Connecting SEQ 2031 – Transport Plan

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The Queensland Government has officially released the Connecting SEQ 2031 transport vision. The plan (download here) aims to double South East Queensland’s public transport usage to 15 million trips per day.

SEQ’s current transport usage is sitting at 7%. Shown in the new Connecting SEQ 2031 video above, the ‘Rail Revolution’ involves the construction of a range of new heavy rail lines, including signature projects listed below:

Signature projects – rail revolution

  • Rail network optimisation – A package of initiatives to enhance the capacity and safety of the rail network.
  • Cross River Rail (planning near completion) – A new north–south rail line and stations in inner city Brisbane.
  • Rail network sectorisation – A major revamp of how services operate on the region’s rail network.
  • Gold Coast light rail – Light rail from Helensvale to Coolangatta.
  • Brisbane subway – A high capacity, high frequency distributor system connecting central Brisbane.
  • North-west rail line – A new rail line from Cross River Rail to join the North Coast Line at Strathpine.

Connecting SEQ 2031 outlines the plan for a ‘rail revolution’; a complete overhaul of the rail system to provide a modern, high capacity network that will mean, for most passengers, rail transport will be quicker and more reliable than driving a car.

Although it may be a while away, the idea of a new Brisbane subway is included in the plan. The plan states the following in relation to a Brisbane Subway System:

“With an extra 100 000 people forecast to live in inner Brisbane (CBD, Spring Hill, Milton, South Brisbane and Fortitude Valley) and employment numbers doubling by 2031, there will be about 2.4 million trips a day in the inner city (up from one million in 2006). To help distribute these trips across the vibrant inner city core, an entirely new and separate Brisbane subway is proposed. The London Underground and New York city subway are well-known examples of this style of rail operation”.

This is SEQ’s first ever major blueprint plan which puts mass transit first, and cars second. A large step in the right direction for the future of this region. Below is a video of the proposed new $475 million Springfield line which will commence construction mid next year and is to be completed in 2013, two years ahead of schedule. The line will include two new stations ‘Springfield Central’ and ‘Springfield’.


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  • From a Brisbane perspective, watching the video and skimming the plan, it sounds like we have given up on the Busways and are still in denial on their effectiveness and light rail possibilities for Brisbane. The ‘subway’ is a nice idea, but remains a pretty sketchy and I have to question creating a new separate form of transport with a limited network.
    It looks like it is great if you live in outer Brisbane or on the Coasts and want to commute between major centers and Airports, but for those in inner Brisbane: buses, buses and more buses.
    Unless we start getting the inner Brisbane transport right, and with buses already clogging the CBD / Valley streets and the Busways at peak times, I don’t see how a “Rail Revolution”, that excludes light rail in Brisbane, is going to transform public transport use or effectiveness in Brisbane.
    Here’s looking to the next plan already.

  • look at curitiba, freiburg, amsterdam, copenhagen, portland, london, vancouver etc.
    get rid of cars cars cars. less roads please.

    clearly more roads=more cars, and yet we build these tunnels and road links..??

    active transport (walk bike etc) is the way to go! with an integrated mixed system of buses, light rail, ferries, trains!

