Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).

Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).
Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).

Compared to comparably-sized cities in North America, Sydney does very well on Public Transport (Transit), with a pre-Covid 26% transit commute share. Compared to cities in Europe or Asia, it does poorly, indicating significant room for improvement. 

Much of that difference has to do with wealth and space. Despite the complaints,  Sydney is rich (money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does grow in rocks), so most families have cars. Sydney is also far less concentrated than cities in Europe or Asia, so distances are more amenable to the automobile and less to public transport, and the accessibility indicators show that.

Still, it’s clear more can be done.

There have been a forest of expired plans for public transport in Sydney. There are more plans still in the works. They almost entirely focus either on Trains (and especially Metros), or on specific lines that a particular party is pushing. But a detailed comprehensive look at the layer below the trains is missing.

I believe that removing rather than recapitalising most of Sydney’s Tram network was a mistake, and the evidence of Melbourne’s popular Tram service is as close to case-control comparison you can find in this field. Sydney has higher transit mode share than Melbourne, but that is because the Trains are so much better (higher frequency), not because people like the buses better than the Trams.

Still, that does not mean the trams should all be put back. First, Sydney cannot build everything on the historic maps, at least not all at once, even Chinese Metros have been built over phases. Even more significantly, you do not want to:

  1. It may have been overbuilt. Many historic tram lines were abandoned fairly early, indicating the proponents missed their mark.
  2. We have to prioritise. Some things are more important than others, or have a higher benefit/cost ratio. 
  3. Conditions have changed. The places where historic trams were built may not warrant tram service today because the land use has changed, and of course because people’s travel preferences have changed with the widespread introduction of the automobile, the broader train network, and telecommunications and other technologies. 

I have been thinking about a “blank slate” redo of Sydney surface public transport (buses and trams). This is something the Government could do in a decade if they applied themselves.

You can see a detailed version in Google Maps here. You will need to zoom out, as it centers on the Liverpool CBD (the geographic center of the region). As always feedback is welcome.

Extending the LRT System

The Figure below shows the Existing, Under Construction, and the Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal LRT Lines. 

Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Proposed LRT Lines, Existing LRT and BRT,  and Under Construction LRT.
Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Proposed LRT Lines, Existing LRT and BRT, and Under Construction LRT.

Design Principles

  1. History: The routes on the historic maps were reasonable starting points, they knew what they were doing and often reshaped the landscape to fit trams, and the human landscape reshaped to adapt to tram corridors. Trams added access.
  2. Comport: The new lines should comport with their environment and take almost no existing buildings, but instead use existing street space as much as possible, especially former tram lines, as well as former rights-of-way where appropriate. 
  3. Significance: We want to connect places that were significant 100 years ago because they are most likely to be significant 100 years from now, lines should follow historic RoW.
  4. Directness: Routes should proceed in a fairly direct (non-circuitous) routes between the origin and destination.
  5. Parsimony: We should have a few core lines with a maximum of one split (two branches) at either end. The branches can be numbered differently (L2 vs. L3), but they share a core. Spurs with high frequency can be used if branching becomes a problem.
  6. Complementarity: All lines should complement existing higher capacity public transport (Trains and Metro), not substitute for them. (Net riders on Trains and Metro should increase after the LRT opens)
  7. Terminals: Lines should start and end at key transfer points (e.g. a Train Station) or destinations (e.g. the Beach)
  8. Gap-filling: Lines should serve areas that are today underserved, even if it violates the above (e.g. Lane Cove)
  9. Rebalance Movement and Place: Motorway construction allows us to repurpose roads that presently have a conflict between Movement and Place function (Parramatta Road, King Street/Princes Highway, Military Road)
  10. Reconcentration: The collection of new lines (these plus that already committed) should serve all areas of the built up parts of Greater Sydney, and support infill (and brownfield) development rather than speculative greenfield development. 
  11. Exclusivity: The designs assume LRT to get high ride quality on exclusive tracks with lower operating costs. These are not classic trams that shared space with roads.
  12. Frequent: Most lines are served by single (articulated) car (L1), at a high frequency rather than fewer but longer trains (L2) at low frequency. 
  13. Electrical: Electric powered, electricity delivered by wire (more efficient than battery storage)

