How many suburban Melbourne job centres could be connected with a circular railway?

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How many suburban Melbourne job centres could be connected with a circular railway?
A map of sburban job centres identified within Melbourne

Activity centres, national employment clusters and job hubs: there's many names for these places and we have quite a lot of them in middle-Melbourne. The lead image above has been taken from one of Alan Davies' earliest blog posts on Crikey from 2010.

The heat map represents the major job hubs - based on 2006 census data - that are located further than 5 kilometres from Melbourne's CBD. All in all, Alan Davies found that three quarters of Melbourne's jobs were located more than 5 kilometres from the CBD and of those suburban jobs, 20% of them were concentrated in 31 suburban centres (depicted on the heat map).

As a child - early primary school age - in order to shut me up/distract me from whatever it was that was driving my mother mad at the time, I was schooled on how to map read, street-directory style. Yes kids, maps used to only exist on printed matter!

Mum would open a Melways, point out train stations, show me how to follow the railway lines across the corresponding pages so I could then find more stations and you can see how a 200-300 page Melways could keep a kid busy. It also helped that dad was geography teacher and we had shelves of atlases and street directories from other cities in the house, not to mention a large drawer of maps in one of the filing cabinets.

30-odd years later this map-upbringing has manifested itself in my tendency to stare at any map I see for very long periods of time, and at some point, if I stare for long enough, the patterns and shapes start emerging.

How many suburban Melbourne job centres could be connected with a circular railway?
The near-perfect circle of job hubs around middle-Melbourne

That's the first shape I saw after staring at Alan Davies' 2010 job hub map: a circle running from Altona to Sandringham, one that bisects the majority of the suburban job hubs in Melbourne.

Footscray, Moonee Ponds, Preston, Northland, Heidelberg, Doncaster, Box Hill, Deakin Unviersity, Monash University, Mulgrave and Moorabbin all are either directly under the path of the circle or not far from it.

The biggest clusters without any decent rail service on that map have had proposals and studies to link them - Monash University/Mulgrave & the Rowville rail line study, Melbourne Airport and its very own study - yet connecting them to the radial rail network, is it enough?

How many suburban Melbourne job centres could be connected with a circular railway?
Box Hill's potential. From the 12-14 Nelson Road planning application

Earlier this week on Tuesday, Mark profiled the SJB-designed 12-14 Nelson Road planning application that's recently hit the desk of council planners at Whitehorse and the diagram above paints a fascinating potential future for Box Hill.

Box Hill's built-form density has traditionally been commercial or retail buildings and it's no secret that the cat's out of the bad when it comes to high-density residential development. However as evidenced by the ATO's new office tower, there appears to still be an appetite for bigger and better offices in the area.

On the other side of the city, Moonee Ponds' density is set to get a new height and bulk benchmark with Caydon recently receiving approval via VCAT for their first foray in Hall Street. The ATO once again are a large tenant in the area, not to mention Foxtel's main Melbourne offices bookend the precinct.

How many suburban Melbourne job centres could be connected with a circular railway?
We're not in sleepy suburban-land anymore Toto. Moonee Ponds, image posted by UM user Riddlz

Both the Box Hill and Moonee Ponds images depict scenes that may come to fruition in future and while you can argue that both are richly served by public transport now, should we not ask the question: what if they were connected to their adjacent, non-CBD job hubs?

Sydney has its "global arc" stretching from the airport through the CBD to Parrmatta via the lower North Shore and Macquarie Park. Melbourne could have a "global semi-circle"!

The single yellow line, plus the short spur in the north connects with many of the job centres present on Alan Davies' 2010 map, especially the large university campuses and the industrial/commercial areas they're generally located next to: Monash University and Mulgrave, Deakin University and Burwood, La Trobe University and the Northland/Bell Street commercial area, Victoria University Sunshine campus and Sunshine/Braybrook.

Regionally significant shopping (and job!) centres like Highpoint, Northland and Doncaster would be connected to a mass-transit service; Southland would get a second connection. All conventional rail lines except Werribee and Williamstown extend the reach of the circular line to nearly ever corner of the metropolitan area.

