Next Generation Specialist
Transport Planning and Engineering Consultants

Project Update: How we are helping to Ease Sydney’s Congestion

sydney traffic eastern distributor


In June 2011, the Minister for Roads and Ports announced that a review of the current clearways and parking restrictions was to be undertaken with a view of developing a new Clearways Strategy for Sydney. The aim of this was to ultimately improve the efficiency and reliability of the State Road network.

This clearways strategy was also to form part of a larger group of initiatives strategically targeting congestion in and around the Sydney metro area. In December 2013, the Minister for Roads and Ports officially released the Sydney Clearways Strategy, Keeping Sydney Moving.

The Strategy identified that congestion costs Sydney residents an estimated $5.1 billion per year. It also set out a method for identifying potential weekday and weekend clearways, a process for engaging with local stakeholders and a process around supporting funding for providing alternative parking to minimise impacts on local businesses and residents.

To manage the response, the NSW Government set up the Easing Sydney’s Congestion program within Roads and Maritime Services.

Since 2014 PeopleTrans has been working closely with the Easing Sydney’s Congestion program team and in that time has worked to provide independent advice on a significant number of projects. We have provided traffic engineering and transport planning advice along entire corridors which often included busy town centre environments. This advice was informed by detailed parking, travel time, traffic volume and GIS studies.

The most visible work that the Easing Sydney’s Congestion team has completed, mainly through its bright orange signs, is in reviewing and installing clearways across a large majority of its network which had largely remained unchanged since the 1970s.

The clearway routes installed or under development since December 2013 are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Clearways Installed Since December 2013 and Under Development

sydney clearways strategy

Source: NSW Government – Last Accessed 5/4/19

Transport Corridor and Pinch Point Experts

PeopleTrans has completed detailed corridor analysis on the large majority of the corridors shown in Figure 1 giving us an incredible understanding across almost the entire Sydney arterial road network, over 500km!

Over the past 5 years, we have also researched and developed new ways to complete large-scale parking and travel time surveys and developed new metrics to apply to corridors to determine, at a strategic level, where there are likely to be problems. We have also developed new reliability criteria to apply to the State Road network to assist in quantifying travel time reliability. The application of these metrics could also be used to prioritise the investigation of new corridors or locations based on a range of criteria.

Our experience has covered corridors with small town centres, large town centres, residential areas, small strip shopping areas, industrial, commercial, recreational areas and everything in between.
Cities are living organisms and traffic patterns are constantly changing in response to new technology, population growth, special events, weather and the distribution of dwellings and jobs. Often parking and traffic issues are very emotional and without quality data, decisions have the risk of being influenced for political or personal reasons.

Our extensive data analysis and reporting on transport corridors over the past 5-years has given us an extensive catalogue of experience on which to draw for future similar projects.
Our experience has shown that the best outcomes result from using an evidence based approach where analysis is shared with the community during the consultation process so that they are able to understand why these decisions have been made and the benefits that would be achieved on a wider scale.

We look forward to sharing our experiences further as part of the easing Sydney’s congestion program and similar programs across Australia.

PeopleTrans is a transport planning and traffic engineering consultancy with offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. For more information for how we can help your city better manage its transport corridors, please contact Alan Stewart or Matthew Houlden in our Sydney office on +61 2 8226 8760.