Proposed LRT Lines

The Proposed Lines are discussed below:

  1. L1sx: (Red) L1 Southern Extension: Central to Green Square and Mascot via Elizabeth and O’Riordan, Rationale: Serves existing high density areas and potential redevelopment sites. Elizabeth and O’Riordan are most feasible for Tram services due to Street widths among parallel routes and centrality. Provides capacity relief for T8 service, as well as serving areas in between the far-spaced stations. FAST Buses would serve parallel routes.  Extends L1 to maintain balance of flows (not split CBD frequencies too much on L2/L3, single car trams appropriate for this street running service. (~5.8 km)
  2. L2/L3liz: (Dark Blue) Elizabeth Street: Relocate the L2 and L3 on the eastern side of the Sydney CBD from George Street to Elizabeth Street (Phillip Street), and then circle around to George St. Rationale: Provides service to Eastern CBD via Tram (currently missing), allows George Street to serve L2 and L3 western extensions.
  3. L2ex: (Light Blue) Coogee Extension: Extends L2 from Randwick through The Spot to Coogee Beach. Rationale: Connect to a popular beach from the CBD without a transfer
  4. L2wx: (Light Blue) Broadway – Wolli:   This line takes over the George Street LRT (which meets (and through runs with) the Elizabeth Street LRT. At Central it proceeds west along Broadway, South along City Road, down King Street in Newtown, down Princes Highway, to Wolli Creek. Rationale: Provides high capacity services to part of University of Sydney (Camperdown) currently without rail service, Newtown. It has the potential to pedestrianise King Street in Newtown (like George Street in the CBD)  by terminating City Road at Carillon Avenue and terminating Prince’s Highway at Sydney Park Road, which should be now feasible in a post-WestConnex world.
  5. L3ex: (Dark Blue) Little Bay Extension: Extends L3 along Anzac Parade from Kingsford through Maroubra to Little Bay
  6. L3wx (Dark Blue) Broadway – Five Dock: The line splits with the L2wx line and runs along Parramatta Road to Norton Street in Leichhardt, and turns West at Marion, to proceed through Haberfield to Five Dock, where it terminates at a Metro Station.
  7. L4: (Green) Oxford Street/Victoria Road:  From West to East: West Ryde, via Top of the Ryde, Gladesville, Huntley’s Point, Drummoyne (assumes A40 tunnel under Drummoyne), Rozelle, sharing the existing L1 line (Alt: take two lanes from the Anzac Bridge), Museum, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Woollahra, Bondi Junction  to Bondi Beach
  8. L5: (Purple) North-South: Wynyard to Northbridge via Harbour Bridge, North Sydney, Cammeray to Northbridge. This project restores Tram service to Wynyard Station and the Harbour Bridge, providing local services to North Sydney, and enabling interchanges with regional Trains and Metro services.
  9. L6: (Purple) Wynyard to Lane Cove via Pacific Highway. Sharing track with the L5, it branches to provide local services on the dense Pacific Highway corridor and connecting with the historic regional center of Lane Cove, which is in an area underserved by rail.
  10. P1nx: (Orange) Castle Hill Extension: (Female Factory through Baulkham Hills to Castle Hill)
  11. P1ex: (Orange) Camellia Service (Rosehill – Camellia – Silverwater – Newington – Olympic Park)
  12. P2nx: (Orange) Epping Extension (Carlingford to Epping). Extends Parramatta LRT Phase 2

Creating a Rapid Bus Network

Sydney FAST 2030  Proposal: Rapid Bus Lines. 
Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Rapid Bus Lines. 

Buses have not received the attention they deserve. We could do much better with buses than we actually do, but elite projection (elites can imagine themselves riding trains but not buses) is hard to overcome, so buses are regarded as inferior to trains for reasons that mostly have to do with how we use buses in the system, rather than the technology itself.  [Recognising that the ride quality of buses on streets is not as high as trains on exclusive rights-of-way]. This vision for Rapid Buses is not T-Ways (on exclusive rights-of-way) everywhere, but more akin to the Arterial Bus Rapid Transit services that Metro Transit in Minnesota provides. (You can see a nice video about the service). In short, buses are the workhorse of the public transport system, and need more attention to make them as excellent as possible.