The circular railway links three of the six Metropolitan Planning Authority-defined employment clusters: one existing (Monash) and two emerging (La Trobe and Sunshine). Incidentally, one of the other existing clusters (Parkville) will be linked with the Melbourne Metro project, and with a realignment of the existing Werribee line, another emerging cluster (Werribee East) could be directly serviced by heavy rail; refer to the Werribee area on the map above.

And perhaps most crucially, many new residential areas get a rail service for the first time, especially in the east.

Focusing on Monash University and Mulgrave for the moment, at present 30 minutes by train from its nearest station - Clayton - will get you as far as Berwick, Cranbourne or the CBD. With a circular metro line such as that shown above, those three destinations would link deeper into the entire cluster a single train change; Sandringham and Heidelberg/Doncaster to Monash/Mulgrave would then be thrown into the "30 minute city" mix also.

Furthermore adding the Rowville rail line as shown above - via Chadstone and the Alamein line - places like Scoresby/Rowville and Swinburne University/Hawthorn/Camberwell are all connected by high quality mass-transit to this mega suburban job hub.

For those interested, the circular line as shown on the map measures 58.5 kilometres with a further 5 kilometres for the La Trobe University spur. In what could be a phased construction approach, the segments measure: Clayton to Heidelberg 23.2km (Phase 1), Heidelberg to Sunshine 23.3km (Phase 2) and Clayton-Sandringham 12km (Phase 3).

And finally, some more food for thought. Milan's automated M5 Metro line was recently extended by 7km at a cost of €872 million ($1.2 billion Australian dollars in 2011, when the contract was signed) which paid for all civil, fit out and technical/electrical "hard" infrastructure costs.

The earlier rolling stock order (€35 million in 2006 / $60 million Australian dollars) from phase 1 catered for both the initial line and the recently opened extension. The order was for 12 3-4 car trains capable of carrying up to 600-800 people on 3 minute peak frequencies.

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Discussion (19 comments)

pdoff's picture

Great article thanks Alastair!

I was just wondering your thoughts on an idea that jumps out at me looking at your map above (apologies if this has been considered before). If we're ever lucky enough to have Metro 2 get off the ground under Fishos and it continues under the river to Newport, Metro 2 could potentially service the Werribee / Laverton / Altona loop services itself and use Newport as an interchange to the Williamstown line.

As Footscray-Williamstown runs North-South, why not continue the Williamstown line north under/over Footscray to connect with this circular railway at Highpoint? This would link up all the west to north radial lines and almost follow your above circle perfectly!

Melbman's picture

Love the concept, but we all know just how expensive such an idea would be and the risk appetite is hard enough to make palatable for the Metro Rail Tunnel, let alone an orbital network.

It would be interesting to see a business case developed for such a project though to gain information on ridership and benefits that it would bring. It may well feed into general network improvements that one day could create conditions for such a project to occur.

PDOFF, I could see the option you list (Metro Rail Tunnel 2) being a project that may well offer a lot of value. It would likely still be a $20 billion+ project though, which once again brings up how financially adventurous a government would be willing to go.

theboynoodle's picture

Given that these clusters already exist, what evidence is there that they need to be linked? What's the case that people need (and/or would use) a mass transit link? Are there overly congested roads/busses currently along this route? Or is this a 'if you build it they will come' idea to try and stimulate further growth in employment in these areas?

It's key to understand what sorts of jobs are making up all this employment. Ideally we'd like people to have the opportunity to work close to where they live.. which doesn't require mass transit.

The CBD is where you go when you need lots of specialists, who are likely dotted all around the city... you can't have a ready supply of lawyers and accountants and software developers in every suburb, so you locate somewhere that they can all get to. And those people know that they can live wherever they want.. but their employment options will principally be in the CBD.

Teachers, on the other hand, know that schools will be dotted all over the city and so will have more local options (and schools, likewise, will have a local pool of teachers to recruit from). Lower skilled workers (and I don't mean that disrespectfully) likely want local options, and a business wanting such workers should be able to locate anywhere.. so plenty of retail and service business will be attracted to population centers irrespective of how good the transport links are.

