Presentations text content in Planning Canberra’s Light Rail
Planning Canberra’s Light Rail
Understand your objectives
Define the problem (if there is one)
Understand the cause
Can we fix the cause? If not can we fix the Symptom?
Derive all options for the fix
Option design and feasibility testing
Economic and financial testingSlide3
People choose to live in urban areas so that they can enjoy proximity to employment,
ducation, health services, shopping, sporting and entertainment facilities and community functions.
The frequency with which they travel is an indicator of their participation and enjoyment and the social & economic “health” of the city.
The transport planners objective is to help them travel and thus participate at minimum travel cost.Slide4
The Urban Plan
Canberra is planned as an
” with an Hierarchy to provide easy access to frequently visited destinations and greater variety further away.
have IGA or Coles or Woolworths, a Post Office, Baker, Church and a Restaurant.
have several convenience stores (Coles, Woolworths and ALDI), Banks, Travel Agent and some speciality stores.
have comparative stores (Myers and David Jones), theatres and all the above.
Central Business District
has Government and Head Office Employment with all the above.Slide5
Urban Planning Influence on Travel
There is ample concrete evidence that this hierarchy, which closely integrates travel destinations with residential areas, reduces travel costs and increases urban participation.
The problem is that Gungahlin has the least proportion of jobs to population of all districts in Canberra and it is planned to get worse.
This generates excess costly travel out of Gungahlin.Slide6
The Planning Problem
DistrictEmployment/Population Ratio201120162021Gungahlin26.1%19.8%20.2%Belconnen29.8%30.3%30.9%North Canberra145.6%149.2%147.5%South Canberra191.6%187.8%176.8%Woden49.3%50.8%51.8%Tuggeranong21.0%23.2%24.5%Molonglo16.0%23.6%All Canberra57.1%56.6%56.1%
Future Change in Regional Employment/Population RatiosSource: TaMS
The same is true of Regional Retailing and Education /Population Ratios despite the younger population in Gungahlin
The real problem is in Land-use PlanningSlide7
The Stated Problem
It is stated that the main arterials roads from Gungahlin are heavily congested in the peak hours.
All queues at the two busiest intersections on Northbourne Avenue clear every cycle (except right turns) which is an acceptable Level-of-Service.
Drive has greater delays.Slide8
Why is there a land-use problem?
Probably the greatest single factor is the rapid unplanned growth of employment and retailing at the Airport. The ACT Government cannot control this or match the incentives – free land.
Gradual loss of impetus in professional planning probably due to lack of understanding and emphasis on basic planning principles (embedded in the Y plan) in favor of short-term political needs.Slide9
to reduce travel or increase costs
This contradicts basic planning principles.
Adjust the future land-use
This presents a series of problems of its own.
Governments have limited control to implement planning decisions; and
Short-term financial issues tend to overshadow effective investment policies. It is easier to sell developable land than attract employment industry, which costs incentives.
Increase transport system capacity
Adjust the future land-use planning
districts most in need of
employment and other planning reinforcement
are Gungahlin, Molonglo and
The districts most in need of population are
North and South
Governments can raise money by building and selling shopping
Adding more high-rise residential to Northbourne Avenue will increase congestion.Slide11
Increase transport system capacity
Increase ACTION capacity and operations;
Improve road capacity;
Introduce Light Rail; or
Investigate other Mode options.Slide12
Increase ACTION capacity
ACTION’s capacity can be improved by more frequent services but this is costly.
CriterionACTION BusCarPassengers per Vehicle9.7741.236Expenditure per Passenger-Km$0.395$0.316Fuel per Passenger-Km (Litres)0.1950.081
Buses in Canberra cost more than cars on an all-day basis and use more fuel per passenger-Km so t
he justification for subsidizing bus travel is based on social not on efficiency or environmental issues.
It is questionable whether added services are useful but improving existing services is a preferred priority.Slide13
Increase ACTION capacity
ACTION services can be improved by the provision of exclusive lanes on Canberra’s streets, which can be implemented in several ways as follows:-
Providing exclusive lanes
for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles, particularly at intersections; or
Limiting existing lanes for buses and
High Occupancy Vehicles
These can be implemented either by:
Changing existing lanes by line marking and signs, or
Road or intersection widening.
These measures reduce time and help reliabilitySlide14
Increase road capacity
Part of Flemington Road needs to be completed to 4 lanes.Northbourne Avenue intersections can be improved at relatively little cost.There are many other areas in Canberra where road or intersection improvements could improve bus services.They improve car travel as well.Slide15
Introduce Light Rail
Light rail services carry more people than buses if the demand is present and use electric power rather than fossil fuels. We do not yet know the source of this electric power in Canberra.If implemented in their own right-of-way they are less influenced by street congestion than buses but still need to stop at intersections.They cost more to operate than buses.Slide16
Investigate other Mode options
Elevated modes do not have to stop at intersections and are therefore faster but stop less frequently and require bigger stations which usually develop as commercial opportunities and can be used to pay for the service and to reinforce planning objectives.Track costs are comparable with Light Rail but do not need land resumption or service relocation.They are usually quieter than Light Rail and much safer.Slide17
Preliminary alignment & service relocation
Preliminary environmental check
(Above depends on mode selection as an Elevated
mode avoids service
relocation but possibly higher track and station cost)
requirements and other impacts using
As any first transit line is unlikely to be viable economically, but further line additions add to its viability, it is necessary to establish how large a network needs to be to be viable if at all.
