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A blueprint for Melbourne’s public transport future

Public transport is not keeping pace with Melbourne’s rapid population growth. New suburbs emerge without adequate train and bus services, more and more motor vehicles clog the roads, train and tram passengers become frustrated at extended travel times and crowding while tired airport arrivals cannot get fast transfers to their destinations.

Public transport is not keeping pace with Melbourne’s rapid population growth.

Public transport is not keeping pace with Melbourne’s rapid population growth.Credit:Simon Schluter

The Rail Futures Institute has produced a comprehensive plan for developing Melbourne’s public transport to meet its expected population of more than eight million people by 2050. Called Melbourne Rail Plan 2020-2050, it provides detailed proposals covering trains, trams, medium-density transit (light rail, super buses, new technologies) and also promotes cycling and walking.

We are an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organisation comprising engineering, economic, town planning and rail operation experts dedicated to improving our public transport systems and rail freight. We receive no government or corporate financing. The plan follows our earlier InterCity report, on the need for improved regional rail connections, launched by the late Tim Fischer in September 2016.

To meet these challenges, we propose changing the radial design of Melbourne’s public transport into a connected grid pattern that will provide an attractive alternative to the car for a variety of travel options, especially for cross-town journeys. This transformation, while costly, can be undertaken progressively over 30 years by building on the existing infrastructure within financial constraints.

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