"Gold Coast Light Rail"
Gold Coast Light Rail Feasibility Study Summary report DRAFT DRAFT Key Facts Project cost: $320 - $360 million Project length: Approximately 17 km Stations: Locations for up to 16 stations have been identified Vehicles: 12–14 modern low floor light rail vehicles • typically 30 m in length, can be extended to 45 m if necessary • cater for 200 to 300 passengers • additional vehicles can be added as required Service frequency Light rail is proposed to run every 6 minutes between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, 7 days a week, with lower frequencies at other times. The frequency can be varied to suit demand for our special events such as Indy Travel time Less than ½ hour from Parkwood to Hooker Blvd Network Integration The light rail system should ideally be integrated with the existing public transport network. Coordination of public transport would be managed by T ransLink. Major interchange locations have been identified at Parkwood, Southport and Pacific Fair Additional opportunities could be available at other stations Demand Demand Patronage on the proposed light rail system is expected to be in the order of 25,000 passengers per day in 2008, growing to 74,000 to 125,000 passengers per day in 2038 Mode share Mode share improvements Mode share for public transport is expected to increase from current improvements level of 3.2% to a likely range of 4.3% to 4.9%. This is a 33% to 54% increase in current public transport mode share The net gain in public transport bus trips resulting from the light rail project is expected to be between 20% and 30%, assuming the existing bus route kilometres are reinvested Environmental effects The construction and operation of light rail is unlikely to result in any significant adverse environmental impacts or trigger the need for an environmental impact statement Economic effects Travel and access benefits produce a project benefit–cost ratio (BCR) of 1.7 and net present value (NPV) of $230m. Additional benefits include • environmental benefits (valued at around $5m per year which, if added to the travel and access benefits, would increase the BCR to 1.9 and NPV to $310m) • reduced road damage (valued at around $2m per year) • potential tourism benefits (over $100m per year in additional visitor spending and around 1,000 permanent jobs in 2005) • around 3,500 person-years of employment generated by light rail construction • 90 new permanent jobs and around $12m per annum injected into the Gold Coast economy in wages and payments for goods and services during the operating phase of the light rail • international experience suggests land values within walking distance of the light rail route are likely to increase GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 123 56789 4 Contents 1. What is the proposal? 2 2. Need for light rail 4 3. How was light rail chosen? 7 4. The proposed system 9 5. What are the impacts of the proposed light rail? 17 6. What are the benefits of the proposed light rail system? 20 7. How could the light rail be constructed? 25 8. Conclusions 26 9. References 27 1 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Purpose of this summary report The summary report provides an overview to residents and stakeholders on the Gold Coast of the light rail proposal, the reasons a priority public transport corridor is needed, where it could be located and how it could operate. The results of the feasibility study are in four technical reports — Stage A to Stage D. This summary report can be viewed and downloaded from the Gold Coast light rail website www.pb.com.au/gclightrail. The scope of this study required the consultant to plan an alignment, determine the feasibility of and investigate issues relating to the priority of a light rail transit system for the corridor between Broadbeach, Southport and Parkwood. It did not require an assessment of a fully integrated transport system for the whole Gold Coast region. Such work is particularly complex and needs to be undertaken in the next steps in determining how best to deliver a mass transit system. This report summarises the study findings, identifies staging options and the conclusions. 1. What is the proposal? 1 The Gold Coast light rail is a proposed mass transit public transport system, some 17 kilometres long, between Parkwood and Broadbeach. The proposed route is shown in Figure 1.1. The Gold Coast light rail could be constructed generally within existing road corridors — minimal requirements from private property are expected. The light rail would be segregated from existing traffic lanes along most of its route, although for short distances through the centre of Surfers Paradise and on Short Street in Southport, it would share road space with other vehicles. This proposal could form the first stage of a more extensive light rail system for the Gold Coast. The locations of up to 16 light rail stations have been identified along the route, with major transport interchanges at key locations. During peak hours, light rail services could run every 6 minutes with off-peak services every 20 minutes. As the light rail system generally operates in a along the coastal strip