Adding better radial links to a broadly arterial system is instinctively attractive.. but that's not a business case. There are severe capacity issues on the the current network and for a radial link to ease those (and therefore be as compelling a case as, say, Melbourne Metro) we need to see how it will change employment/living patterns to move people off their current journeys.. few of which, I feel reasonably confident, involve going into the CBD and out again.. unless your journey is a straight line through the CBD.. in which case you probably wouldn't use a radial alternative anyway.)

It's all very good having a train from Box Hill to Heidelberg.. but is there a demand for that journey that cannot be adequately met by cars and busses? Or do the vast majority of the people who live in those two places either work locally or in the CBD? If this train existed, would that change? And would that change be for the better?

pdoff's picture

This is the $30-100 billion question isn't it? How far do we go to invest in high frequency / heavy rail infrastructure and will Melburnians use it? The second Metro routes (that I've seen at least) pass through the city's densest and rapidly further densifying inner north eastern (Clifton Hill - Parkville), CBD and urban renewal areas, all areas that are difficult to traverse by car. A circular line would require a shift in strategy to convince commuters to travel between suburban areas using rail where there's a greater likelihood of parking available at both ends and is therefore a tougher sell to leave the car at home.

With that said, some of the routes that a circular line would traverse already suffer terrible traffic conditions. I can't find the link but I seem to recall a recent report released identified the middle northern suburbs (Brunswick to Northcote) as experiencing the worst traffic delays in the metropolitan area. A large part of the reason for this is the lack of East-West public transport options in those suburbs and yet ample radial North-South options to the CBD exist.

elev8's picture

If this was Europe, they would have planned to build the circular railway as part of the Ring Road Freeway (East Link, Western Ring Road, Northern Metropolitan Ring Road and the bit they haven't built yet) and got it done all at once.

Alastair Taylor's picture

Pdoff in comment 1: The base map I've used is something I keep on the side to visualise many of the public domain info elements that have been released at some point in the fast few years. The existing network layer (click the expand map button so it opens in a new larger window and click some of the elements) is effectively the PTV Network heavy rail development plan released in 2013 with one or two of my own tweaks - you mentioned one of them (Metro 2 / Mernda linking with Werribee) and the other is the Rowville line not a part of the larger Metro 1 (Sunbury-Pakenham/Cranbourne) group but as an extension to the Alamein line. There are other tweaks as well - Werribee line loops all the way back around to Deer Park and Sunshine (PTV plan maintains this as an electrified Geelong service) and the realignment between Hoppers Crossing and Werribee into the Australian Education City precinct (East Werribee employment cluster).

My only rationale for linking Mernda and Werribee are that both lines are going to be doing heavy lifting in the inner, outer and new fringe suburbs over time therefore they'll eventually have the greatest need for more capacity over time. Throw in two stations in Fishermans Bend that public domain info is still saying that there'll be upwards of 40,000 jobs over time, not to mention 80,000 residents (both numbers I still think are quite conservative) and it's likely that Metro 2 might have to be just like Metro 1: very long platforms that will eventually be able to take long trains.

On my map: Laverton (Altona Loop) to Glen Waverley and Williamstown to (Alamein) Rowville won't have the same demand profile (they won't service fringe belts instead the growth with come from increased densities at points on the lines) as Mernda/Werribee therefore I thought it best to have them effectively form the Newport to Burnley metro line with branches at each end. Just to reiterate, the only difference compared to PTV's plan here is that Werribee is pulled from the East-West metro (that Newport-Burnley and branches would form).

So yes, Metro 2 will be another expensive project probably on par with the cost per kilometre similar to Metro 1 and despite the petty politicking that's happened today after this was published there may be a silver lining in Malcolm Turnbull's $10mil being used to identify value capture mechanisms to recoup some of the cost from the rising land values: Metro 2 will service Fishermans Bend. Despite the politics, if a credible value capture method is devised and then implemented through planning, it could actually tip the scales in favour of much larger railway investment in the years to come.

