, steep grades and conflicting interurban electric and km/h capacity.
averages from train movements. regional diesel rolling
30 to 80 km/h in stock.
Metro areas.

Stage 1 – 160 km/h Geometry, bridges, tunnels New electric or diesel All realignment works completed to HSR
Intermediate Stage upgraded to permit speeds greater (potentially electric) rolling design specification, however common rolling
than 350 km/h. Signalling upgraded stock capable of 160 km/ stock will service the route. Express trains will
to allow for speeds up to 160 km. h+. become more frequent.

Stage 2 – Greater than 350 Infrastructure upgraded to allow for New high voltage AC Infrastructure upgrades would include
Ultimate Stage km/h speeds greater than 350 km/h. rolling stock. modification to already upgraded
bridges,tunnels, culverts etc. required for high-
speed traffic. Rolling stock from Stage 1 to be
cascaded onto the local metro networks.
36 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

4.2.7 Indicative transit times Interim and total distances, current travel times by mode and the
distances and travel times for high speed rail are set out in Table 5.
When considering the transit time savings that can be achieved
through the implementation of high-speed rail the study has Note: High speed rail average speeds assumed in this table are
considered incremental change in average speeds only. For this Indicative only and require detailed simulation analysis to confirm
study it was considered impractical to develop a detailed transit their values. The transit times are estimated directly from the
time simulation model. average operating speeds shown.

table 5
Indicative Route Transit Times

Current
Current Current
Road Current Air Current HSR Rail HSR Stage 1 (160 km/h HSR Stage 2 (350 km/h
Road Rail
Travel Travel Times Rail Time Distance Max) Point to Point Max) Point to Point
Distance Distance
Times (h:m) (h:m) (km) Rail Time (h:m) Time (h:m)
(km) (km)
(h:m)
AECOM – AECOM – AECOM – AECOM –
Google Google AECOM AECOM AECOM Assumed Assumed Assumed Assumed
Qantas/ Jetstar
Source Map Map – Eng – Eng – Eng operating operating operating operating
May 2010
May 2010 May 2010 estimates estimates estimates speed speed speed speed
100km/h 150km/h 300km/h 320km/h
Northern Route
Sunshine Coast
(Cooroy) to 126 2:08 n/a 131 n/a 131 1:19 0:53 0:26 0:25
Brisbane
Brisbane to Gold
73 1:03 n/a 85 1:09 86 0:51 0:34 0:17 0:16
Coast
Gold Coast to
166 2:27 n/a 127 n/a 99 1:00 0:40 0:20 0:19
Casino
Casino to Coffs
184 2:47 n/a 197 2:39 172 1:43 1:09 0:34 0:32
Harbour
Coffs Harbour to
230 3:07 n/a 229 3:27 200 2:00 1:20 0:40 0:38
Taree
Taree to
169 2:15 n/a 216 3:03 155 1:33 1:02 0:31 0:29
Newcastle
Newcastle to
91 1:24 n/a 82 1:32 76 0:45 0:30 0:15 0:14
Gosford
Gosford to
53 0:45 n/a 47 0:50 41 0:25 0:17 0:08 0:08
Hornsby
Hornsby to
25 0:34 n/a 34 0:37 34 0:20 0:13 0:07 0:06
Sydney
Northern Route
1117 km 16:30 NSA-Syd: 1:35
Total
BNE-Syd: 1:35 1148 km 13:17 994 km
Northern Route OOL-Syd: 1:20
1056 km 13:50
Direct Drive
Southern Route
Sydney to
58 0:54 n/a 55 0:57 55 0:33 0:22 0:11 0:10
Campbelltown
Campbelltown to
232 2:58 Syd-CBR: 0:50 275 3:30 214 2:09 1:26 0:43 0:40
Canberra
Canberra to
343 4:20 n/a n/a n/a 303 3:02 2:01 1:01 0:57
Albury
Albury to
308 3:14 n/a n/a n/a 289 2:53 1:55 0:58 0:54
Tullamarine
Tullamarine to
20 0:21 n/a n/a n/a 27 0:16 0:11 0:05 0:05
Melbourne
Southern Route
961 km 11:47
Total Syd-Mel: 1:30
n/a n/a 888 km
Southern Route CBR-Mel: 0:50
881 km 10:10
Direct Drive
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 37

4.2.8 Proposed corridor profile In response to the reservation that high speed rail is not
suitable for Australia because distances between our major
Although the design approach is focused around providing a high centres are too large, or the total population and population
speed rail system, this is considered to be only a component of density are not high enough, recent experience from Europe
the wider scheme. The ultimate aim is to provide a high capacity and elsewhere has shown that rather than thinking about high
infrastructure corridor that could accommodate complementary speed rail in the traditional sense of a railway, i.e. servicing
non-rail infrastructure, like power, gas, water and telecommunications many centres on a route, high speed rail should be thought
services in addition to the proposed high speed rail lines. about in terms of a corridor.

Several potential opportunities were identified during the study, which


should be considered in any further investigations:
distances and populations in
• Combined road and rail corridor
• Combined passenger and freight rail corridor Australia between the major
• Combined infrastructure corridor that could potentially contain
other services including power, gas, water and telecommunications
capital cities are not too
infrastructure different to existing successful
• Use of sections of single line high speed track, depending on
operation and demand requirements, while providing a corridor
high speed rail networks in
capable of carrying multiple tracks Europe and the United States.
4.2.9 Constraints

Several difficulties were identified when considering high speed rail The following diagrams, Figures 11 and 12 demonstrate that
options in Australia. They include, but are not limited to: distances and populations in Australia between the major
capital cities are not too different to existing successful high
• Topography – One of the more significant constraints to providing a speed rail networks in Europe and the United States. In fact
high speed rail system in Australia, particularly along the east coast, the total population of the Australian East coast add up to more
is the topography and requirement to traverse the Great Diving than three times the population of the French TGV track by
Range at several locations. Traditional low speed rail alignments are covering only an additional 50% in distance. This suggests that
affected by the topography but not to the extent of high speed rail. the Melbourne – Brisbane population to distance ratio may be
• Corridor availability – There are limited land corridors available for the even more suitable for HSR infrastructure than the French TGV
implementation of high speed rail infrastructure, specifically close route. These provide a useful counterpoint to the arguments
to metropolitan centres. As indicated above, typically the geometry against high speed rail, and show that there is nothing
of the existing rail corridor along the east coast, particularly to the particularly unique about Australia’s geography and the lack of
north of Sydney, cannot be used for high speed traffic due to the population centres in regional areas through which high speed
circuitous nature of the existing alignment and requirement for long rail could pass.
straights and wide curves.

table 6
Estimated City centre to City centre journey times

City HSR Rail Distance HSR Stage 1 (160 km/h HSR Stage 2 (350
(km) Max) Point to Point km/h Max) Point to
Rail Time (h:m) Point Time (h:m)

AECOM – Assumed AECOM – Assumed AECOM – Assumed AECOM – Assumed


operating speed operating speed operating speed operating speed
100km/h 150km/h 300km/h 320km/h

From Brisbane 0 0 0 0 0

to Newcastle 712 7:22 4:55 2:27 2:18

to Sydney 863 9:10 6:07 3:05 2:53

to Canberra 1132 12:08 8:07 4:05 3:50

to Melbourne 1751 18:37 12:26 6:16 5:53


38 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

Figure 11
Australian east coast corridor AND recently completed French TGV route

Calais
Population 93 km
0.08m
Brisbane
Population Lille
2.0m Population
1.2m

727 km

Sydney 833 km
247 km Population
4.3m
465 km Canberra
Population
0.3m

Melbourne Marseille
Population Population
4.0m 1.2m

Total Population 10.6 million Total Population 2.78 million


Distance 1,439 km Distance 926 km

Figure 12
USA east coast corridor AND Spanish high-speed corridors

Boston
Population
4.5m

300 km
Barcelona
Population
Madrid 4.7m
Population
3.01m
504 km
New York
Population
327 km 8.3m
400 km

Seville
Washington Population
Population 0.69m
8.3m

Total Population 12.8 million Total Population 8.4 million


Distance 627 km Distance 904 km
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 39