  • I don’t really think it is fair to compare Brisbane, a relatively new city, with cities such as Freiburg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London etc. These cities were developed hundreds of years ago and obviously cars were not much of a consideration.
    I believe that most people would agree that it would be ideal to reduce motor vehicle traffic. However, I don’t think that it is very pragmatic especially given Brisbane’s population growth and Australia’s vast distances which make cars a necessity. This is another challenge that sets Brisbane apart from the aforementioned cities.
    I am a vehement opponent of the government’s obsession with trying to build as many foot bridges as is humanly possible. I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that the stretch of river between Southbank and the city now has five bridges, and there are three more currently proposed. The logic would boggle the mind of Merlin himself.
    In regards to increased bicycles, I think they contribute more to the problem than to the solution. Brisbane is just not designed for bikes and they clog up roads causing massive headaches for drivers.
    I also think that increased buses is also not a realistic solution. Ask most motorists and I think one of the most irritating realities is the inability to use bus lanes during peak hours of traffic. I think the greatest example of this is the Green Bridge in St Lucia. Open that up and see how much congestion would ease on Coronation Drive. Jeremy Clarkson wrote an article regarding buses which is definitely worth a read.
    However, I do agree that Brisbane is in desperate need of good public transport, yet I have some reservations regarding this new rail revolution. First, by 2030, Brisbane is projected to have a population of over 3 million people. The completion date begs the question of whether the rail system will be able to cope with Brisbane’s population in 2031 and beyond. Furthermore, I don’t think that the proposed stations will effectively reduce commuter traffic. I would have thought that it would be substantially more beneficial to have a subway system styled after that of New York, Washington DC etc which have multiple lines servicing the whole city. In 2008 there was a proposal for an underground rail loop which to my mind seemed a lot more efficient. Seeing as this would obviously be underground I think that it would be a lot more viable as opposed to increased buses, foot bridges or light rail. I’m not even sure whether the Brisbane CBD could accommodate light rail given that it is not especially spacious.
    Regardless, like most things in life, I suppose only time will tell whether this project will be a success.

  • One thing ticks me off, doubling the numbers of how many people use the Translink system every day by 2031 to at least fifteen million trips a day? How is it possible to cram 15 million people into the extremely tight and limited network, and then yet another limited underground rail network.

    From my own eye, this Cross River Rail is a failure. If Campbell Newman claims that he “can do” … and then launch the extenstive Light Rail network for Brisbane. No more busways, it is useless and I am sure QLDGovernment already realised/knew that. The light rail are much more environmentally friendly, faster, and passenger numbers friendly. I mean, look at how successful the Melbourne system is.

    Brisbane definitely need either dramatic underground rail system or light rail system. Cross River Rail or the busways are the failure.

  • Firstly, to say that Australia has massive distances to cover and therefore cars are a necessity and cannot be removed from Brisbane city is preposterous. That is the bloody point of instituting greater public transport reliance and more non-bus options, because it separates the city from the country. The problem Brisbane has with urban sprawl is ridiculous, by 2031 the majority of SEQ will be one massive suburban housing estate nightmare with no public transport links to cope with all those people stuck on the idea of the Australian dream. The very fact that the council keeps building more and more road links and increasing capacity on freeways is the reason we keep looking outward: where can we get to with a car easily, can I drive from here to work? Well Bollocks to the motorway culture. STOP shoving more vehicles (including buses) onto the roads. STOP enabling the car-addicts who pollute our city and clog our roads. Look INWARDLY and NOT OUTWARDLY. Australia’s inner city is wholly undeveloped for living, we use it as a place we can all DRIVE to and it’s not OK. We need to be looking for higher-density living solutions within Brisbanes already massive borders, then we need to start building small scale transport links within that. Not everyone can have a yard, we can’t all have cars, vast distances can be covered better by train better than cars. Light rail needs to come back to Brisbane and more rail developement (circle lines allow distribution laterally, and not just into the city, so urban sprawl is reduced and people stop looking forever outward for new opportunity. All you have to do is sit where I’m sitting right now to understand Brisbane’s problems. Look out from the State Library across the river at the Riverside Expressway. A decrepit line of greeen filth that smothers the beautiful green riverside verge of moreton bay figs and dying mangroves behind it. See the bikeways beneath it, that once ran along a wonderful section of vibrant mangroves and bush, now it has no good scenery. See the constant, loud, hot, grimy buzz of buses coming from as far out as Logan along super-busways. These things are a menace. They themselves are so specialised, so clogged and so regular that they may as well have been tramlines anyway. See the beautiful cultural precinct clogged by motorists and buses, and only ONE TRAINLINE. Along the river the old ferries which once plied the mangroved and beautiful banks of the river now push their wash against cement embankments and freeways. I hope that they decommission the expressway and turn it into a skyline park (like NY). I hope they get rid of busways in favour of tram lines, I hope they toll cars in the city (like London) to reduce motor traffic. I hope they make the city-cycle a non-membership service so I can grab a bike and go, I hope they make Brisbane a pedestrian city with rail rather than bus transport. FOR GOD’S SAKE STOP WITH THE MOTOR CULTURE AND STOP ALLOWING THE SPRAWL

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