Testing needs to build up this minimum network stage by stage and then establish which stage should come first to optimize the outcome.
The travel simulation model consists of:a suite of software, that controls operations of the model and performs calculations;a network database, describing the road and public transport infrastructure and its characteristics;land-use files, containing forecasts of travel-related land use variables; and,a set of files describing the travel characteristics of Canberra residents obtained from household interviewsSlide20
– this needs to be well over 1.0 and usually needs to be about 2.5 to be funded.
Net Present Value
– is the net value of the project discounted over 30 years (usually).
Internal Rate of Return
– This is the investment yield rate of the project. It should be well over 5% and nearer 12% to 15%.Slide21
Economic feasibility testing
Detailed results for the Gungahlin line
Track & Station
Net Present Value @ 5%
Include Induced development?
Most economists will not accept induced land-use development as a benefit.
Avenue redevelopment should not be attributed to Light Rail.
Property price effects do occur but they are small.
However, there is research which shows a probable causal relationship between access and density not just a tautology.Slide23
Economic feasibility testing
Economic result of each line
Transit LineBenefit to Cost Ratio @ 5%Gungahlin-City0.57Belconnen-City0.85Woden-City0.47Tuggeranong-City0.26Airport-City0.38Queanbeyan-City0.45National Triangle Loop0.27All lines1.85
Road improvement projects in Canberra usually have a Benefit/Cost Ratio of at least 2.5 and this is an investment cut-off level required by most Road Authorities.
This allows for risk and that many of the benefits are intangibles.Slide24
Testing various staging options
All lines combined
Transit LinesDiscount Rate5%1Belconnen-City0.852City-Airport0.903City-Tuggeranong1.644Gungahlin-City1.755City-Loop-Queanbeyan1.85
The optimal staging sequenceSlide26
Effect of Improved land-use
Effect on travel
CriteriaYear2021Trip Participation rate0.36%Mode Split0.69%Highway trip cost-6.20%Transit trip cost-5.53%Road accident costs-0.32%
Effect on economic results
No Land-use Change
With Land-use Change
Results for the Elevated mode
Effect on network peak patronage
Effect on economic result
National Triangle Loop
Sensitivity & Risk assessment
Sensitivity TestInternal Rate of ReturnSurfaceElevatedNo Change14.5%23.2%20% increase in Track/Station Costs11.8%18.9%20% increase in Vehicle Costs14.3%23.0%Double Operating Costs13.5%22.3%Half savings in ACTION Op Cost14.4%23.1%Half savings in ACTION fleet13.0%22.1%Half improved Mode Choice14.2%22.3%No Land-use Change13.6%19.8%20% Increase in MTS fares13.8%17.7%
Probable Risk-adapted IRR
Probable Maximum Range
7.7% to 13.3%
12.4% to 21.6%Slide29
The financial evaluation differs from the economic evaluation in that the latter concerns the national economy as a whole, not the individual affairs of a particular
identity, in this case the ACT Government.
he ACT Government will borrow all funds needed to provide the
stations and rolling stock
repay the loan funds over 15 years.
analysis is for a period of 30
The financial analysis shows that the project is not viable on these assumptions at current fare levels returning an Internal Rate of Return of -4.41%.
The ACT Government would need to contribute 39% of the Capital costs, or $156
millions each year,
from annual revenue
A higher fare
sufficiently reduced the patronage and
revenue and the savings from the ACTION system, that the financial result was
with an Internal Rate of Return of
Financial assessment - Elevated
With an elevated mode t
he result was improved with an IRR of -0.18%
but the ACT Government would still need to contribute 16% of the Capital costs, or $64 millions, from annual revenue.
The higher fare test produced an IRR of -1.46%.
With a risk-sharing PPP arrangement, and the private partner expecting a return of 9% on capital invested,
ACT Government would have to contribute 48% of the capital from revenue or $192 millions from annual revenue (and 28% from loan funds) to achieve an IRR of 0.02%.Slide32
The land-use system is the problem but is hard to fix.
The transport system is adequate - not the problem.
There has been inadequate planning so far leading to the Gungahlin Light Rail project.
A mass transit system for Canberra can be economically viable eventually.
Gungahlin is not the right place to start.
Light Rail is not the best mode.
Further development must take place before a Mass Transport System can be financially viable and attractive for a PPP partner to invest.Slide33Slide34Slide35Slide36Slide37Slide38