4.3 Technology, infrastructure and 4.3.1 Staging approach


rolling stock
The staged approach to delivering a high speed rail service,
In respect of high speed rail technology, the key areas as proposed in this report, provides several advantages when
for consideration are typically rolling stock, signalling, implementing a new system. Incremental improvements allow
communications, track fastening systems (permanent way) and for the staging of new infrastructure to match available funding,
power supply. At this point, any recommendations regarding a maximise the efficiency of the existing infrastructure and
preferred technology or system would provide limited value. In immediately realise the benefits of the new infrastructure by
addition, more advanced technology is likely to be in use in the making early gains in the areas that will benefit most from the
timeframe proposed to complete the final stage of this project. improvements.
Planning of very fast train networks can take up to 15 to 20 years
to final design phases. The key goals of staging the project would be to provide a step
change to high speed rail that ensures:
When it is deemed that a high speed rail system is feasible, a
detailed study will be necessary to evaluate all current available 1. Immediate gains – An intermediate stage program of works
technology, and a functional specification prepared. As the will allow for immediate gains to be achieved yet pave the way
proposed ultimate high speed stage – greater than 350 km/h – is for further significant speed improvements once the ultimate
not intended to be introduced for a number of years, the early stage is completed. The scheme must provide incremental
stage must aim to allow for the future operations and technology. improvements that will permit increased speeds and reduced
It will therefore be essential that in the initial stages, the system is transit times. Additionally, the proposed interim staged
future-proofed by avoiding the adoption of a technology that will be infrastructure must not become redundant for the ultimate stage
superseded. Alignments should be designed to allow for speeds to proceed.
higher than 350 km/h as speeds greater than this may be the 2. Future-proofing the network – An intermediate stage, whereby
benchmark at the time this final stage is implemented. the infrastructure corridor is made civil ready, with civil and
structural engineering works completed to a level where little
As high speed rail becomes more common, as is currently additional modification is required to accommodate the ultimate
occurring in several countries around the world, Australia will have stage works, will potentially provide greater confidence in
the opportunity to adopt a proven system that suits our specific the success of the technology that is adopted in the ultimate
topography, geodemographic, economic and social position. Not stage. By selecting technology at a date closer to its actual
only will this provide confidence that the system will be introduced implementation, the project will potentially cost less as new
successfully, it will also present opportunities to efficiently procure technology is proven and more readily available.
a world-class system. A current example is in China where, under
a technology transfer agreement with Siemens, Velaro trains Typically the staged approach assumes that the civil infrastructure
are being cloned. It is being suggested that this could result in works will be completed initially and the remaining, technology
a less expensive rolling stock option for high speed rail projects dependant infrastructure and rolling stock will be implemented at a
in the United States. The Channel Line high speed rail link used later stage. It has been assumed that this staged approach would
off-the-shelf technology, and the latest plans for England’s HSR2 occur over several decades, hence the timeframe is indicative only
have a requirement for off-the-shelf technology that is factory and and will depend upon passenger demand, social, technological and
operationally tested and commonly used. economic factors.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 41

5.0 Economic Benefits

5.1 Introduction • Understand existing travel demand and mode share for all
modes
The development of a major high capacity infrastructure transit • Understand the future demand growth
corridor, to cater for uses such as high speed rail, along the east • Estimate future travel demand and mode share for all modes
coast of Australia will generate significant economic benefits under the Business as Usual scenario
regionally and nationally. Those benefits not only include the • Estimate the future travel times for high speed rail at Stage 1
conventional travel user benefits such as travel time and cost and Stage 2
savings, and non-user benefits such as decongestion at highways • Calculate mode share using future travel times at Stage 1 and
and airports, but also many other wider impacts. Other benefits Stage 2, and hence future high-speed rail demand using a logit
include external benefits, increases in land values, freight efficiency model approach
improvements, and wider economic benefits. Potentially, there will • Calculate total travel time savings at Stage 1 and Stage 2
also be a monetary benefit in the deferral of the construction of a • Calculate a monetary value of total travel time savings at Stage 1
second Sydney Airport. And by committing to the construction of and Stage 2 using an assumed value of time.
the high speed rail network, it will improve the chances for Australia
to host major international business, exhibition and sporting events This paper presents the results of a high-level analysis on future
in the future, which will bring direct benefits to the Australian high speed rail demand and benefits. Only the key travel corridors
economy. have been considered in the analysis, which are separated as short
distance and middle to long distance.
Modelling undertaken in the early 2000s by the Allen Consulting
Group for the Speedrail project (linking Sydney to Canberra) Table 7 below shows estimates for the annual number of
estimated a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2 for the project, showing passengers for 2010 and the respective mode share for car, train
that despite the substantial costs associated with building a high- and air sourced from publicly available data sets. For simplicity
speed rail corridor, the benefits can be substantial. purposes, the bus and train modes are considered in conjunction.

An important point is that high speed rail stations are generally


5.2 Travel time benefits located in or very near central business districts, as opposed to
airports which are often several or many kilometres away. Naturally,
Conventional user benefits refer to the generalised travel time and an additional factor in determining total travel times is that people
cost savings to high capacity transit users. The approach is well travelling for business or leisure on very fast trains have the
documented in international standard transport appraisal guidelines advantage of arriving in the centre of the city, not having to find
such as the Australian Transport Council’s National Guidelines for transport, i.e. taxi, bus, etc, and then commute to the CBD. These
Transport System Management in Australia and the UK Department factors have not been calculated in the analysis undertaken by
of Transport’s Web Transport Analysis Guideline (WebTAG). AECOM.

The estimation of high capacity transit user generalised travel time


and cost savings include the following steps:
42 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

TABLE 7
Main competing modes and the mode shares for 2010

Corridors Main competing Annual number of Mode Choice (%) – Source of Data and
modes passengers – 2010 estimates 2010 estimates Assumptions

Key short distance corridors

Sunshine Coast - Brisbane Car 8.905 m 94%


Bus & Train 0.586 m 6%
ABS Census Journey to Work data
Brisbane - Gold Coast Car 34.925 m 93% for SE Queensland10, factored to
Bus & Train 2.818 m 7% represent all trips11 and projected to
2010 estimates12
Sunshine Coast - Gold Coast Car 0.736 m 96%
Bus & Train 0.029 m 4%

Newcastle - Gosford Car 1.046 m 78%


Bus & Train 0.302 m 22%

Gosford - Sydney Car 13.878 m 49% ABS Census Journey to Work data
Bus & Train 14.224 m 51% for Sydney13, factored to represent
Newcastle - Sydney Car 1.323 m 73% all trips and projected to 2010
Bus & Train 0.482 m 27% estimates14

Sydney - Campbelltown Car 32.883 m 60%


Bus & Train 21.739 m 40%

Key middle to long distance corridors

Brisbane - Sydney Air 2.436 m 78%


Car 0.612 m 20%
Bus & Train 0.062 m 2%

Brisbane – Melbourne Air 1.663 m 94% Bureau of Transport and Regional


Car 0.091 m 5% Economics - information sheet 26
Bus & Train 0.008 m 0% – Passenger movements between
Sydney – Canberra Air 0.469 m 7% Australian cities 1970-71 to
Car 5.655 m 89% 2030-3115
Bus & Train 0.255 m 4%
Note: The BTRE data on the Sydney/
Sydney – Melbourne Air 5.743 m 82% Melbourne to Gold Coast segment
Car 1.096 m 16% is shown as a combined total. It is
Bus & Train 0.151 m 2% assumed that Sydney accounts for
Gold Coast – Sydney Air 1.457 m 71% 60% and Melbourne accounts for
Car 0.577 m 28% 40%
Bus & Train 0.031 m 2%

Gold Coast – Melbourne Air 0.971 m 71%


Car 0.385 m 28%
Bus & Train 0.021 m 2%

TABLE 8
Population growth per annum

Regions and Corridors 2010 to 2021 2021 to 2031 2031 to 2051 Source of Data

Sydney/ Hunter/ Illawarra SDs 1.1% 1.0% 0.8% NSW Transport Data Centre - October 2009 Release Population
Forecasts for Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra SDs 2006 to 2036

Brisbane/ Gold Coast/ 1.9% 1.4% 1.1% Queensland Planning Information and Forecasting Unit –
Sunshine Coast SDs Queensland’s future population 2008 edition

Brisbane - Sydney 2.8% 2.4% 2.0%

Brisbane – Melbourne 2.9% 2.4% 2.0%

Sydney – Canberra 2.0% 1.7% 1.4%


Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics - information sheet 26 –
Sydney – Melbourne 2.4% 2.0% 1.6% Passenger movements between Australian cities 1970-71 to 2030-31

Gold Coast – Sydney 2.9% 2.7% 2.1%

Gold Coast – Melbourne 2.9% 2.7% 2.1%

10 See Queensland Government Office of Economic and Statistical Research publication 12 Based on the annual growth rates estimated from Queensland Government Office of
www.oesr.qld.gov.au/queensland-by-theme/industry/transport-communications/bulletins/ Economic and Statistical Research publication www.oesr.qld.gov.au/queensland-by-theme/
census-2001/journey-work-south-east-qld-c01/journey-work-south-east-qld-c01.shtml#flows demography/population/tables/erp/erp-ucl-qld/index.shtml
11 Using an assumed factor of 4 to factor from 2-way JTW trips to represent all purpose daily 13 See www.transport.nsw.gov.au/tdc/employment.html
trips and an assumed factor of 330 to factor from daily trips to annual trips 14 NSW Transport Data Centre October 2009 Release Population Forecasts
15 See www.bitre.gov.au/publications/42/Files/is26.pdf
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 43

Note: Government releases only provide population forecasts up to Future travel demand and mode shares for the Business as Usual
2031 or 2036. There are indications that population growth beyond (BaU) scenario are shown in Table 9, while the present base and
2031 will be slower than the 2021 to 2031 horizon and a factor of future travel times are compared between the different modes in
0.8 on the 2021-2031 growth rates is assumed to estimate the Table 10.
2031-2051 growth rates.

table 9
Mode shares for 2021 & 2051 Business as Usual Scenario

Annual number of Annual number of


Main competing Mode Choice (%) – Mode Choice (%) –
Corridors passengers – 2021 passengers – 2051
modes 2021 estimates 2051 estimates
estimates estimates