Principles

  • Gridded: We should design a Grid-like network, so that people can get to their destination with at most one-transfer. I don’t think this actually holds because of an inconvenient river. All of the proposed V-Lines stop south of the Parramatta River. Rail service north of the River is good, the B-Line already exists (which can be thought of as V-01), and the proposed LRT extension above are fairly comprehensive, so the areas north of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River get more H-Lines and no V-Lines. The existing Railroad rights-of-way present another barrier, as there are few surface street crossings of the lines, those are taken advantage of where possible, but wind up distorting the network from an idealised grid. (See Bambul’s post for a similar idea with a slightly different implementation or my earlier version focusing on Inner Sydney.)
  • Directness: We should minimise bus circuity for these routes (there can be other minor routes after these are fixed, I won’t bother with that here), so that travelers are not riding all over creation as the bus operator seeks a few extra passengers or to meet some arbitrary standard about distance to the nearest bus stop. 
  • Complementarity: Routes should complement not compete with existing Train, Metro, LRT, BRT routes. So even when there are bridges over the Parramatta River, they are already served by existing rail lines, so the principle of complementarity reduces the ability to provided continuous V-Line services from the south to the north, relying instead on transfers. This proposal assumes everything under construction and budgeted will be built (major Motorways, Metros, etc.)
  • Feasibility: The cost should relatively minimal (achieving High Return on Investment), so essentially no new roads, bridges, and so on, are built for the bus routes, and a minimum number for the proposed  LRT links.

The services are gridded, so they are divided into H-Lines and V-Lines. Specific lines are itemised below.

H-Lines

Shown in pale blue, East-West or Horizontal (“H”) Lines (always even numbers, major lines end in 0, lowest numbers in the North, highest in the South)

  • H10: Parramatta – Eastwood – Macquarie Park
  • H20: Chatswood – Cremorne – Mosman – Manley
  • H30: Crows Nest – Cremorne – Mosman – Taronga
  • H40: Guildford – Lidcombe – Olympic Park – North Strathfield – Concord – Canada Bay – Drummoyne – Birkenhead
  • H50: Bonnyrigg – Cabramatta- Yagoona – Chullora – South Strathfield – Enwood – Burwood Heights – Croydon – Haberfield
  • H60: Bankstown – Belfield – Ashfield – Leichhardt – Annandale – Glebe – Usyd – Redfern – Surry Hills – Moore Park – Waverly – Bronte
  • H64: Stanmore – University of Sydney – Redfern – North Waterloo
  • H68: St Peters – Randwick – Clovelly
  • H70: Liverpool – Canterbury – Dulwich Hill – Petersham – Enmore – Newtown – Alexandria – Green Square – Kensington (via Old Canterbury Road)
  • H80: Bardwell Park – Earlwood – Marrickville – Enmore – Newtown – Erskineville – Alexandria – Green Square – Kensington – Coogee
  • H90: Sydenham – Mascot – Rosebery – Eastlakes – Kingsford – South Coogee – Maroubra
  • H100: Revesby – Padstow Heights – Beverly Hills – Bexley – Arnclife – Kyeemagh – Botany – Pagewood – Eastgardens – Maroubra – Maroubra Beach

V-Lines

Shown in light purple, North-South or Vertical (“V”) Lines (always odd numbers, major lines end in 5, lowest numbers in the East, highest in the West)

