Next Generation Specialist
Transport Planning and Engineering Consultants

How Movement and Place is changing transport planning in NSW


The Old - Predict and Provide

A transport assessment for a development or a town centre has typically been done by:

  1. Estimating how much extra traffic might occur in the peak hour.
  2. Working out whether any intersections could be badly affected by this additional traffic.
  3. If so, increasing the capacity of the road network to achieve the Level of Service criteria needed.

The result of this is that traffic then increases during the peak hour, eventually absorbing any new spare capacity of the network.

In New South Wales and across the developed world, by only focussing on vehicle movement, the ‘predict and provide’ approach and the Level of Service criteria required by main road agencies has destroyed the places that ever-widened roads run through. Cities around the world have had to constantly expand roads and intersections to cope with a peak hour that they could never cater for. This has led to the death of strip shopping centres and divided neighbourhoods, as the deafening traffic noise and choking fumes have all but made major roads uninhabitable.

The New - Vision and Validate

Published in 2007, the book Link and Place: A Guide to Street Planning and Design by Peter Jones, Natalya Boujenko, Stephen Marshall, set out a new way to think about the planning and design of the road network and places within cities. The authors provided guidance on how to plan areas as a whole, rather than just looking at links (movement corridors) and places individually.
This thinking has been applied successfully in a number of places around the world and with the publication of Sydney’s Future Transport 2056, made its first serious move into the NSW Government thinking.

Joining Forces

The successful implementation was only made possible when on 1 December 2019 the roads agency, Roads and Maritime Services, was formally absorbed into Transport for New South Wales. This has allowed Transport for New South Wales to take an integrated transport approach to planning corridors across the NSW Government.

A New Approach

Future Transport 2056 provided some initial guidance on Movement and Place and also referenced that a practitioner’s guide was going to be developed.
In March 2020, the practitioners guide to Movement and Place was published by the Government Architect’s office of NSW and in September 2020, PeopleTrans attended a webinar run by Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management Ltd (AITPM) where Ben Cebuliak, Acting Manager Movement and Place at Transport for NSW and Marc Lane, Principal of Integrated Frameworks with the Government Architect’s office of NSW (GANSW), explained the changes and how Movement and Place is to be applied in NSW. As noted on the GANSW website, the Guide is intended to be updated in 2021 following public consultation and then released for general use.

The main outcome of the process is that rather than formally classifying streets into movement streets and place streets and then providing the outcome to suit that classification (the predict and provide approach) the approach proposed is to first ask the community and local representatives what sort of street they want (vision), then take steps to implement it and then validate the outcomes.
This ‘vision’ step has been the critical step missing on projects where major arterial roads travel through town centres. North Sydney and the Sydney CBD are good examples where the visions outlined in the North Sydney Public Domain Strategy and the Sydney Strategy and Action Plan have not been realised. These are real cases where the Local Government has a vision for the local area, often very much place/people focussed, but because of the State Government’s predict and provide approach often dictated by road capacity many projects like these have stagnated.
Rather than predicting what the traffic will be in the future and then providing enough infrastructure to accommodate that, we welcome the new approach to formally recognise the fundamental relationship between movement and place. But more importantly, we welcome the commitment to working with all levels of Government and the local community and we see that as the potential major long term benefit for NSW.

The Movement and Place approach for transport projects should ensure outcomes-led planning is implemented at the earliest stages of projects and supported throughout. Movement and Place is key to developing successful places and ensuring that the right transport solutions are chosen to support urban areas across NSW. In theory, the Movement and Place approach demonstrates a whole of government commitment to a place-based approach to planning. Ultimately, it will come down to the people involved in the projects to work together in a cooperative spirit and if necessary, change their thinking to deliver the outcomes that are desired.

Places bring people alive!

PeopleTrans was founded in 2012 based on the how movement can facilitate great places for people to enjoy. We have been working on the initial application of the Movement and Place framework through the work that we have been doing for TfNSW with a focus on the corridors that feed the Epping Town Centre. We also regularly work with architects and landscape architects to apply the principles of Movement and Place at a more localised level.

We welcome the latest NSW Movement and Place guide and look forward to continuous improvement of the process when applied in practice, which is often where the challenges lie.

For more information about our Movement and Place capability, please contact Alan Stewart or Matthew Houlden in our Sydney office on 02 8226 8760.