Key short distance corridors

Sunshine Coast - Brisbane Car 10.794 m 94% 15.527 m 94%


Bus & Train 0.710 m 6% 1.022 m 6%

Brisbane - Gold Coast Car 42.328 m 93% 60.886 m 93%


Bus & Train 3.416 m 7% 4.913 m 7%

Sunshine Coast - Gold Car 0.892 m 96% 1.283 m 96%


Coast Bus & Train 0.035 m 4% 0.051 m 4%

Newcastle - Gosford Car 1.169 m 78% 1.530 m 78%


Bus & Train 0.337 m 22% 0.442 m 22%

Gosford - Sydney Car 15.498 m 49% 20.288 m 49%


Bus & Train 15.889 m 51% 20.800 m 51%

Newcastle - Sydney Car 1.478 m 73% 1.935 m 73%


Bus & Train 0.539 m 27% 0.705 m 27%

Sydney - Campbelltown Car 36.739 m 60% 48.095 m 60%


Bus & Train 24.281 m 40% 31.786 m 40%

Key middle to long distance corridors

Brisbane - Sydney Air 3.392 m 83% 6.637 m 87%


Car 0.652 m 16% 0.978 m 13%
Bus & Train 0.040 m 1% 0.038 m 1%

Brisbane – Melbourne Air 2.256 m 97% 4.289 m 98%


Car 0.076 m 3% 0.090 m 2%
Bus & Train 0.002 m 0% 0.000 m 0%

Sydney – Canberra Air 0.492 m 6% 0.658 m 5%


Car 7.036 m 90% 11.146 m 92%
Bus & Train 0.253 m 3% 0.335 m 3%

Sydney – Melbourne Air 7.420 m 84% 12.795 m 86%


Car 1.308 m 15% 2.086 m 14%
Bus & Train 0.096 m 1% 0.080 m 1%

Gold Coast – Sydney Air 2.090 m 76% 4.407 m 81%


Car 0.628 m 23% 1.004 m 18%
Bus & Train 0.031 m 1% 0.046 m 1%

Gold Coast – Melbourne Air 1.394 m 76% 2.936 m 81%


Car 0.418 m 23% 0.668 m 18%
Bus & Train 0.021 m 1% 0.030 m 1%

For the purpose of economic benefit calculations the average under 160km/h and the speed at Stage 2 is assumed to be under
speeds for Stage 1 and Stage 2 are assumed to be 100km/h and 350km/h. Travel time and time savings compared to the business
250km/h respectively (Note: these are conservative estimates as usual scenario were calculated and shown in the table 10.
compared to table 5. The speed at Stage 1 is assumed to be
44 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

TABLE 10
Base and future scenarios travel time comparison for the competing modes

Main Business as 2021 Stage 1 2051 Stage 2


2021 Stage 1 2051 Stage 2
Corridors competing Usual (BaU) Time Savings Time Savings
(160 km/h Max) (350 km/h Max)
modes Travel Times from BaU from BaU

Key short distance corridors

Sunshine Coast - Brisbane Car 128 mins 79 mins 31 mins 49 mins 97 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Brisbane - Gold Coast Car 63 mins 51 mins 21 mins 18 mins 48 mins


Bus & Train 69 mins

Sunshine Coast - Gold Coast Car 191 mins 130 mins 52 mins 61 mins 139 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Newcastle - Gosford Car 84 mins 45 mins 18 mins 47 mins 74 mins


Bus & Train 92 mins

Gosford - Sydney Car 79 mins 45 mins 18 mins 42 mins 69 mins


Bus & Train 87 mins

Newcastle - Sydney Car 163 mins 90 mins 36 mins 89 mins 143 mins
Bus & Train 179 mins

Sydney - Campbelltown Car 54 mins 33 mins 13 mins 24 mins 44 mins


Bus & Train 57 mins

Key middle to long distance corridors

Brisbane - Sydney Air 95 mins 517 mins 207 mins 282 mins 590 mins
Car 702 mins
Bus & Train 797 mins

Brisbane – Melbourne Air 145 mins 1050 mins 420 mins 262 mins 892 mins
Car 1312 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Sydney – Canberra Air 50 mins 162 mins 64 mins 105 mins 203 mins
Car 218 mins
Bus & Train 267 mins

Sydney – Melbourne Air 90 mins 533 mins 213 mins 77 mins 397 mins
Car 610 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Gold Coast – Sydney Air 80 mins 466 mins 186 mins 173 mins 453 mins
Car 639 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Gold Coast – Melbourne Air 140 mins 999 mins 399 mins 250 mins 850 mins
Car 1249 mins
Bus & Train n/a

Note: Business as usual travel times are estimated from Google, comparison of current rail travel times and Stage 1 or 2 rail travel
Countrylink and Qantas/Jetstar websites, i.e. existing travel times. In cases where there is no existing rail travel time, the road
times have been assumed. Time savings are estimated from the travel time is used for comparison purposes.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 45

As the purpose of this study is to provide high-level and indicative The long distance mode choice analysis employs the logit
estimates, new calibrated high speed rail mode choice models relationship estimated from the Steer Davies Gleave paper17, as
have not been examined. Instead, logit model parameter values shown in Figure 13. It is assumed that impacts to car demand are
have been drawn from past research and study. More robust minimal and the key competing modes are air and rail. To account
estimates can be generated with recent stated and revealed for the additional time spent getting to and from airports as well
preference surveys and a robust calibration and validation as the more robust check-in and security check requirements at
approach. airports, a penalty of 60 minutes have been assumed per direction,
i.e. to or from airports. For this study, fares have been assumed to
It is recognised that there are distinct behavioural characteristics be the same for both air and rail modes. The Sydney to Canberra
for short distance and medium/long distance travel, and therefore corridor is a special case, where a short distance model is applied
two logit models have been used to estimate the future mode for car vs rail travel and a long distance model is applied to air vs rail
share of high speed rail. The short distance mode choice model, travel.
which assumes the competing modes are car and train, employs a
dispersion parameter of 0.5516 and a mode constant of 60 minutes Using the short distance and long distance models, mode shift and
in favour of cars, which accounts for the convenience of car travel travel time saving predictions are estimated as shown in Table 11.
and access and egress requirements to and from rail stations.

Figure 13
Long distance market share model
Source: Steer Davies Gleave, 2006

100%
FRA-CGN-2005

90%
FRA-CGN-2002
MAD-SVQ-2004
80%

LON-MAN-2005
70% LON-PAR-2005
PAR-MRS-2005
Rail Market Share

60% LON-PAR-2002
LON-MAN-2002

50%
PAR-MRS-1999
40%
MIL-ROM-2005

30%
LON-EDI-1998

20%
LON-EDI-2004

MAD-BCN-2002 MAD-BCN-2005
10%

0%
-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 -100 150

Rail Utility Value - Air Utility Value

16 The mid-range value quoted in the Major Scheme Appraisal in Local Transport Plans - Part 3: 17 Air and Rail Competition and Complementarily, Steer Davies Gleave, August 2006 - http://
Detailed Guidance on Forecasting Models for Major Public Transport Schemes, http://www. ec.europa.eu/transport/rail/studies/doc/2006_08_study_air_rail_competition_en.pdf
sopo.org/PDFs/msapart3.pdf has been assumed.
46 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

TABLE 11
Mode shift and travel time savings

Main 2021 BaU 2051 BaU 2021 Stage 2051 Stage 2021 Stage 1 2051 Stage 2
Corridors competing Annual Annual 1 Annual 2 Annual Travel Time Travel Time
modes Demand Demand Demand Demand Savings Savings

Key short distance corridors

Sunshine Coast - Brisbane Car 10.794 m 15.527 m 7.441 m 1.913 m 1.95m hours 12.66m hours
Train 0.710 m 1.022 m 4.063 m 14.636 m

Brisbane - Gold Coast Car 42.328 m 60.886 m 42.697 m 47.973 m 0.97m hours 9.10m hours
Train 3.416 m 4.913 m 3.047 m 17.826 m

Sunshine Coast - Gold Coast Car 0.892 m 1.283 m 0.451 m 0.017 m 0.26m hours 1.58m hours
Train 0.035 m 0.051 m 0.476 m 1.317 m

Newcastle - Gosford Car 1.169 m 1.530 m 1.145 m 0.825 m 0.27m hours 0.98m hours
Train 0.337 m 0.442 m 0.361 m 1.147 m

Gosford - Sydney Car 15.498 m 20.288 m 25.326 m 19.979 m 7.68m hours 24.10m hours
Train 15.889 m 20.800 m 6.061 m 21.109 m

Newcastle - Sydney Car 1.478 m 1.935 m 0.663 m 0.065 m 1.40m hours 3.91m hours
Train 0.539 m 0.705 m 1.354 m 2.575 m

Sydney - Campbelltown Car 36.739 m 48.095 m 54.625 m 59.097 m 6.14m hours 19.28m hours
Train 24.281 m 31.786 m 6.395 m 20.784 m

Key middle to long distance corridors

Brisbane - Sydney Air 3.392 m 6.637 m 3.417 m 3.098 m 0.13m hours 17.78m hours
Car 0.652 m 0.978 m 0.652 m 0.978 m
Train 0.040 m 0.038 m 0.015 m 3.577 m

Brisbane – Melbourne Air 2.256 m 4.289 m 2.258 m 4.041 m 0m hours 1.84m hours
Car 0.076 m 0.090 m 0.076 m 0.090 m
Train 0.002 m 0.000 m 0.000 m 0.248 m

Sydney – Canberra Air 0.492 m 0.658 m 0.346 m 0.128 m 0.57m hours 2.03m hours
Car 7.036 m 11.146 m 1.984 m 0.063 m
Train 0.253 m 0.335 m 5.451 m 11.948 m

Sydney – Melbourne Air 7.420 m 12.795 m 7.494 m 6.611 m 0.08m hours 20.99m hours
Car 1.308 m 2.086 m 1.308 m 2.086 m
Train 0.096 m 0.080 m 0.022 m 6.264 m

Gold Coast – Sydney Air 2.090 m 4.407 m 2.103 m 1.947 m 0.07m hours 9.63m hours
Car 0.628 m 1.004 m 0.628 m 1.004 m
Train 0.031 m 0.046 m 0.018 m 2.506 m

Gold Coast – Melbourne Air 1.394 m 2.936 m 1.415 m 2.741 m 0.04m hours 1.80m hours
Car 0.418 m 0.668 m 0.418 m 0.668 m
Train 0.021 m 0.030 m 0.000 m 0.225 m

*Sydney – Canberra Car to train shift n/a n/a 5.052 m 11.083 m

Note: The ‘rule of half’ has been applied to new rail users for the VOT growth, the estimated travel time savings for 2021 Stage 1
calculation of future years travel time savings. are $307 million per year in 2010 prices. With the step change in
technology and speed, the estimated travel time savings for 2051
Assuming an average value of time of $10 per hour in 2006 prices Stage 2 are $2.5 billion per year in 2010 prices. In addition, the travel
and values18, which equates to $11.5 in 2010 prices and values, with times and time savings in this analysis are very conservative so as
a growth rate of 3.5% a year comprising 2.5% inflation and 1%pa to not exaggerate patronage analysis.