  • V03: Bronte – Vaucluse – Watson’s Bay
  • V05: Rose Bay – Double Bay – Eastcliffe – Randwick – Maroubra
  • V11: Botany – Eastlakes – Rosebery – Zetland
  • V13: Potts Point – Zetland – Green Square – Mascot – Botany – Malabar
  • V15: Botany Road – Circular Quay – The Rocks – Barangaroo – Redfern – Green Square – Botany – Pagewood – Eastgardens – Maroubra
  • V21: St Peters – Waterloo Metro – Redfern
  • V23: White Bay – Annandale – Stanmore
  • V25: Balmain – Leichhardt – Petersham – Marrickville – Sydenham – Wolli Creek – Miranda
  • V29: Dulwich Hill LRT – Earlwood – Bardwell Park
  • V31: Summer Hill – Hurlstone Park
  • V35: Abbotsford – Five Dock – Croydon – Canterbury – Bardwell Park – Banksia
  • V41: Bexley – Rockdale – Brighton-Le-Sands – Kogorah
  • V45: Sans Souci – Carlton – Bexley North – Cabarita
  • V47: Mortlake Spur 
  • V55: Ramsgate – Allawah – Bexley – Kingsgrove – Belmore – Strathfield
  • V65: Carrs Park – Hurstville – Beverly Hills – Wiley Park – Flemington
  • V67: Penshurst – Lakemba – Greenacre – Chollura – Lidcombe – Olympic Park
  • V71: Mortdale – Riverwood – Punchbowl
  • V73: Padstow – Bankstown – Yagoona – Regent’s Park – Auburn
  • V75: Rose Hill – Sefton – Revesby
  • V85: Parramatta – Merrylands – Chester Hill to Panania
  • V95: East Hills – Villawood – Fairfield – Westmead

Physical geography is always a factor. Because of the width of Sydney compared to the height, there are more V-Lines than H-Lines. Also, based on the principle of non-redundancy, more vertical bus routes are provided, as there are more existing and under construction horizontal train lines.

Note this service stops in Liverpool, as the areas west are not developed yet. We have ideas about that, and I am currently doing work in the area, so will abstain.

If any of these H- or V-Lines are successful, they can of course be upgraded, and as the physical rail network changes, one expects these lines will evolve as well, taking advantage of the flexibility offered by buses. I have not conducted a formal accessibility analysis of this FAST network proposal, but if you are interested in funding something, find me.

This vision is essential if public and active transport are to be the preferred choice for most Sydneysiders, which is critical for achieving the environmental goals of eliminating CO2 emissions.

Open Traffic

Open Traffic is a new initiative to make GPS traffic data open and available to the public and others, by linking it with OpenStreetMap. It is organized by Conveyal, MapBox, and MapZen with support from the World Bank. The Code is of course open source as well.

OpenTraffic is a free, global traffic speed data set linked to OpenStreetMap built with open source software.

Traffic speed data is a critical input to many transportation related applications. Fortunately many users who need speed data also produce the inputs necessary to create annonmyized traffic statistics.

OpenTraffic provides the space and tools to share traffic statistics from connected vehicles and mobile services. We support the development of analysis and routing tools that enable cities, businesses, and individuals to make use of this data.

How it Works

OpenTraffic connects anyone with real-time or archived GPS location data to processing technology, data storage, and routing and analysis applications.

Location data privacy is paramount. We allow contributors to share anonymized traffic speed statistcs from derived GPS data without disclosing individuals’ location information. In return, data contributors help build a global traffic speed data set that can be used in routing and analysis applications.

The OpenTraffic platform is comprised of several components to make it easy to share and use traffic data:

GPS Probes

GPS probe data can be generated from a variety of sources, including mobile applications or fixed GPS hardware. GPS data can be processed in real-time or archived and transmitted for batch analysis. The OpenTraffic platform has a variety of open source tools to help you load your GPS data from existing sources or connect to Amazon AWS Kinesis streams to manage real-time flows of any size.

Traffic Engine

GPS data is linked to the OpenStreetMap network via Traffic Engine. Data is converted from GPS locations to roadway speed observations and anonymized before being aggregated. As open source software, you control where Traffic Engine is deployed, allowing full control over GPS trace data. Simply install Traffic Engine and load your GPS data to start generating traffic data.

Data Pool

Once anonymized, traffic statistics are added to the global OpenTraffic data pool. By pooling data many different data sources are merged together to provide a seamless global data set, free for use by any application.

Get Involved

We are working with vehicle fleet operators, app developers, and governments to develop and operate the OpenTraffic platform. Learn how you can contribute and benefit: Contact Us

Simulating Cities with OpenStreetMap and OpenTripPlanner Analyst


From State of the Map 2014, a Video by Kevin Webb of Conveyal

In this session I will discuss transport accessibility modeling using OpenStreetMap and OpenTripPlanner Analyst.

Accessibility analysis techniques are one of a suite of tools used by transport planners to understand the efficiency of a city authority’s transportation system, and to inform decision-making about transport service planning.

