Passenger Rail

ARA urges integrated approach in Canberra

Canberra light rail. Graphic: ACT Government

An integrated approach to transport is the most sensible way to guarantee an efficient, affordable and environmentally sustainable transport network, Australasian Railway Association chief executive Danny Broad has urged Canberrans.

With the first sod recently turned on Stage 1 of Canberra’s new Light Rail line, Broad took the opportunity to point out that the nation’s capital has one of the lowest of public transport usage in Australia.

But with some smart planning towards an integrated system, the ARA boss says, the city could have a “world-class” transport system.

“This kind of modern solution to urban transport challenges is already being embraced by cities around the world,” Broad said on August 16.

“The transport solutions for a city of 300,000 people are vastly different to those needed for Canberra’s projected 2035 population of 550,000.

“Buses alone are not the solution, soon enough they would simply result in congested roads.”

Light rail faces significant opposition in Canberra, with the ACT Liberals the loudest critics ahead of a territory election in October.

But Broad says the time for debate is in the past, and with the project now underway, he says Canberrans need to get behind an integrated approach which includes light rail.

“The debate over light rail versus bus is over,” he said. “Canberrans need a light rail system integrated with a bus network. A long-term integrated transport approach is required for our growing city.

“It is clear governments can no longer build their way out of road congestion by increasing road capacity even where suitable corridors exist.

“The induced demand for transport means new road capacity is quickly used and roads rapidly become
congested. This is why cities around the globe are investing in alternative forms of mass transport.

“Light Rail represents a way to break this downward cycle of spending on more and bigger roads. Reallocating existing road space to light rail will carry more people per lane, per hour than private cars or the existing bus system can do.”