18 Based on the Australian Transport Council – National Guidelines for Transport System
Management in Australia, Part 4 Urban Transport, 2006, page 46
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 47

5.3 Decongestion benefits Other wider economic impacts, in addition to improvements to labour
supply, result from the advancement of agglomeration economies and
Australia’s transport systems will come under pressure from a the presence of imperfect competition.
combination of changing conditions in the future. Populations of
cities will increase, putting strain on already straining transport and Agglomeration means the geographic clustering of firms and workers.
utility networks. Even if people can be encouraged to live and work Firms are more productive when near to other firms because they
in outlying or regional centres, without an increase in the coverage have access to a large variety of inputs to their activities and their
and capacity of the transport network this will cause overcrowding on inter-association leads to a higher take-up of innovation. Many firms
public transport and congestion on the roads. are also more productive when they have access to a large labour
market. Improving accessibility facilitates the clustering effect and
A Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) expands the labour market.
study19 estimated the social cost of congestion over the Australian
capital cities for 2005 to be $9.4 billion. The national total is spread In addition to conventional time savings measured in traditional cost
over the capital cities with Sydney the highest at around $3.5 billion, benefit analysis, imperfect competition benefits seek to measure the
followed by Melbourne at $3 billion. The cost is projected to rise to additional value to society of the additional activity the worker now
an estimated $20.4 billion by 2020. High capacity transit will provide can undertake instead of travelling. Under the assumption of perfect
high quality and speed travel experience to travellers, and hence will competition, the two values – hourly labour cost and marginal hourly
attract users from other modes of transport to shift to high capacity productivity – are identical, so labour cost is a good approximation for
transport from their original mode of transport, i.e. cars, air. This will conventional benefit calculation. In reality this is not true. On average,
allow congestion relief of the existing roads and airports. firms are able to charge more for their products and services than
what they cost to produce. This means that the value society places
As an indication, research on road decongestion benefits by the on the worker’s output from one hour’s additional work is higher than
Victorian Department of Infrastructure found that the potential value the cost of the worker’s time to the firm. By valuing workers’ saved
of road decongestion can range from 17 cents to 90 cents per vehicle time at the level of costs to the firm rather than the value to society,
kilometre. These values cover both time and vehicle operating cost current transport appraisal underestimates the benefits of in-work
changes, and allow for any induced traffic effects resulting from travel time savings.
reduced car travel demand. The peak time/moderate congestion level
value is 64 cents per kilometre change in vehicle travel, presented in The United Kingdom Department of Transport’s web-based Transport
June 2004 prices. Analysis Guidance, which provides guidance to the appraisal of public
transport, refers to Feldman et al (2008), who suggest wider impact
benefits would add between 10% and 30% to the conventional
5.4 Wider economic benefits benefits. It is argued that given the scale and nature of high speed rail
compared with the conventional urban transit schemes, high speed
High capacity transport could create a viable commuter connection rail is assumed to achieve the higher rate, i.e. 30% of conventional
between regional areas to major cities. By reducing travel times benefits.
to employment centres, the employment market is increased for
regional areas. Likewise, improved connections will attract businesses
searching for premises and make outlying centres a viable alternative 5.5 Savings in external costs
as a base outside of the capital cities. This has the added benefit of
increasing job opportunities in regional areas. According to the UIC report21, rail is responsible for less external
impacts compared with cars, buses and air travel for the same
A wider economic benefit of improving accessibility is improved amount of passenger kilometres of travel. Encouraging the shift
labour supply. When people make decisions about whether or not to of passengers from other modes to the rail mode will reduce the
work, where to work and how much to work, they take into account external costs of travel. The Cooperative Research Centre for Rail
many things, including not only the wages on offer but also the costs Innovation Report22 quotes the UIC report figures and provides a
associated with each option, including time forsaken, commuting comparison of the external costs for each mode, as shown in
costs and stress. This means high commuting costs can lead people Figure 15.
to work less or in less productive jobs, and be lower paid, than they
would otherwise. Reducing travel time and costs along desirable The external costs considered include upstream process, impact
routes may cause people to enter the labour market or move to more on urban sprawl, landscape, climate change, air pollution, noise and
productive jobs as a result. There are three labour market impacts20: accidents. As shown in the figure, the rail mode is by far the most
external friendly mode. In 2008 values, it generates an external cost
• More people choosing to work as a result of commuting time equivalent to 20 Euros per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel. This is
savings because the cost associated with working has fallen. followed by bus and air. Private cars generate the most external costs,
• Some people choosing to work longer hours because they spend equating to 87 Euros per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel.
less time commuting.
• Relocation of jobs to higher-productive areas because better
transport makes the area more attractive and accessible to firms
and workers.

19 BTRE Working Paper 71 - Estimating urban traffic and congestion cost trends for Australian cities,
2007 http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/56/Files/COAG_Urban_Congestion_Review_Report.pdf 21 High-speed Rail: Fast Track to Sustainable Mobility, UIC, Paris, 2008
20 Transport, Wider Economic Benefits, and Impacts on GDP, UK Department for Transport, 2006 22 High-speed Rail: Strategic information for the Australian context, CRC for Rail Innovation, 2010
48 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

Figure 14
Comparison of average external costs for rail versus other transport modes
Source: UIC, 2008 and CRC for Rail Innovation, 2010

10

87
(Euros per 1,000 passenger-kilometres)

Upstream process
(energy production
disposal waste,etc.)
6
Impact on urban
sprawl
48
38 Landscape

4
Climate change

20 Air pollution
2

Noise

Accidents
0
Private Car Bus Rail Air

Assuming inflation was at 2.5% per annum and using a foreign industry analysts have confirmed for Infrastructure Partnerships
exchange rate of Aus $1 to 0.68 Euro23, the monetary external costs Australia that $15 billion is a reasonable estimate of the cost of
for the four modes of travel in 2010 values and prices are: building a second Sydney airport.

• Private car – $128 per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel The CRC for Rail Innovation report strongly suggested that Sydney
• Bus – $56 per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel airport capacity issues should be considered in conjunction with
• Rail – $29 per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel future high speed rail options. High speed rail could reduce demand
• Air – $71 per 1000 passenger kilometres of travel for busy air routes around the east coast26 and alleviate the need
for a second Sydney airport. It could also potentially provide the
option of using Canberra and/or Newcastle airports to augment the
5.6 Deferral of a second Sydney airport capacity of Sydney airport.

The solution to air congestion – building secondary airports – is High speed rail offers a premium rail service that can be a genuine
extremely expensive, and in many cases in European cities air alternative to air and car trips on short to medium duration trips.
corridors are diminishing. There are no longer scheduled air routes In addition to competing on travel times, rail passengers can
between Paris and Brussels and 90 per cent of people travelling move around more freely, use mobile phones, laptops, and
between Paris and London now use high speed rail. hold meetings. Passengers do not need to go through security
screening, restrict what they can take on board, or wait to pick up
There have been numerous studies undertaken for a potential luggage. Passengers overall are more comfortable and experience
second Sydney airport as the number of domestic and international less health problems, such as in-flight dehydration, pressure change
passengers continue to grow. In 1999, the cost for the second sensitivity, or nervousness and anxiety.
Sydney airport was reported to be in the region of $6 billion to $8
billion24. A more recent media article said the cost of building a With the implementation of high speed rail, deferring the
second Sydney airport had inflated to $15 billion25. While the final construction of the second Sydney airport, could save up to $15
cost depends on many variables such as land value and airport size, billion in 2010 prices.