The goal of the OTPA project is to produce quantitative indicators that inform debate and decision-making processes by revealing hidden dimensions of the relationship between transportation and land use.

We are using and extending OTP as part of the Accessibility Observatory.

Racial Dot Map

Cross-posted at streets.mn: Racial Dot Map . Every person is a dot.

Racial Dot Map

 

The Racial Dot Map shows at the level of one dot per person the racial makeup of every census block in the US. This map was created by Dustin Cable of the Cooper Center.  Below is a zoom on Minneapolis.

Cable writes:

“While Minneapolis and St. Paul may appear purple and racially integrated when zoomed out at the state level, a closer look reveals a greater degree of segregation between different neighborhoods in both cities. While some areas remain relatively integrated, there are clear delineations between Asian, black, and white neighborhoods.”

 

 

Dustin Cable's Racial Dot Map

Twittering Twin Citizens | streets.mn

Cross-posted from streets.mn: Twittering Twin Citizens

Twittering Twin Citizens

A map of where Twin Citizens use Twitter to tweet by mobile telephone. Lots of amateur sociology can make hay of the red/green split. Click on the image for the interactive map.

Twitter Use by Mobile Phone platform, for Twin Cities region

Time Evolution of Twin Cities

Google Earth Engine lets you see the evolution of Landsat photos.
We did this for the Twin Cities. Go here:
Timelapse of Minneapolis – Saint Paul
Andrew notes:

I think the most amazing thing is seeing the path of the Minneapolis tornado appear in 2011

TwinCitiesTimeLapse
Cross-posted at Streets.MN

Forcing a round object into a square map

The earth is approximately a sphere, yet we try to force this round object into a square grid through the use of latitude and longitude and Ordinance Surveys. Why?
The rationale for use of grids depends on scale. We have naturally come to think of the earth rotating on an axis with a prime meridian reflecting that access on the surface, intersecting the axis at the north and south poles, complemented by an equator belting it. The equator has a natural physical meaning, but the prime meridian is arbitrary. Greenwich, England is no more the start of time than any other place. But longitude, if not latitude is arbitrary. The idea of longitude lines running north-south does have convenience in that it tends to align with the magnetic poles, and benefitting navigation.

SoccerBall

Geodesic domes, developed by Buckminster Fuller (who did not invent soccer, but whose name was given to the Fullerene) enclose spherical areas with a mesh of triangles, forming many hexagons and 12 pentagons.
We could remap the earth using geodesic principles. Fuller did this with his Dymaxion Map. The triangular cut marks do not align with latitude and longitude. However, one should be able to align the triangles with either latitude (the equator) or longitude (a prime meridian), though that might cut land masses, which dilutes the political point Fuller was trying to make.

Fullerene
DymaxionMap2
There are many ways to skin the earth, and stretch it out like a tanner stretches leather. The way we present this 3D object in 2D affects how we perceive it. We expect (in western countries) north to be up, and are disoriented when maps are presented otherwise. Yet we don’t expect our environment to clue us in very often, we don’t typically see compass marks in the pavement to show us which direction is north, to help us reorient (meaning turn to the east, oddly we never reoccident and turn to the west).
The map is the user interface to the environment, and we need to give it more consideration. We should also better embed navigation clues into our environment. Some cities post wayfinding systems around, especially near transit stops. Even (especially?) in the age of the almost ubiquitous smart phone, this still seems wise, so people can keep their eyes looking ahead, focused on the real environment, rather than face down in a phone, or staring into an imaginary distance with glasses.