of the Gold Coast. A dedicated corridor with minimal effect from general light rail system operating between Parkwood traffic conditions, it is expected to offer substantial and Broadbeach is forecast to attract 25,000 travel time savings to the public. In particular, public passengers per day on opening. The system is transport users in the corridor would benefit the expected to encourage growth in public transport most (with time savings of from 10 to 15 minutes: in bus trips of 20% to 30% , assuming that the congested traffic conditions this travel time saving is existing bus route – kilometres are reinvested in expected to be much greater). Broader community the bus network. benefits may also be realised through reduced traffic congestion, improved traffic operations at Implementation of light rail on the Gold Coast some intersections and avoiding the need to pay can play a significant role in meeting the State for expensive road works that would otherwise be Government’s target for 7% of all trips being required. made by public transport by 2011. This light rail system is expected to increase public transport The light rail system is expected to be a key factor in trips from current levels of around 3.2% to nearly attracting increased tourism to the Gold Coast region 5.0% by 2011. and influencing the revitalisation of urban development 2 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Figure 1.1 Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route • Parkwood Griffith Univerity Queen • • Street Southport Loders Creek West • • • Gold Coast • Brighton Parade Hospital Main Beach • Paradise Waters • Cypress Avenue • Surfers Paradise • Clifford Street • Northcliffe • Cascade Gardens • Broadbeach • Hooker Boulevard • 3 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 2. Need for light rail 2 The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s fastest growing cities, with rapidly increasing transport needs. Previous studies have explored ways of meeting these needs, and recommended that a line haul transit system*, in particular light rail, be further investigated. Currently across the Gold Coast, around 3.2% of Population all trips are on public transport. The Queensland The Gold Coast had over 455,000 residents in Government’s and Gold Coast City Council’s 2003, with over 13,000 new residents arriving target is 7% by 2011. However, while public per annum, making it the sixth largest city in transport patronage is increasing at about 3% per Australia. Recent forecasts (Qld Department annum, this is less than the population and travel of Local Government and Planning, Planning growth rates. If the current trend continues, public Information and Forecasting Unit — PIFU, 2003) transport mode share can only decline. expect the Gold Coast population to be in excess of 700,000 by 2021, rising to over 1 million With the increasing population in the Gold Coast by about 2041. Figure 2.1 shows the forecast region, congested conditions are becoming population growth in Gold Coast City. increasingly common. Traffic queues and delays are getting longer and these are being blamed for The Gold Coast is a linear city with more the perceived downturn in tourism and economic concentrated population along the coastal activity along the coastal strip of the Gold Coast. strip; however, projections show that growth is also expected in lower-density outlying areas. If a light rail system were introduced and bus Population on the coastal strip is expected services were redirected to less well serviced to increase as redevelopment and urban parts of the Gold Coast, public transport use could revitalisation intensify. increase to nearly 5% of all trips (up by 54% Compared with inland suburbs in the Gold Coast on current use). The proposed light rail system region, the coastal areas (such as Broadbeach, patronage is predicted to range between 74,000 Main Beach, Mermaid Beach, Southport and and 125,000 passengers per day within 30 years. Surfers Paradise) are characterised by higher- This is a significant benefit and advance toward density development, younger age profile and achieving the region’s target of 7% of total travel lower car ownership levels. Australian Bureau of on public transport. Statistics data shows that beachside areas have a higher proportion of residents owning no motor vehicle or one motor vehicle. These residents use alternative forms of travel other than the private motor vehicle for their transport needs. Figure 2.1 Population growth in Gold Coast City 1,200,000 visitors resident persons 1,000,000 800,000 Population 600,000 400,000 200,000 0 2001 2006 2011 2016 2021 2026 2031 2036 2041 Year of Estimate Source: Department of Local Government and Planning, Planning Information and Forecasting Unit, October 2003 4 * A line haul transport system is a service linking local areas (as distinct from a service within one local area). GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Tourism and the local economy Existing transport system The Gold Coast region remains a tourist The road network is dominated by two primary destination of international and domestic stature, north–south linkages with several east–west attracting an estimated average of over 57,000 cross linkages between them. The Gold Coast visitors per day. This is a daily addition in excess Highway serves the high-density activity centres: of 10% to the Gold Coast resident population. Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach on the coastal strip. The Pacific Motorway and the Over half the tourists to the Gold Coast are day Gold Coast rail line to Robina, about 8 kilometres trip visitors. The remainder are either domestic to the west, provide the regional links between visitors who stay at least one night (35%) or the Gold Coast and the rest of south-east international visitors (9%) (Gold Coast City Queensland and northern New South Wales. Council 2003). The area is served by buses operated by Surfside According to Tourism Queensland (2003), Buslines under contract to the State Government. visitors spend about $3 billion per year at the The primary bus routes run via the Gold Coast Gold Coast; the tourism sector employs more Highway between Southport and Broadbeach, than 36,000 persons and accounts for 15% of with services every 15 minutes or less on a 24- hour basis. With increasing congestion and delays, the Gold Coast regional economy. However, bus services are finding it difficult to maintain recent evidence indicates a weakening in the on-time running. TrainLink services operate overall attractiveness of the Gold Coast as a between Nerang rail station and Surfers Paradise tourism destination. KPMG (2002) has tracked (via Broadbeach), and Helensvale rail station and the product lifecycle of Gold Coast tourism and Surfers Paradise (via Southport). Elsewhere in the concluded that it is a mature market in danger of network, bus service levels are reduced in lower- stagnating. KPMG highlighted the need for new density residential areas. initiatives that revitalise the main tourist areas of the Gold Coast. However, as development expands to the western low-density areas, more people are relying on For all visitors, the primary accommodation private cars. The Gold Coast City Transport Plan types and most popular activities, such as the reports that car ownership is outstripping the beach, dining and shopping, are focused around city’s population growth expectations (refer Figure Southport, Surfers Paradise, Main Beach and 2.2 for a comparison of population growth and Broadbeach. car use). Growing reliance on the private car will increase traffic congestion, delays and unacceptable travel times in the region. Figure 2.2 Growth of population and car use in Gold Coast City between 1995 and 2011 93% Percentage growth over 16 years, 1995 – 2011 100 90 80 72% 70 62% 60 51% 50 40 30 20 10 0 Population Vehicle Registration Private Vehicle Trips Vehicle Kilometres Population growth is rapid; but car use is easily outstripping this Source: Gold Coast City Council, 1998 5 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT What if we do nothing? What if we do nothing? Over the past 15 years, Gold Coast City has experienced sustained high growth in traffic. The effects of this are now more evident, and without investment in the right transport system, traffic congestion and associated effects are expected to increase on the Gold Coast. If we do nothing: Vehicle travel will continue to increase faster than population • Vehicle-kilometres are expected to reach over 15 million vehicle-kilometres each day in 2011. • Average traffic on the city’s key road corridors will increase by 4.3% per annum (Gold Coast City Council 1998). Public transport ridership will decrease • Public transport’s share of the total south-east Queensland travel market has been in decline over the past few decades, dropping from 40% in 1960 to 7% in 1992 (Queensland Transport 1997). • The mode share of person trips by public transport on the Gold Coast was only 3.5% of total person trips in 1995 (Gold Coast City Council 1998) and is currently estimated to be about 3.2% of total person trips. This trend can be expected to continue without significant investment in public transport in the Gold Coast region. Growing car ownership will increase congestion • Vehicle registrations are anticipated to increase by 62% between 1995 and 2011, which is higher than the projected population growth of 51% (Gold Coast City Council 1998). • The proportion of trips taken by private car will increase. • Average travel times have increased by 2.6% per year over the past 15 years and this trend is expected to continue unless significant infrastructure improvements are made. • Average trip times could increase by 67% — from 15 minutes (in 1995) to 25 minutes (in 2011) (Gold Coast City Council, 1998). • Without intervention, all major approach routes into the Gold Coast will be well over capacity by 2011, and will be congested most of the day. The Federal Government estimates the current cost of urban congestion (including delays to goods and business, increased operating costs, accidents and environmental costs) in major Australian cities to be about $13 billion each year. This is expected to rise significantly if no action is taken, and the Gold Coast will bear its share of an increased economic burden from these costs. Other impacts of traffic congestion • Air pollution — motorised transport activities using fossil fuels are responsible for 70% of air pollution. • Health impacts — motor vehicle emissions such as photochemical smog and fine particulates are linked to asthma and lung cancer. • Land consumption — over 40% of urban space is dedicated to road-based transport. • Road crashes — results include economic costs resulting from property damage and health care, as well as the social costs of injury and death. • Social disruption — effects include noise, loss of amenity and community severance. • Resource depletion — transport activity comprises over 60% of oil use. • Stagnation and even decline of the economic development and prosperity of the Gold Coast region. 