23 Foreign exchange rate in June 2010 26 The Sydney-Melbourne air corridor is recognised to be one of the busiest in the world, the
24 Government delays decision on second Sydney airport, ABC News, 17 August 1999 BTRE paper, Passenger movements between Australian cities, estimates that by 2031, the
25 Do the numbers support the Very Fast Train, The Melbourne Urbanist, 3 May 2010 annual number of air passengers at the corridor will reach 9.2 million.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 49

Figure 15
Plot of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD for Sydney, in 2009 values and prices

6,000
Paddington
Land Value ($) per Square Metre

5,000
Bellevue Hill

4,000
Dover Heights
3,000
Manly

2,000
Cronulla

1,000

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Travel Time to Sydney CBD (mins)

attract some commuters to relocate to Gosford for country style


5.7 Land value increase from improvement living, and hence drive the demand for houses and their values.
in accessibility The same would apply for Brisbane and Melbourne. A recent article
published by the Australian Financial Review27 said if high speed rail
Research shows that improvement in the accessibility to city centres leads to new housing and commercial facilities for about 2 million
has the potential to add value to land and property, and hence, land people of the projected 13 million increase by 2049, as much $20
value would increase as a result of the much improved accessibility billion could be raised from tapping into land value increases,
to city centres generated by the implementation of high-speed rail.
Land value increases as a direct result of transport investment have
The most recent example can be drawn from the UK’s Kent to St not been considered as part of the economic benefits in conventional
Pancras high speed rail link, operated by London Southeastern scheme appraisal approaches such as the National Guidelines for
Railways. Since its commencement in 2009, journey times to London Transport System Management in Australia and the UK Department
from Ashford have fallen by more than half to 37 minutes from its of Transport’s Transport Analysis Guidance, to avoid potential double
original 83 minutes. It immediately attracted London commuters who counting.. However,land value increases may provide a source of
opt for country living styles to relocate to Kent while they can still funding for transport projects. There are established international
enjoy reasonable accessibility to the city. methodologies for the capture of the increase in land value to
subsidise the capital costs of transport investment, e.g. through
The recent Colin Buchanan Report (January 2009), commissioned council tax, stamp duty, development contributions, and so on.
by London and Continental Railways, found high speed rail services
to London will stimulate demand for property in Ashford, pushing Using publicly available data on unimproved land values for Sydney
up house prices by up to 7.5 per cent, an increase of £12,800 per and Brisbane sourced from state government departments; AECOM
property in 2006 prices. House prices around the new Ebbsfleet has carried out its own analyses to estimate the potential increase in
International Station in West Kent, which enjoys a quick 17 minutes unimproved land prices per square metre as a result of the travel time
journey from London St Pancras Station with the new high speed improvement from high-speed rail. Firstly, in Figure 15, unimproved
rail link, are estimated to experience an increase in value in the land prices per square metre are plotted against the travel time to
magnitude of 5.7 per cent to 14.4 per cent, i.e. an increase of the CBD in minutes. It is found that the unimproved land values per
£10,400 to £30,200 in 2006 prices. The report estimates that the new square metre correlates well with a power function of the travel
high speed rail link will result in house price increases in the Kent times to the CBDs, as shown in Figure 16.
area by between £950 million and £1.6 billion.
A comparison of the unimproved land prices per square metre
In the Australian context, a high speed rail link that connects the state against travel time to the CBDs for Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast
capital cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with their satellite are shown in Figure 16.
suburbs will make those suburbs attractive to live and work in as a
result of the significant improvement in accessibility to the CBDs. For Using the relationships shown in Figure 16, travel time improvements
example, if there was a high-speed rail link from Gosford to Sydney and the consequent estimated land value increases are shown in
CBD and the travel time was reduced by half, it would immediately Table 12 and Figure 17.

27 Bye Crowded Sky, Hail Fast Rail, The Australian Financial Review, 23 December 2009.
50 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

Figure 16
Comparison of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD relationships for Sydney,
Brisbane and Gold Coast (2009 values and prices)

6,000
Sydney 2009 Land Values
Land Value ($) per Square Metre

Brisbane 2009 Land Values


5,000
Gold Coast 2009 Land Values

4,000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Travel Time to Sydney CBD (mins)

TABLE 12
Travel time improvement in regional cities

Regional Cities Capital Cities Current Travel Time and Stage 1 Travel Time Stage 2 Travel Time
Land Values

Gosford Sydney 87 mins 45 mins 18 mins

Hornsby Sydney 37 mins 20 mins 8 mins

Campbelltown Sydney 57 mins 33 mins 13 mins

Figure 17
Comparison of unimproved land prices per square metre against travel time to CBD relationships for Sydney,
Brisbane and Gold Coast (2009 values and prices)

6,000
Land Value ($) per Square Metre

5,000

4,000
Stage 2 Travel Time from
Campbelltown to Sydney
3,000 (13 minutes) - $1900/sqm

44 mins saved
2,000
Current Travel Time from
Campbelltown to Sydney
(57 minutes) - $340/sqm
1,000 Stage 1 Travel Time from
Campbelltown to Sydney
(33 minutes) - $640/sqm 24 mins saved
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Travel Time to City Centres (mins)
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 51

5.8 Value of options – land acquisition cost Government’s Department of Environment and Resource
savings Management unimproved land value data sets estimates the
average nominal growth in the unimproved land values per square
Over the past 10 years average land values have been increased at metre for the key coastal cities and towns, shown in Figure 18.
a rate greater than the real GDP growth. If this trend continues, it
provides an opportunity for government to acquire and preserve the The 2009 unimproved land values per square metre for the key
necessary lands at a more economical price in the near future. coastal towns and cities have also been estimated from the data
sets. As would be expected, Figure 19 illustrates values are highest
AECOM analysis of NSW Department of Lands and Queensland in the inner city areas of the capital cities.

Figure 18
Growth (% Change) in Unimproved Land Values per annum for the Key Coastal Towns and Cities

12.0%
NSW (1996 to 2009) Queensland (2007 to 2009)
10.0%

8.0%

6.0%

4.0%

2.0%

0.0%
Sydney 0-20km

Sydney 20-40km

Sydney 40-60km

Sydney 60+km

East Gosford

Wamberal

The Entrance

Wyong

Eleebana

Edgeworth

Merewether
(Newcastle)

(Newcastle)

Taree

Port Macquarie

Coffs Harbour

Grafton

Ballina

Lismore

Murwillumbah

Tweed Heads

Brisbane 0-20km

Brisbane 20-40km

Brisbane 40-60km
Mayfield

Figure 19
2009 Unimproved Land Values per square metre

$3,000
NSW (2009) Queensland (2009)
$2,500

$2,000

$1,500

$1,000

$500

$0
Sydney 0-20km

Sydney 20-40km

Sydney 40-60km

Sydney 60+km

East Gosford

Wamberal

The Entrance

Wyong

Eleebana

Edgeworth

Merewether
(Newcastle)

(Newcastle)

Taree

Port Macquarie

Coffs Harbour

Grafton

Ballina

Lismore

Murwillumbah

Tweed Heads

Brisbane 0-20km

Brisbane 20-40km

Brisbane 40-60km
Mayfield
52 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

The key message in examining the land value increases across the Treasury discount rate, then there would be a strong case to acquire
entire East Coast corridor is that land values will continue to increase corridors now rather than later, provided that the probability of needing
in these regions, and acquiring the land for the corridor will only get the corridor was greater than 60% after 2030.
more expensive with time. While the acquisition of the land for the
entire Sunshine Coast to Melbourne would be in the billions of dollars Based on indicative current dollar values, AECOM estimates that
now, it is likely to be in the tens of billions of dollars by the middle of the corridor would have a purchase price in 2009 of $13.7 billion. By
the century. contrast, a purchase of the corridor in 2030 would cost around $57
billion, assuming land price increases of around four per cent real plus
It is critical to remember that a corridor can be reserved without being the impact of urban expansion. The purchase price is discounted back
acquired. to $17.7 billion in 2010 using a discount rate that is two per cent higher
than land price increase (namely, six per cent), generating potential
It is also important to note that the portions of the corridor which revenue of $3.3 billion per annum based on a return from the corridor
are the most viable to have high speed rail in the short to medium of one per cent of value per annum. There would be a net saving of $5
term are those closest to capital cities, and it is those corridors which billion of purchasing the entire corridor now rather than in 2030, which
will experience the most dramatic property value increases over the breaks even if the probability of needing the corridor is greater than 62
coming decades. There is therefore an imperative to reserve the per cent.
entire corridor now, as well as begin acquisition in areas of greatest
potential use and where benefits are most readily harnessed – that is, These dollar values are indicative only and are based on unimproved
in proximity to our urban areas. land values in NSW, transferred to other states. It is important to note
that neither IPA nor AECOM is advocating full acquisition of the entire
corridor now – these figures provide an indicative guide which shows
5.9 Immediate versus staged corridor that, in this analysis, it makes sense to acquire the corridor if there is
acquisition a greater than 62 per cent chance of needing the corridor in the future
(based on the above assumptions), which is of course dependent on
Acquiring corridors that are suitable for high capacity transport further studies, and ultimately government policy. A crucial fact is that
infrastructure will have a considerable cost, because a significant it is possible to reserve corridors to prevent development that would
amount of land is needed and there is limited flexibility when rule out a future very fast train without acquiring them.
acquiring straight corridors. However, it will be even more expensive
to acquire corridors in the future compared to now, given increases
in land values and increasing density of land usage. The case for
Figure 20
early acquisition also depends on the holding costs, represented by
Government Treasury discount rate. The trade-off between lower Break-even probability of Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne 
purchase costs now plus holding costs compared to higher purchase corridor options
costs later can be expressed in terms of a break-even ratio.