80,000 residents and 40,000 employees is going to require a bucket load of development and planning is currently underway for the precinct's planning refresh, we'll have a better idea of the scale (in dollar terms) very soon and that could very well just plug into whatever mechanism Malcolm Turnbull wants Spring Street to devise in order to ascertain the value of loading up on debt and building these metro lines. There are people out there who are far better informed to make a judgement than I, however at the "pub test" level, Fishermans Bend alone over 30-40 years will likely yield much of the money the Federal Government want to levy. Throw in Fitzroy/Collingwood, Parkville and Newport are likely to be smaller centres of "value" to be captured as well - then you'd need to look further up and down the lines, there's plenty to study over the coming years.

My only hope is that there's some serious Spring St money thrown at getting business cases properly done before the next state election in 2018 for Metro 2 and the work required to link the Craigieburn and Frankston & Upfield and Sandringham lines.

Alastair Taylor's picture

Theboynoodle: you raise valid points but are limiting yourself to the "now". I'm not saying you're wrong but in light of what Turnbull's effectively said today - with his strings-attached $10mil metro value capture mechanism discovery money - there's clearly going to be a need to place just as much emphasis on the 'could be'.

The 'what could this metro line do' question is open-ended but it'd focus people conducting any study into the worthiness of it to look a great deal at what could be done with the land around any station placement (if value capture from property owners is to be a primary method of recouping a public sector return).

All in all, I take it that Turnbull wants big urban transport infrastructure projects to take a more serious look at the wider economic benefits side of the business case: this is where planning policy to encourage increased densities of jobs/residents/other uses around new stations in areas that can support it get a serious look in - i.e looking at the "could be", not necessarily the now.

If you look at Melb Metro's take on the Net Present Value and BCR - page 42, the individual Melb Metro program (build tunnels / other turn back infrastructure and run services there) - they are BCR: 1.5-3.3 and NPV: $3.7bil to $18bil. With the extended programme (build all the melb metro stuff, plus do the dependent projects like electrify melton/quadruplicate Sunshine-Deer Park etc), the BCR is 2.1 to 4.5 and the NPV is $8.7bil to $32.5bil.

The argy-bargy now worth $10mil in Federal money is going to force state government to take a deeper look at those calculations by doing the leg-work to -actually plan- to increase densities around stations etc (rather than just say 'it's going to be worth this much' - Turnbull has a point - the money to spend on big ticket projects should be dependent on actual structure plans which will work toward doing what these business cases say they will do). Therefore answering one of your questions like 'do we need to link adjacent job hubs/centres radially' will become somewhat irrelevant in the context of forward-thinking any new big infrastructure project, because the political noise, Turnbull's pretty much forcing those that seek federal support to think about projects this way in future.

johnproctor's picture

Noodle - you can't do a business case on something if the idea doesn't exist.

A few points. This line wouldn't be a 'Melbourne metro' style line. It would logically be much smaller trains meaning smaller stations, structures and ultimately costs. It may be 80m platforms similar to Copenhagen meaning you could fit almost 3 platforms in the space of 1 MM platform (which is 224m).

In terms of evidence of demand consider the volume of car and bus traffic running up and north/south roads in the eastern suburbs. And really the type of job doesn't matter. If someone works in retail in an activity centre of an office in th city they still need to get to their job. Chadstone has almost no office workers (noting an office building is under construction there now) but has a very high density of jobs thanks to all the retail workers.

I tend to agree with you that a business case wouldn't stack up today (certainly not for all 60 odd kilometres proposed in the article).but I believe within 10 years the congestion in the suburbs will make such links attrActive. some congestion hot spots that I can think of Getting across the maribyrnong (sunshine-highpoint-moonee ponds). Getting across the Yarra (greensborough-Doncaster or Kew). Nor/south in the east (traffic on Elgar, station ,Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Springvale so a Doncaster-box hill- Deakin-Monash-Clayton line). The last one I think will exist in 50 years.