6 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 3 3. How was light rail chosen? Previous studies recommended light rail A light rail corridor for the Gold Coast was previously recommended by various planning studies and transport strategies for further investigation. Land use planning on the Gold Coast has been • fuel cell bus — fuel cell technology has lower guided by the Regional Framework for Growth emissions than diesel technology, with the ability to Management for South East Queensland (RFGM). store renewable energy This document identifies the investigation of a light rail • O’Bahn — guided buses system as a priority for the Gold Coast. • trolley bus — rubber-tyred vehicles that draw power The Integrated Regional Transport Plan for South East from overhead wiring Queensland (IRTP), the Gold Coast City Transport • monorail — fully elevated vehicles on a single track Plan (CTP) and Transport 2007 — An Action Plan for South East Queensland identified public transport • CIVIS or Translohr — optically guided vehicles with mode share targets for the Gold Coast which are rubber tyres more than twice those currently being achieved. An • Personal Rapid Transport — elevated systems with improved public transport system was an important driverless pods seating up to ten people. component in achieving those targets. The IRTP highlighted the need for improved line haul How were the options assessed? public transport on the Gold Coast. It recommended investigation of the potential of a light rail system along Options for the system’s vehicle mode were identified the coastal north–south corridor. Transport 2007 and evaluated using a rigorous multicriteria assessment recommended investigation into light rail specifically process (see Figure 3.1). for the corridor between Southport and Broadbeach in the short term. Figure 3.1 Mode assessment process Gold Coast City Council (GCCC), in developing its City Transport Plan, undertook the initial investigations into improved line haul public transport. Establish ideal system characteristics, GCCC commissioned the Line Haul Foundation roles and objectives and Feasibility Study (SKM 1998) which defined a line haul structure for the Gold Coast and identified Determine realistic public the northern section of the Labrador to Coolangatta transport mode options corridor as the priority section of line haul public transport on the Gold Coast. The City Transport Plan also recommended further investigation of a light rail Mode characteristics network for the city. Decision parameters Evaluation criteria – Alignment – Station/stop What other modes were considered? frequency Different line haul public transport systems Develop weightings for – Vehicles selection criteria etc could be used on the Gold Coast. A list of these mode options was developed around bus, light NO rail, monorail and personal rapid transit (PRT) Consistency check technologies, including: YES Evaluation • light rail — electric vehicles operating on-street or in a segregated corridor on rail tracks Sensitivity testing • diesel bus — recent bus technology advancements include low-floor entry and low- pollutant emissions Preferred mode 7 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT In developing evaluation criteria and assessing The relative importance of each criterion was various mode options, it is important to consider then determined by comparing one criterion , the relevant objectives outlined in the IRTP CTP with another. For example, ‘meet and shape and Transport 2007 policy documents. To support community travel and lifestyle into the future’ these objectives, public transport’s role on the was judged more important than ‘transport Gold Coast is to: function’, but less important than ‘built and natural environment’. This is called a ‘paired comparison’ • provide a sustainable system in the long term of criteria. After similar comparisons were • provide improved accessibility undertaken for all criteria, the most important • generate increased public transport demand criterion was the ‘built and natural environment’. • provide value for money for users and non- The relative weightings for each criterion are users alike shown in Figure 3.1. Each mode option was • be supportive of other government policy consistently assessed against these criteria and objectives weightings. • be compatible with the unique ‘city image’ Overall, light rail scored higher