Another way is to understand this is in terms of option values. 100%


Acquiring corridors now creates ‘call’ options to build high capacity premium 3.0%
infrastructure in the future. The value of these options depends on 90%
Min probability that infrastructure needed

the cost of acquiring now compared to later, the probability that the
80% premium 2.5%
corridor will be needed at some time, and the relative difference
between the rate of growth in real estate prices and the public
70%
discount rate.
premium 2.0%

60%
If real estate prices are forecast to increase at the same rate as
acquire
Treasury’s discount rate, then there is a very compelling case to corridor now
50%
acquire corridors now for future use, whether for infrastructure or
indeed any land usage. However, real estate prices tend to increase
40%
more slowly than the Treasury discount rate. AECOM’s analysis
shows that if real estate prices were to increase at 4 percentage
30%
points less than the Treasury discount rate, then there would be
no strong case to preserve now in case rather than acquire later if acquire
20% corridor
needed. when needed
premium 1.0%
10%
Figure 20 shows the break-even probability of corridor options over
premium 0.0%
time, for a range of differences between real estate price increases 0%
and Treasury discount rate. For each line, if the probability of needing 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050
the corridor at any time is greater than plotted, then it is preferable
to acquire the corridor now rather than later. For example, if real Year when infrastructure needed
estate prices were to increase at two percentage points less than the
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 53

The break-even corridor reservation probability is illustrated in A well-connected national high-


Figure 20.
capacity transit network will
As discussed above, the option value depends on relativities
between forecast increase in land prices and Government Treasury
enhance the status of Australia
discount rate. The option value is very sensitive to this relativity, as as a nation and increase the
is any decision about whether to acquire now in case the corridor
is needed or later if it is needed. probability of successful
bids for major international
NSW Treasury recommends a discount rate of 7% pre-tax in
real terms, with sensitivities at 4% and 10%. The ABS house exhibition and sporting events
price index for New South Wales shows that the annual growth
rate in house purchase prices is approximately 4% per annum
such as EXPO, the Olympics
compounding. Infrastructure Australia also recommends discount and the FIFA World Cup.
rates of 4%, 7%, and 10%. The difference between long-term
increases in house prices and Treasury’s central discount rate is
approximately 3%, which favours corridor acquisition if there is a Experience in Europe has shown that a substantial portion of
reasonable probability that the corridor is needed (88% in 2020, or revenue derived from ticket sales comes from tourists, and in
93% in 2050). Australia it is expected that this would also occur to some degree.
In addition, opening up regional areas to new tourism investment
Furthermore, there are other benefits of early acquisition that have would be considered to be another benefit of the network.
not been included in preceding analysis, as follow:
A well-connected national high-capacity transit network will
• No allowance has been made for the costs of negotiating enhance the status of Australia as a nation and increase the
with multiple landowners. However, over time density of land probability of successful bids for major international exhibition
usage will increase, so acquiring the same corridor will require and sporting events such as EXPO, the Olympics and the FIFA
negotiations with more landowners, increasing the transaction World Cup. It is well researched that these events will bring
costs. direct economic benefits to the Australian economy. It also
• If the corridor is acquired by compulsory acquisition, there will offers potential to make Australia a more accessible location for
be additional costs of complying with acquisition processes as conventions and major conferences of government and non-
well as potential social impacts. These costs will also increase government organisations.
over time, because processes are likely to become more
onerous. No allowance has been made for these costs.
5.12 Employment benefits
In summary, government decision frameworks should favour
early acquisition of corridors that are ready for high capacity The original Speedrail proposal estimated that up to 15,000
infrastructure if there is a reasonable probability that corridors will construction jobs could be created by the development of a very
be needed. fast train line between Sydney and Canberra, and 2430 new
permanent jobs would be established.

5.10 More efficient freight operation No specific figures have been generated for this report as this
study focuses more specifically on the reservation of high capacity
There are other cost savings and benefits of developing a very infrastructure corridors, rather than the construction of a particular
fast train which this study has not quantified. For example, the segment of a new rail line. However, it is important to note the
diversion of existing passenger rail rolling stock to operate at the potential benefits in employment that could come from rolling out
new high-speed rail track will improve the operational efficiency for a new very fast train network incrementally.
rail freight. Diverting passenger services away from the existing
rail network will improve the operational performance of rail freight.
It is anticipated that utilising existing rail networks for better freight 5.13 Reducing reliance on fossil fuels
corridors would deliver substantial benefits in terms of freight
capacity and speed. In 2007, transport generated 15 per cent of Australia's total carbon
dioxide emissions. Of this, road travel contributed 87 per cent28.

5.11 Tourism and business events Transport is largely powered by fossil fuels, either directly by
liquid or gaseous fuel or indirectly by electricity. Burning fossil
Compared with the existing rolling stock, the premium service fuels produces emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides,
provided by high speed rail will also enhance the quality of travel sulphur dioxide and particulates that can cause air pollution or
experienced by travellers. Tourists may be attracted to make new contribute to global warming. Transport modes produce different
trips on high speed rail services. levels of emissions.

28 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Department of Climate Change, May 2009


54 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

A New South Wales Parliamentary Library paper underlines the


environmental credentials of rail: “The transport of freight by rail
It is entirely feasible that
is widely recognised as having significant environmental benefits Australia’s future high-speed
compared to the transport of freight by road. Freight transported by
rail uses one third of the fuel required for road transport per tonne rail network could also be
of freight hauled. It produces only one third of the nitrous oxide,
half of the volatile organic compounds and less than two thirds
powered by renewable energy
of the carbon monoxide. Rail is twice as energy efficient as road, such as wind, making the entire
even after fuel use has been included for road pick-up and delivery
from rail terminals, manufacture of transport equipment and rail network carbon neutral,
construction of roads and railway lines. One freight train between or even carbon positive.
Melbourne and Sydney replaces [up to] 150 semi-trailers and
saves 45,000 litres of fuel and 130 tonnes of greenhouse gases,
compared with road haulage.”29
Recent examples have shown that offsetting the power usage of
If the aim is to reduce greenhouse emissions, it would be desirable a major project through investment in renewable energy can have
to encourage more people to travel by rail than by road or air for important social and environmental dividends.
the same trip, regardless of distance. We add a caution that it
might not be desirable, however, to encourage longer trips by rail The decision to power the Kurnell desalination plant in Sydney
to replace shorter rail trips just because a higher speed mode has entirely by renewable energy has been widely regarded a success. It
made it more feasible; for example, being able to live further from is entirely feasible that Australia’s future high-speed rail network could
work. There are also issues with creating satellite towns. also be powered by renewable energy such as wind, making the
entire rail network carbon neutral, or even carbon positive.
Sustainable transport is not a different kind of transport but a
movement, or policy in some countries, that aims to minimise Recent studies from the US have confirmed the environmental
the environmental, social and economic costs associated with credentials of high-speed rail, noting that “while high speed rail has
transport, with a future goal of attaining sustainable transport the potential to be the lowest energy consumer and greenhouse gas
systems. It co-exists with other movements such as sustainable emitter, appropriate planning and continued investment would be
cities and sustainable development. needed to ensure sustained high occupancy30”.

In environmental terms, sustainability refers to the use of natural


resources at a rate that allows the planet to regenerate those 5.14 Safety benefits
resources, in social terms, to equity between all members of
the human race and in economic terms to the viability of an The predicted diversion of trips from road to rail would reduce the
undertaking; for example, a project must produce at least as much number of fatalities per billion passenger kilometres and therefore
value as it costs to undertake. reduce the cost of transport related accidents to the nation. Both
air travel in Australia and high speed rail travel internationally have
An emissions trading scheme is just one example of potential incredibly strong safety records, so any safety benefits from the
future policy context to which businesses and individuals may introduction of a very fast train would expected to be from the
have to adapt. The introduction of the formerly proposed Carbon consequent reduction in car travel.
Pollution Reduction Scheme is currently on hold but it can be
assumed the pressures on existing systems and networks, and
the depletion and higher cost of traditional fuel sources, will lead to 5.15 National road pricing
increasing costs of transport in the future.
Discussion of a potential future high speed rail network in Australia
Therefore, irrespective of the direction of future transport policy, it must naturally be forward-looking and consider issues which may
will be of interest to Australians to investigate methods to reduce emerge over the coming decades. One such issue is road pricing,
fossil fuel use and in doing so work towards sustainable transport and the potential introduction of a National Road Pricing scheme.
use. One way to reduce the external costs of transport is to
changing a mode of transport to a less polluting option, such as In 2010, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, in partnership with
from car use to bus, from air to rail, road or sea, road freight to rail SAHA, released a discussion paper on the potential role of a national
freight. road pricing scheme for Australia31. The paper found that all existing

29 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Department of Climate Change, May 2009.


30 Chester, M and A Horvath (2010) Life-cycle assessment of high-speed rail: the case of California.
31 IPA (2010) Urban Transport Challenge: A discussion paper on a role for road pricing in the Australian context.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 55

road-related taxes, fees and charges could be abolished and a motorists are given the incentive to use private vehicles less to drive
single, user charge implemented to charge motorists based on their down their personal or business costs.
individual impact on the road estate.

There is a need to manage transport demand to reduce pressure on 5.16 Economic impact on the aviation sector
infrastructure. Even with demand management measures, there
will be a strong need for additional infrastructure. Road pricing will Analysis undertaken for this paper shows that on a number of key
both assist in the provision and maintenance of funding as well as routes, building a very fast train network would see people shift from
facilitating the management of transport demand to achieve a more air travel to rail. The implications of this for the aviation sector are
efficient and sustainable transport system. significant.