Adam Ford's picture

Great stuff, Alastair. But you don't address Melbourne's biggest and best current CAD - the airport?

I'll just remind everyone of my variant of this plan. More big ticket but it does solve the airport issue.

And what Mr Proctor said about this shouldn't need metro-level rolling stock OR frequencies is a point very well made.

theboynoodle's picture

Noodle - you can't do a business case on something if the idea doesn't exist.

Well.. no... but... er... I'm not entirely sure what point you're making... because this idea obviously does exist.

A few points. This line wouldn't be a 'Melbourne metro' style line. It would logically be much smaller trains meaning smaller stations, structures and ultimately costs. It may be 80m platforms similar to Copenhagen meaning you could fit almost 3 platforms in the space of 1 MM platform (which is 224m).

Yes, it might well be cheaper - but it would still be very expensive. It would still require significant land acquisition. You could make it cheaper still by making it a tram line (but wholly segregated from road traffic) but that still doesn't make it a good project.

In terms of evidence of demand consider the volume of car and bus traffic running up and north/south roads in the eastern suburbs.

That's not evidence. That's you telling me there's lots of traffic on some roads. I believe you. And if there is actual evidence that this traffic is at a problematic level, and it would be reduced by a radial mass-transit project, then that would count as an argument in favor of this idea.

And really the type of job doesn't matter. If someone works in retail in an activity centre of an office in th city they still need to get to their job. Chadstone has almost no office workers (noting an office building is under construction there now) but has a very high density of jobs thanks to all the retail workers.

Yes, an office worker travelling to work is the same as a retail worker travelling to work. The point I was making was that the type of job impacts whether someone actually needs to travel, or whether they can find employment locally.

So yes.. there are lots of retail workers at Chadstone. There are also lots at the airport. And there are lots at Highpoint.. unless something is terribly broken, those jobs will be drawn from people in the localities of those employers (because it is not in anybody's best interests for things to be otherwise.. retail jobs and retail workers being, in the main, pretty interchangeable).

I tend to agree with you that a business case wouldn't stack up today (certainly not for all 60 odd kilometres proposed in the article).but I believe within 10 years the congestion in the suburbs will make such links attrActive. some congestion hot spots that I can think of Getting across the maribyrnong (sunshine-highpoint-moonee ponds). Getting across the Yarra (greensborough-Doncaster or Kew). Nor/south in the east (traffic on Elgar, station ,Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Springvale so a Doncaster-box hill- Deakin-Monash-Clayton line). The last one I think will exist in 50 years.

But with all of these congestion spots, I return to the question of whether they are addressed by this idea.. are they caused by people doing journeys that could be replaced by this train, or are they caused by people on the arterial routes that would be largely untouched... there's not going to be anyone on that train that's currently clogging up the roads in Kew!

In response to Alistair.. it's not that I'm limiting myself to the 'now'.. I acknowledged the possibility that this is something in the 'if you build it they will come' camp. A project doesn't have to be solving observable present problems for it to be a good one. If we think it will prevent future problems, or have great future benefits, then that's all good.

However, if we're going to build a bloody great new train line around the city, we need to have an idea about who's going to be using it. That's the bit that I'm unclear about.

I'm not saying the demand isn't there. I can tell you that more capacity along the no11 tram route is required because I frequently can't get onto it. I know that the capacity is needed for people along the route who work in the CBD - because a tram that empties onto Collins Street at 8.30am mainly isn't carrying people who are catching another service. I don't know about the roads between Burwood and Glen Waverley because I don't drive on them.

The development of these suburban hubs is a good thing. Spreading employment and residential growth around the city are good things - but these are good things because they reduce the demands on infrastructure by providing local opportunities rather than forcing people to travel to work.

However, as these hubs develop we can expect more people to travel longer distances to work there. The current system means that only those making such journeys along the existing arteries will have PT options. So the case for this idea needs to be about the benefit of enabling radial journeys as well. But nobody has made that case. Certainly, nobody has considered the second order effects of this (i.e. the inevitability that it would enhance growth in some of the hubs to the detriment of others).