than any other of the Gold Coast and support economic mode and is assessed as a highly appropriate development mode in meeting these objectives for line haul • support the concept of making the Gold Coast public transport, because of its: a more liveable and sustainable community. • potential to meet and shape community travel Evaluation criteria were then selected that sought and lifestyles to capture the overall role of public transport • potential to act as an economic catalyst on the Gold Coast and desired outcomes. Table 3.1 identifies these criteria and sub-criteria. • low impact on the built and natural environment. Table 3.1 Evaluation criteria and weightings Criteria Sub-criteria • Meets and/or shapes travel patterns • Provides for planning certainty Meets and/or shapes travel patterns • Provides legibility in transport provision and community lifestyle • Able to influence urban form 20% • Provides increased social equity • Able to convert car trips to public transport trips • Contribution to employment growth Economic catalyst • Contribution to tourism growth 10% • Contribution to development growth • Benefit-cost ratio • Air-quality impact Built and natural environment • Vibration impact 35% • Visual attractiveness • Business, commercial and parking impact • Extendibility • Integration with public transport network Transport function • Meets capacity needs in the corridor 10% • Traffic impact • Flexibility • Key stakeholder acceptance Deliverability • Community support 25% • Financial viability • Construction impacts 8 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 4 4. The proposed system Where is light rail line proposed? The proposed route is nearly 17 kilometres long. It would run from Parkwood in the west, continue through Southport and Surfers Paradise and terminate at Broadbeach adjacent to Pacific Fair shopping centre in the south. Approximately 90% of the route would allow light rail vehicles to operate completely separate to general traffic, while the remainder of the route would share road space. The proposed route, and location of stations, are shown in Figure 4.1. The proposed route travels from the Gold Australia Fair, Cavill Avenue pedestrian mall, Coast heavy passenger rail line at Parkwood, the Gold Coast City Convention and Exhibition to Griffith University, the key regional centre of Centre, Jupiters Casino, and Pacific Fair. The Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, route also provides connections to key bus and to other major activity centres on the Gold interchanges at Southport, Surfers Paradise and Coast. These include Gold Coast Hospital, Broadbeach. Figure 4.1 Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail Route and Stations • Parkwood Griffith Univerity • Ballasted track Ballasted track 9 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Figure 4.1a Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route and stations Segregated track • Loders Creek Queen Street Gold Coast • Southport West Hospital • • • Brighton Parade Ballasted track Segregated track Track shared with general traffic 10 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Figure 4.1b Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route and stations Segregated track • Main Beach Segregated track • Paradise Waters • Cypress Avenue • Surfers Paradise Track shared with general traffic 11 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Figure 4.1 Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route and stations Clifford Street • Track shared with general traffic Northcliffe • Cascade Gardens • Segregated median track Broadbeach • Hooker Boulevard • 12 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT How was the route selected? Figure 4.2 Route option development process A two-stage selection process resulted in the choice of the proposed route. Nine options Objective definition for route and station option development were shortlisted from an initial list of options (see Figure 4.2). Constraints Opportunities The community was consulted for feedback identification identification on each of the shortlisted options. Each option was assessed in terms of engineering, cost, land Key station area definition use integration, traffic and parking, community acceptance and environmental effects (visual impact, noise and vibration, community severance and vegetation loss) Route options long list What would the light rail vehicles Option evaluation look like? Light rail is a modern, electrically powered form of rail public transport, which has the Route options short list ability to run either on tracks in city streets or on ballasted track. Smaller than a modern Station definition for shortlisted train, it resembles a modern tram and has an route options attractive appearance (see Figure 4.3). Modern light rail vehicles are designed with low floor access and wide gangways to cater The passenger capacity of light rail vehicles is for children, the elderly, mobility-impaired generally 200 to 300 people, of whom 50 to passengers, wheelchairs, cyclists and parents 70 are seated. with prams. The proposed light rail system is recommended Light rail vehicles are generally more