As the Henry Tax Review notes: This report has not looked in detail at the economic impacts that
high-speed rail would have on airlines, airports, or related industries,
Existing institutions have not led to the most efficient use and supply however it is important to note that airlines around the world are
of roads. Prices are essential to making the best use of roads… The seeing high-speed rail as an opportunity, not a threat.
challenge is formidable. It requires coordination across all levels of
government. But reform would promote the best investment in and For example, the Virgin brand is synonymous with aviation in
use of our roads, lift national productivity, and improve the lives of Australia, however it has diversified its transport offering in the
millions of Australians. northern hemisphere and is equally known for running quality
passenger train services in the United Kingdom.
Analysis undertaken for IPA by SAHA has shown that the current
road-related expenditure of $11.371 billion (2006-07) could be It is also important to note that QANTAS was a key associate on the
raised by a light vehicle road user charge averaging just 4.6c/km. A original Speedrail consortium, which looked at a Sydney to Canberra
charge averaging 10.4c/km for light vehicles could generate revenue and Sydney to Melbourne very fast train route, indicating that the
equivalent to that currently derived from road related fees and airline has wanted to be involved in a future high speed rail project in
charges. Depending on any eventual scheme design and pricing Australia.
structure, it is likely that the proceeds of a future road pricing scheme
would provide a significant recurrent stream of capital for investment Naturally, more work would need to be done on the impacts to
in transport infrastructure projects, including possibly High Speed the aviation sector if high-speed rail progresses, however, for the
Rail. purposes of this study, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia notes that
there may be considerable interest from multiple airlines in operating
A road pricing scheme based on distance, location and time of travel trains on the route, particularly if the network were structured with
could improve equity outcomes across society by: an open access regime allowing service competition. Given that
the route proposed in this study includes links to major airports
• Increasing the accountability of road users for the impacts arising such as Sydney and Canberra, which potentially augments their
from their road use; catchment areas, the aviation sector should see very fast trains as an
• Removing upfront fees and charges that act as barriers to vehicle opportunity, not a threat.
ownership – thereby reducing the impacts of social isolation; and,
• Reducing the current, disproportionate fees and charges that apply
to some heavy vehicles.

There is potential that the introduction of a national road pricing could


be used to help fund the staged introduction of an east coast high
capacity infrastructure corridor and eventual very fast train.

Hypothecating the revenue generated by a road-pricing scheme


towards road improvements, urban mass transit and high-speed rail
would ensure that people have options to leave their cars at home
and foster public acceptance for both.

In addition, a national road pricing system would be expected to


create a beneficial patronage uplift effect on high-speed rail, as
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 57

6.0 Environmental Constraints


for Infrastructure Corridors
6.1 Introduction • Allows for early consideration of national environmental matters
allowing opportunities to develop appropriate mitigation measures;
This section discusses the environmental issues and constraints • Provides greater certainty for local communities and developers
arising from the introduction of a future linear infrastructure corridor over future development intentions; and
along the route proposed between Brisbane and Melbourne. The • Provides capacity to achieve better environmental outcomes and
potential environmental benefits associated with the eventual address the cumulative landscape impacts associated with the
introduction of the linear infrastructure corridor are addressed in introduction of the corridor.
Section 5.0 Economic Benefits.

The environmental characteristics and sensitivities of introducing 6.2 Environmental FACTORS


a corridor to meet the future infrastructure needs of a growing
population are complex and unique. There is significant potential As with other linear infrastructure projects, a final project developed
for disruption to natural ecosystems. In addition, given the scale within the corridor could potentially result in the introduction of
and nature of the corridor required, it will inevitably pass through a significant new landscape feature. The environmental impacts
established communities, most notably in the urban areas associated with the introduction of the corridor are two-fold:
surrounding the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and
Melbourne, resulting in potential amenity impacts on residents. • Development impacts by means of land disturbance and clearing
of a relatively narrow linear route which may affect vegetation,
Early consideration of the environmental constraints applicable indigenous cultural heritage items, and existing land uses, without
to the introduction of the corridor is an integral component of careful management.
the design process and will influence the detailed planning • Operational impacts on the environment including noise, visual
and infrastructure coordination work necessary to support the impact and changed access patterns at the regional and local
introduction of the corridor and as far as possible ameliorate the levels.
environmental impact.
The corridor would traverse through a landscape that contains a
The approach has been to undertake a high level review of rich and diverse array of protected areas with high environmental
environmental information relating to the proposed corridor route sensitivity possibly including national parks and areas with
to highlight potential constraints and issues that may influence its Commonwealth or state level heritage significance, including both
route and design. This process has been instrumental in identifying Indigenous and non-Indigenous sites. Table 13 lists the principal
potential issues that could result in an eventual infrastructure environmental constraints, which are discussed in detail below.
project being delayed or threaten its viability.

A high level, desk based assessment of the potential environmental


issues associated with the introduction of a future linear Table 13
infrastructure corridor has been undertaken. The assessment has The key environmental issues associated with the 
established the general context for the infrastructure corridor and introduction of the corridor
has been used as a means of identifying the key issues that will
need to be considered in the later introduction of infrastructure. Soils, water and
Further detailed consideration of these issues will be instrumental Heritage Flora and fauna
hydrology
in determining a preferred route for any future infrastructure project,
to ensure that environmental risk associated with any such project • World heritage sites • National parks • Registered
is minimised and to ensure that tailored mitigation measures contaminated sites
• Register of the • Conservation
are introduced. This more detailed investigative work would be national estate reserves • Hazardous facilities
essential to ensure that data in respect of environmental issues
• National parks • State forests • Landfill sites
surrounding any infrastructure project is complete and correct
• Commonwealth • Threatened • Acid sulphate soils
to form a robust basis for route development and importantly to
heritage species and
prevent issues arising once the project advances to the assessment communities
• Salinity
phase. • State heritage
• Ramsar sites
• Protected habitat
• Wetlands
Commencing efforts to reserve the corridor is preferable in • Wildlife corridors
• Flood plains
environmental terms because it:
58 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

Heritage: Heritage constraints require avoidance of areas of 6.2.1 Other considerations


national significance and areas with high cultural and Indigenous
heritage value that may occur within the potential corridors. Items Socio-economic: Generally, social and economic impacts
of heritage significance may be listed under local, state or federal associated with major linear infrastructure projects rarely occur in
legislation or may be currently unrecorded. Areas and items of only one spatial or temporal context. Rather, there is inevitably a
heritage significance can range from a spiritual connection to the variety of receptors which require assessment and management
land or area to physical buildings or relics. throughout the evaluation of route options. Social and economic
considerations should include:
In some instances it may not be possible to avoid heritage items.
In such cases appropriate mitigation measures would be required. • Minimising the severance of communities and avoiding changes
In China, the construction of the Zhengzhou–Xi’an railway project to access patterns.
involved the relocation of heritage sites where sites could not • Minimising significant social challenges by early identification of
be avoided. Elsewhere this approach has not been appropriate, the corridor and adoption of suitable policy measures to protect
although it was rejected as a possible means of addressing impacts land within the corridor from future development, providing
on heritage buildings as a result of the Channel Tunnel crossing in certainty for existing communities, and progressive acquisition
the UK. Relocation was considered to be too damaging to the fabric of property.
of a number of buildings, and instead measures to strengthen and • Minimising the length of the corridor that traverses areas of high
support the buildings to withstand the vibration impacts of the rail agricultural value.
project were introduced. • Minimising changes to industry, commerce and employment,
exploring potential employment and commercial benefits.
Flora and fauna: As with all major infrastructure projects it is • Minimising land use impacts and property acquisition and
important to consider the ecological values and potential impacts on adjustment.
flora and fauna within the study area. Particularly, the identification
of any critical habitat, threatened species, wildlife or ecological Effective community consultation will be an essential mechanism
communities, and/or their habitats as defined under relevant state in dealing with socio-economic issues arising from the introduction
and federal legislation. Specific issues are likely to include: of the corridor. Action now, in the form of property acquisition and
policy, to ensure the protection of the route would provide certainty
• Avoiding areas of national significance, world heritage listed and help to limit these social impacts in the future.
areas, national parks, state forests and ecological endangered
communities. Of course, many communities would potentially benefit from the
• Avoiding protected Wetlands, Ramsar Wetlands, Littoral increased access provided by a vastly improve transport link, such
Rainforest, Saltmarsh areas and other non-designated as high speed rail.
environmentally sensitive areas as justified by suitably qualified
ecologists. Utilities and infrastructure: Given the length of the corridor,
• Minimising disruption to terrestrial and aquatic fauna habitat, utilisation of existing utilities and infrastructure would reduce the
vegetation associations and habitat corridors that occur along cost and impact of the project. Key considerations would include:
potential linear infrastructure corridors.
• Utilising existing road, rail and utility corridors where possible.
Mitigation measures adopted in the UK to address impacts on • Reducing crossings over major roads and rail infrastructure and
threatened species associated with the development of the relocation of utilities.
Channel Tunnel rail link included a combination of displacement and
translocation. Water voles were displaced to adjacent habitat by Noise and vibration: Noise assessment is a critical social and
techniques such as spreading predator odour as well as vegetation environmental issue during the construction and operation of
management. Breeding boxes were used to move hazel dormouse linear infrastructure projects, most notably where these involve
from affected woodland to nearby undisturbed areas. Other species the introduction of transport infrastructure. The integration of
were translocated as a last resort measure. this assessment and noise mitigation into the design of different
options is an important part of the evaluation of these options.
Soils, water and hydrology: The avoidance of geologically and
hydrologically sensitive sites is important in protecting water quality Urban design, landscape and visual impacts: The corridor would
and the stability of the rail corridor. This can be achieved through: pass through a large number of urban environments, increasing the
potential for urban design challenges and visual impacts.
• Minimising the length of corridor that passes through flood
prone areas and crosses waterways. This could be achieved In the UK the use of tunnels is currently being explored as a means
through the use of aerial structures supported on piers. of minimising the visual impact on the proposed high-speed
• Avoiding corridors that traverse sensitive soil profiles, including rail link from London to the north of England on the Chilterns, a
alluvial, acid sulphate soils and highly erodible soils. recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A similar approach
• Avoiding steep slopes and excessively undulating topography has been adopted in the US in respect of the California high-speed
that would require significant earthworks and increase the risk of rail project. Track design incorporates a combination of tunnels and
erosion. aerial structures to minimise its overall footprint and impact.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 59