It's a fun discussion.

Alastair Taylor's picture

ID's 2011 census data doesn't drill down to a SA2 level (if it did, the census data would provide an illuminating picture of where workers for an area live), however the LGA level - which is shown on their website - gives a decent amount of clues in the as-is scenario. For Monash:

90,000 jobs in the LGA in 2011, 69,000 of those employees live outside the LGA - refer to the map on that link, a great of them are in LGAs to the South East or immediately adjacent to Monash - pay particular attention to Kingston to the South and the combo of Whitehorse and Manningham to the north.

We'd need to see the VISTA data for individual journeys (and not just those that are to/from work) however many of the workers - as outlined in the 2011 LGA data - live in areas that are at least already serviced by the PT network (existing Pakenham/Cranbourne line) - the focus in any future study would need to take into account what the radial line would do to car journeys given it would serve a great deal more of the larger Monash cluster than the current set up with just Huntingdale and Clayton stations.

Other LGAs/high level locations of jobs / employees' residences (the tables above the maps on each of the following links are for the whole LGAs, the table of data below the map show for individual sections within the LGA and I've used the most relevant regions of the LGAs that correlate with the circular route map above):

Kingston, 66,000 jobs, 46,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Kingston (North):

Whitehorse, 61,000 jobs, 44,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data for Whitehorse (Box Hill):

Manningham, 24,000 jobs, 13,000 of the employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Manningham West:

Banyule, 36,000 jobs, 22,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Banyule (Heidelberg):

Darebin, 40,000 jobs, 28,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Darein (Preston):

Moreland, 32,000 jobs, 20,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Moreland (Coburg): and data for Moreland (Brunswick):

Moonee Valley, 30,000 jobs, 20,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Moonee Valley (Essendon):

Maribyrnong, 30,000 jobs, 24,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Maribyrnong (Central - includes Highpoint and Footscray):

Brimbank, 51,000 jobs, 34,000 of employees live outside the LGA, data breakdown for Brimbank (Sunshine):

A few of my own high-level observations on all the links above: From Heidelberg right down to Kingston/Bayside there's a strong relationship of those sub-regions of each respective LGA having a lot of the employees live in the adjacent sub-region - in all directions, not just along the existing arterial public transport network.

That relationship exists with Brimbank-Maribyrnong but to a lesser extent with Maribyrnong-Moonee Valley-Moreland and Moreland-Darebin-Banyule which doesn't surprise given the proximity to the city - yet it's not all about employment, trips to places of leisure, retail and other non-work journeys all would need to be studied, and you get that from VISTA:

Also - an interesting page to study from the 2013 VISTA data is the purpose of travel - hit the second tab on the following link (unfortunately that public data isn't even broken down to LGA level let alone SA2 or suburb level):!/vizhome/VISTA2012-13-Weekday...

Rohan Storey's picture

That image just makes me think that adding the Rowville via Clayton branch line and the airport line to the Melb Metro would serve what appear to be the major employment clusters that dont already have rail.


Alan Davies's picture

The map shows the largest concentrations of jobs in Melbourne's suburbs (by traffic zone). It excludes the inner city, defined as the first five kilometres from the CBD. Were the inner city included using the same methodology, it would be practically all red. I expect the best prospects for an orbital transit system with a dedicated right of way would be somewhere within or close to the inner city. If or when analysis shows there's a case for it, elevated BRT might be the way to start.

theboynoodle's picture

Thanks Alistair.. that's awesome. So we can say with some certainty that lots of people are travelling to the next suburb (in every direction) to work.

So our next thing to ponder (and I think it's a discussion point, not something there will be a base of data for) is whether these people would use a train if it was there.

the first point I'd make is that this doesn't support a radial line. If lots of people are making short journeys across suburbs then that doesn't tell us we need a service all the way around. However, if there are enough of these journeys all along the route then a 'single solution' makes sense. It's like the bus from Frankston to the airport... it's role is to do exactly the sort of thing that this radial line would be doing... which is to move people from burb to burb along a radial path. It's not for people from Frankston who are catching a flight.

