Monday, August 12, 2019

The Department of Transport's new strategic plan


Called Simple, Connected Journeys, the Department of Fishing and Transport released its strategic plan today. It's quite short, comprising 19 pages. What, in government jargon, would be called a 'high level' document, i.e. not much detail. It's for four years; 2019 to 2023. 


What's in it? 


Here's a quick summary: 


Page 3: Secretary's introduction. Aim is to make journey's 'simpler, safer and more reliable' for everyone with mention of the growing transport task. Some of it is about their internal reorganisation but 'improving buses in growing suburbs' and 'making it easier to walk and cycle places' are cited as priorities. 


Pages 4 & 5: About the department, ministers, legislation, vision, outcomes and operators. 


Pages 7 & 8: Challenges, focus and priorities. Eg growth, managing the network through a period of construction, technology and making the right investments. Nothing here we didn't know before. 


Page 9: Safe and inclusive system. Better safety and reliability. Improved disabled accessibility. Improving access to network no matter where people live (i.e. a coverage goal).  Better boating and fishing. Why fishing when it's not transport? My unscientific theory is that it's a Labor political strategy to capture or at least neutralise the mostly outer suburban and regional outdoor recreation vote.  


Page 10: Kids waiting at a bus shelter. With skateboards, graffiti and scratched window (presumably to convey youth inclusion). Let's hope their bus route runs on Sundays! 


Page 11:  Design and plan a people focused system. Through building previously announced road and rail projects, putting people at the centre of things, gathering data and being smarter with transport modelling and planning. More specific measures include preparing for airport rail, better interchanges and information, transport studies in Hobsons Bay (already covered here - see Useful Network Part 5) and North Melbourne/West Melbourne/Docklands. More public transport services. Plus more fishing spots! 


Page 12: Optimise for sustainable and reliable travel. Gets off to a great start with the first point being to 'develop a turn up and go metropolitan transport network'. Second priority should have been comprehensive bus network reform (which supports the first). But instead it's simpler ways for people to plan and pay for their trips (a second order issue - people can't plan if the services don't exist and myki is at least 90% OK). 


There's a focus on new infrastructure on technologies to increase capacities. This is relevant for rail (eg new lines, track duplication and better signalling to allow closer train spacing) but ignores what we can do with using our existing bus fleet better. There's also a dubious claim about park & ride unclogging local streets (it might have the reverse impact around stations, which in turn affects other access modes to it). Later though there is mention of better bus services for growing communities. More bus services is also listed as an outcome, when a better aim would be to make buses more useful and effective, which can be measured by them moving more people.  Scrapping boat ramp parking fees and increasing fish stocks is another priority. 


Page 13: Deliver investments that unlock system wide benefits. Mainly about infrastructure, most notably the level crossing removal program, the North-East Link, Metro Rail tunnel and other projects. But there's also welcome frequency targets for trains.  Every 10 minutes for busy metro lines and 20 minutes during peak periods for regional centres. And a couple of rebuilt or redeveloped piers to fish from, too. 


Page 15: Innovation and engagement with industry and the community.  Selling the 'Big Build', creating jobs, encouraging rideshare and electric vehicles, recontracting regional buses, free phone charging points at city stations and more. 


Page 17: Empower our people to succeed. The internal management stuff. Eg staff retention, professional development, diversity, culture etc. 


Conclusion


There's no detailed plans or specific time-lines here. If you've been paying attention there's probably not much here that you didn't already know. But it's handy for it to be all in the one concise document. Oh, and happy fishing! 

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