Going Underground

Figure_c8-f3a
Prior to the advent of the steam railway, London was a metropolis of just over 1 million people. It was well Figure_c8-f3bFigure_c8-f3cFigure_c8-f3dserved by both canals and turnpikes connecting to other parts of Great Britain. Internally, there were omnibus services. The London & Greenwich Railway was the first of many railways to reach London, with the first section opening in 1836 and being completed in 1838, making it possible to reach Greenwich in twelve minutes instead of the hour required by horse-drawn omnibus or steamboat. Famously built on a viaduct, the route was initially paralleled by a tree-lined boulevard that operated as a toll road, serving those unwilling to pay rail fares. However, the toll road was disbanded when the viaduct was widened to enable more frequent services to the densely populated urban core, ultimately growing from two tracks to eleven.
Soon many other railways sought to connect to London. To avoid disruption in the core, a Royal Commission on Railway Termini, appointed in 1846, drew a box around central London and decreed no line shall enter the cordon. [This box resembles the congestion charging zone adopted in the early 21st century, which aimed to reduce cars, rather than prohibit trains]. The result was railway terminals locating on the edges of the central region. London, like many cities, has no unified railway station, as the North, South, East, and West lines have no common intersection. The problem is worse though in London, as even lines from the north run by different organizations would be build adjacent (St. Pancras/ Kings Cross), or nearly adjacent (Euston), stations without convenient interchange. Later (between 1858-60) some penetrations of the box were permitted by Parliament, but most of the City of London (the original walled city where the financial district still lies) remained untouched. While preventing railways from severing the most densely populated part of the city, which would have been expensive for both the railways and the city, it created a need for a connection between the termini to allow transfers. The Metropolitan Railway, a private concern like all railways of the era but with some support from the Corporation of the City of London, was approved by Parliament in 1854. It aimed to connect the northern termini (Paddington, Euston, St. Pancras, King’s Cross, and Farringdon, which was later added to the plan) to ease movement for through travelers.
The trends in the City of London were quite different from the rest of London. The City of London has seen a long trend of depopulation from 1851 (prior to the first Underground line) and for many years saw increasing employment, lending support to the notion that the railways, especially the Underground, enabled decentralization of residences and concentration of employment.
The Metropolitan Railway opened in January 1863, and was extremely successful. Clearly the market was much larger than inter-line transfers. The firm paid dividends throughout its life. Accounting in the early years of the Metropolitan Railway, especially prior to the Regulation of Railways Act of 1868, was a bit dodgy, and dividends were reportedly paid out of capital. To quote Jackson (1986) p. 38, describing the era of 1865, “It was . . . a house of cards, a precarious game in which the level of dividend was kept up at all costs, by finding money from somewhere, with no regard to sound accounting or financial rectitude.”. Emulation is the proof of success. Many new railway lines were proposed, the 219 London-area railway bills brought before Parliament during the period 1860-1869 totaled 1420 km (882 miles).
Some of those lines were proposed prior to the opening of the Metropolitan, indicating the smell of success was in the air, though the peak years were between 1863 and 1866, following closely on the heels of the Metropolitan’s opening. The most important of these was the Metropolitan District Railway (later called the District line), which ran just north of the River Thames, but south of the Metropolitan, connecting a number of the southern railway termini (Victoria, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street). Proposals for what became the Circle Line service linking the Metropolitan and District (roughly inscribing the box described above) were quickly proposed, but the two lines were not connected on both ends until 1884. Both the Metropolitan and District lines were constructed using cut and cover techniques. Later lines, from the City and South London Railway (first section opened in 1890) onwards, generally used deep-level tunneling techniques to avoid disruption of city streets, existing railway lines, and public utilities when they needed to be below grade. Outside the Circle Line however, the railways could emerge above ground and competed fiercely in some markets, while operating unfettered in others, to provide suburban services. In some cases this involved building new lines, in others it involved acquiring running rights on (or ownership of) existing lines. The development of suburbs was a way to develop traffic for lines that in the city, though profitable, were operating below maximum capacity, and thus maximum profitability.
Adapted from

Also see:

Comprehensive LRT System Plan for Hennepin County

LRTMap

From the archives, we see that proposals for LRT in Hennepin County are not new, This 1988 document (PDF) has maps of the  Comprehensive LRT System Plan for Hennepin County

. The debate about the location of the Southwest and Northwest corridors as they approach downtown remains alive. [This mostly about whether to speed the commute of suburbanites or serve the needs of local Minneapolis residents.] The South corridor has become Freeway BRT. The priorities of which gets done first and second have changed, but the main part of the corridors are unchanged. Of course only a the Hiawatha line was done within the 20 year life of the plan. Some more discussion at City Pages.
I am still looking for a digital version of 1970s “Regional Fixed Guideway Study” proposing a 37 mile transit system for Twin Cities. Anyone have scan/map?
(Other cool documents here). Also AJ Froggie’s site.