So would people take a train to 1/2 burbs away if one was there? Well we know that lots of people doing those short journeys currently are doing them along the existing arterial routes - do these people use the trains? If so, then we can assume people would use a radial train fro the same purpose.. if not.. then why? Do they use trams where there are trams? Which do they prefer?

Remember.. to get people out of their cars, the alternative needs to be better. If someone lives and works very close to public transport points, then things work. If it's a ten minute walk on either side then you've got a problem if the journey is only 15 minutes by car. CBD journeys lend themselves to public transport because of congestion and parking costs - how applicable are they to the burbs? Probably not very, although the more those burbs develop, the more like the CBD they become.

If it was felt that busses were not an adequate PT option for the needs of these inter-suburb travellers then I think I'd be much more drawn to a tram. This would be more flexible.. there could be more stops.. closer to employment and population centres.. it would be easier to add capacity on key segments so if a couple of these hubs blossomed then needs could be addressed locally without worrying about the rest of the network.

pdoff's picture

I think the opportunity cost of an orbital line would be too great and refer to Alan’s point regarding the inner 5km area, although I don’t consider that a BRT would do the job. There are several indicators that the demand in the inner areas could increase significantly over the next few decades which is the timeframe it appears to take to construct effective rail infrastructure.

The area within 5km of Melbourne’s CBD is growing at 4% per year, well in excess of the 1.7% for the whole metropolitan area, and at this rate by the magical date of 2055 when we’re supposed to exceed Sydney and hit 8 million, that area would host 1.65 million inhabitants!

That might sound ridiculous and I’m not going to suggest that we should immediately prepare for an inner area population of 1.65 million, there are obviously a lot of factors that will influence this over the next 40 years. But we can see and measure the enormous level of growth and construction happening in the inner 5km now, we can see the ongoing appeal of living in these areas, there are policies in place to cater for it such as the development of Fishermans Bend, policies that include the development of a 24 hour city which ideally would include improving PT travel to go shopping, out to dinner, to visit tourist sites. Shouldn’t these policies, population growth, the concentration of jobs (as confirmed by Alan) and future job growth mean that precious infrastructure dollars are directed this way?

Ian Woodcock's picture

Network planning for public transport is the key. Yes, by all means, add an orbital route. But then, add some more routes that add connectivity to the network. There is no single line that will do everything, because no single line can provide all of the nodal connections that are needed. One thing that no-one is likely to do on an orbital line is go all the way from end to end. Such lines are really a series of segments in terms of the way they are used. It's possible that far more benefit is to be had from providing a series of high-frequency grade separated routes (BRT, light rail, medium capacity rail etc) along the main arterials of the suburban grid, with a focus on the corridor between the CBD+inner city and the Monash cluster, to extend the kind of network that already exists in the inner city.

Alastair Taylor's picture

^ Blackburn Road, Springvale Road, Westall Road - medians all screaming out for elevated rail :)

Ian: do you have any data on the minimum curve radius stats for Vancouver's skytrain? I'm guessing they have one to maintain a certain speed to fit all the services they do down the Millenium/Expo line. I'd be interested in the effect it has on road corridors (i.e a median/wide road might take a sharpe turn, but the elevated rail track would need a greater curve, therefore impacting more of the entire road reserve).

If you look at Manningham Road through Bulleen / Templestowe lower, there's a small median with 6 lanes but some short sharp curves - completely disregarding objections like 'skyrail' is having on Carnegie/Murrumbeena, from an engineering perspective would an elevated track (supporting a medium metro) run in to slowing-down-for-curves issues or anything like that?

Alastair Taylor's picture

Comments by Wynne in the Fin on the Monash Cluster, in short MPA to handle implementation of zoning changes, from 80,000 jobs currently to 180,000 jobs by 2046 :

Alastair Taylor's picture

A neat little tool which can determine things like walking catchments (along streets) from specific points on a map:

Here's a map using the points from the GMAP in the article to show potential walking catchments (10 minutes) around each new station:

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