Effective community consultation will Soils, water and hydrology:

be an essential mechanism in dealing • Increased severity of risk of exposing acid sulphate soils or
with socio-economic issues arising spreading salt accumulation.
• Increase environmental, safety and health risks associated with
from the introduction of the corridor. water and land contamination and consequently incurrence of
remediation costs.
Action now, in the form of property • Potential to impact on flood prone areas and increase flood
acquisition and policy, to ensure hazard.
• Potential to impact on water quality used for potable water
the protection of the route would supplies.
provide certainty and help to limit Other issues:
these social impacts in the future.
• Displacement of homes.
• Visual impact associated with the introduction of new urban
In other areas, linear infrastructure projects have been used as an features.
opportunity to revitalise the urban landscape. The redevelopment • Severance of land holdings.
of St Pancras station in London in association with the introduction • Reputational damage of an area, e.g. world heritage site,
of infrastructure for the Channel Tunnel rail link, for example, had national park.
enormous regeneration benefits, resulting in investment to create a • Disruption to local businesses.
high quality townscape.
Specifically, introduction of the corridor along the identified route
Ecologically sustainable development: Consideration of the would need to address, but is not limited to, the following matters:
principles of ecologically sustainable development should be
included in the assessment of route options. This may include: • The route may traverse the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserve,
which is listed as a world heritage site.
• Sourcing of construction resources from local suppliers and • Numerous threatened species are identified within the vicinity
manufacturers. of the proposed route.
• Minimising the ecological footprint of the corridor. • The route may extend through several national parks, state
• Supporting local, regional and national economic growth. parks and nature reserves.
• Minimising waste and resource use. • The route would extend through areas of flood-prone land.
• Improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. • The route would travel through established urban communities
potentially resulting in issues of displacement and amenity
impact.
• Water supply catchments at Moss Vale would be need to be
6.3 Corridor characteristics monitored.
• The route would require river crossings at several points.
In general terms, the key factors to address with the Melbourne-
Brisbane linear infrastructure corridor are:

Heritage: 6.4 Environment risk management


• Avoiding destruction or damage of heritage sites/items. This review of the environmental constraints affecting the
• Avoiding visually scarring of the landscape. introduction of the corridor highlights its degree of exposure
to environmental risk and the need for long-term planning.
Flora and Fauna: Environmental matters are a potential risk to fulfilling project
commitments, gaining development consents, achieving
• Reduction in environmental quality of vegetation and habitat, in construction program and delivery of a project on time and to
particular national parks and state forests. budget. Archaeology and ecology in particular are two risk areas
• Fragmentation and severance of habitats. where unknowns and seasonal effects could have a significantly
• Cumulative impact on protected areas at a regional level. damaging impact on a project’s program. These issues are
• Impacts on endangered species and reduction in the ecological therefore important reasons to invest in appropriate levels of
value of habitat. environmental design and management planning in advance.
• Fragmentation and severance of habitats.
• Cumulative loss of biodiversity at a regional level. The project’s large scale and cross-state nature renders it highly
• Loss of aquatic habitats and infrastructure damage. visible and potentially contentious. Public expectation of effective
• Loss of landscape features. environmental management will be high and the project is likely to
• Creation of barriers to wildlife. be subject to significant scrutiny in this regard.
60 | High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors

In preserving a corridor for future infrastructure, the following design stage and appropriate strategies to deal sensitively with
environmental principles should be adopted: protected species and habitats.

• Avoid areas of high conservation significance such as An extensive phase of project planning, community and
national parks, RAMSAR wetlands and other areas with high stakeholder consultation and Environmental Impact Assessment
biodiversity values, both terrestrial and aquatic environments. would be required. This process would provide an opportunity to
• Avoid areas of high cultural heritage significance, Indigenous refine the alignment of an eventual route and develop suitable
and non-Indigenous. mitigation measures where necessary. Detailed design of
• Reduce the potential for noise and other adverse operational the route would provide an opportunity for consideration of
impacts on nearby communities. environmental limitations and targeted mitigation measures
• Avoid impacts on strategic land uses such as energy and would be proposed.
mineral deposits, forestry resources, and investment
intensive land uses. General mitigation measures may include:
• Optimise land take.
• Track realignment to avoid environmental constraints.
With reference to the key environmental issues of heritage, flora • Minimise crossings and or crossing lengths of protected
and fauna and soils, water and hydrology, the following sequence areas, wildlife corridors and rivers.
to the option selection should be adopted: • Detailed ecological and contamination assessments.
• Maximise use of existing transport and infrastructure
1. Avoid corridors.
2. Minimise • Community and stakeholder consultation.
3. Mitigate • Detailed environmental impact assessment.
4. Offset • Design out impacts through early consideration of access and
local traffic, flooding and acid sulphate soils.
In all cases the most appropriate means of mitigating impact is • Minimise overall land take through use of existing
avoidance, i.e. ensuring the corridor alignment is designed to infrastructure.
bypass these sensitive areas. Where avoidance is not possible,
options to minimise given the anticipated nature and scale of Specific mitigation measures would need to be developed at
the corridor, extending through four states and numerous local project level to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Examples of
government areas, some disturbance to nature conservation mitigation measures employed on linear infrastructure projects
areas is inevitable. Field surveys will be required at detailed elsewhere are shown in Table 14.

Table 14
Examples of mitigation measures

Key Issue

Heritage • Undertake a watching brief, close working between earthworks contractors and archaeologists.

• Contribution to conservation bank or natural management area.


• Relocation of sensitive species.
• Construction of wildlife underpasses, bridges and/or culverts.
Flora and fauna • Introduction of sound walls to limit affects of noise, vibration and light on fauna.
• Fencing to guide fauna towards crossings coupled with suitable habitat and topography for target species.
• Provision of compensatory habitat.
• Landscape restoration.

Other Issue

• Early acquisition of properties.


Urban communities • Extensive public engagement including consultation with NGOs, government agencies, general public, community and local interest
groups.

• Use of tunnelling to reduce extent of above ground works.


Visual impact • Minimise height of infrastructure.
• Programme of landscape restoration.

• Minimise land take by introducing steep side slopes to avoid impact on sensitive habitats.
Soils
• Reuse of surplus spoil from the project in appropriate areas.
High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors | 61

THE WAY FORWARD –


recommendations
This report has identified a realistic and pragmatic approach construct the first economically viable part of the east
toward establishing a shared high capacity infrastructure corridor coast network, to provide certainty to industry and the
for the east coast of Australia. Infrastructure Partnerships community that high speed rail is part of Australia’s future.
Australia and AECOM believe the time is ripe for a considered
debate on how Australia anticipates meeting the infrastructure 4 Reserve the corridor, and target capital expenditure
needs of a growing population in the time towards 2050. towards incremental improvement.
High speed rail has a role to play in Australia, although it may The plan set out in this report is to target capital
not be feasible for some time. However, recognising that it expenditure in ways that produce incremental benefits,
will be required to cater for future demand means there is an rather than deferring benefits until all capital has been
opportunity to act now to protect a corridor along which it can spent. In addition to improving the present value of
run, and ensure we do not preclude its future development. benefits, this approach will increase confidence in the
expenditure program. It will also enable the program
This report recommends embarking on six critical phases
to be modified in the light of experience and changing
towards planning, future-proofing and developing Australia’s
circumstances and technology.
infrastructure on the eastern seaboard to cater for both transport
and utility services: Acquiring the corridor will have substantial costs, however
not acquiring the corridor will be far more expensive in the
1 Undertake a detailed corridor profile and long term.
implementation study to identify and protect a high
capacity infrastructure corridor between the Sunshine 5 Spend when feasible in line with a long-term vision for
Coast and Melbourne, to future-proof Australia’s infrastructure corridors, integrated with other policies.
infrastructure capacity on the eastern seaboard.
Having a long-term vision to develop infrastructure corridors
 Protecting a high capacity infrastructure corridor between enables governments to tailor spending to suit fiscal
the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne will require concerted circumstances. For example, in times of budget surplus,
action by the Federal Government and a high level of governments could invest in straightening alignments.
cooperation with state and local governments. A key Conversely, should there be a case for government-funded
outcome of this process should be an improved process stimulus, then governments could spend on portions of
of infrastructure corridor planning which will facilitate a infrastructure.
nationally consistent approach to planning, assessment,
funding and implementing Australia’s infrastructure. In essence, the infrastructure plan for Australia’s east
coast is defined in principle in the Council of Australian
2 Ensure the corridor is suitable for high speed rail. Governments’ strategic planning criteria for capital cities,
agreed in December 2009.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and AECOM have
recognised that the east coast of Australia will, in all 6 Prepare an integrated infrastructure plan for Australia’s
likelihood, require a new high speed rail corridor over east coast.
the coming decades. We recommend the infrastructure
corridor be future-proofed to ensure its suitability for high Establishment of the COAG Cities Planning Taskforce, the
speed rail, that is, have very low curvature. It should also requirement for all states to have capital city plans by the
facilitate other utilities, including road, energy, data and beginning of 2012 and the national freight network and
communications, sharing the corridor. ports strategies being prepared for Infrastructure Australia
are a positive start for future national infrastructure planning.
3 Commit to a firm timeline for the procurement of the
The most advantageous process towards developing high
first economically feasible segment of a future network.
capacity infrastructure corridors is to link it with the planning
After undertaking corridor and economic analysis in progress under COAG and Infrastructure Australia. The
indicating that the project will deliver benefits, the Federal next step clearly is to mould those plans into a long-term
Government should commit to a timeline to procure and nation building infrastructure strategy.
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