roomy, to consist of an in-service fleet of 14 vehicles. comfortable and accessible than buses, with a This includes an allowance of two spare quiet and smooth operation (see Figure 4.4). vehicles. Figure 4.3 Light rail vehicle (Montpellier, France) Figure 4.4 Light rail vehicle interior (Croydon UK) 13 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Track or footpath surface, allowing pedestrians, cyclists and other users to cross the light rail tracks Except for a single track section between safely. Parkwood and Griffith University, the proposed light rail route would be dual track. Between Most of the alignment (approximately 90%) Parkwood and Baratta Street, Southport, the would be dedicated track, segregated from route would be ballasted track (similar to heavy traffic. However, there would be two sections rail track, see Figure 4.5). From Baratta Street where the light rail track would share road space to Broadbeach, the route would be either (see Figure 4.7 and 4.8): kerbside or median (middle of road) track (see • along Short Street in Southport (190 m) Figure 4.6). In these areas, the light rail vehicle would run on rails level with the road, median • along Gold Coast Highway between Elkhorn Avenue and Aubrey Street in Surfers Paradise (1,330 m). Figure 4.5 Ballasted track Figure 4.6 Segregated median track 14 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Figure 4.7 Shared track Figure 4.8 Shared track Structures During ‘peak’ tourist seasons, such as Christmas, New Year, Easter, Indy 300 week and ‘Schoolies’ week, The proposal would require four major bridges: it is expected that light rail services could run more • grade separation under Smith Street Motorway frequently, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ramps This study identified and investigated a partial • bridges over Precision Drive, Parkwood integration strategy in which bus services would have • a bridge over Olsen Avenue, Parkwood limited stops along the proposed light rail route. • duplication of the Gold Coast Bridge over the This strategy would reduce the requirement for passengers to make more than one transfer between Nerang River to accommodate light rail and transport modes and provides a good balance possibly pedestrian and cycle pathways. between traffic benefits and public transport value for money. It also provides an opportunity to increase Intersection signalling public transport route coverage and frequency (through reallocation of existing bus services to new It is essential that light rail be given priority over routes or improved frequencies), while not penalising general traffic at all signalised intersections. A passengers with additional transfers. Examination of separate light rail signal phase would be triggered by a full integration strategy for light rail with the rest the presence of a light rail vehicle approaching the of the transport system is a much more complex lights. undertaking and was beyond the scope of this study. To ensure safe passage through intersections, light It is recommended that such work be undertaken as rail would have its own set of signals which are part of any future investigations. linked to the intersection traffic control devices. These would be in the form of the standard Travel times indicators for light rail operations so that general traffic is not confused. Travelling the full length on a service of the proposed light rail system between Parkwood station and Broadbeach station would take about 29 minutes. How is light rail proposed to operate? It would take 7 minutes between Griffith University The proposed light rail system could operate and Southport, 20 minutes between Southport and services every 6 minutes between 9 am and 6 pm, Broadbeach station, and 9 minutes between Surfers 7 days a week, with lower frequencies during other Paradise and Broadbeach station. These travel times times. This is generally more frequent than existing are largely unaffected by prevailing traffic conditions. bus services. 15 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Presently, scheduled bus services take an Integrated ticketing average of 13 minutes between Griffith Integrated ticketing was introduced throughout University and Southport (Australia Fair shopping south-east Queensland in July 2004. It is centre), 25 minutes between Southport and proposed that a Gold Coast light rail system Broadbeach (Pacific Fair shopping centre), would operate under the new integrated and 13 minutes between Surfers Paradise ticketing system with the same fare price and Broadbeach. These travel times reflect structure as buses and trains. published bus schedules and do not account for the congestion delays that occur on roads such as the Gold Coast Highway and Ferny Avenue Park-and-ride during peak periods. Two park-and-ride facilities are proposed along the light rail route: Interchanges • Parkwood station — 800 to 1, 000 spaces Bus passengers travelling along the coastal routes • Loders Creek station — 500 to 1,000 spaces between Southport and Broadbeach would be A possible third park-and-ride facility could be able to transfer to light rail at major transport provided close to the proposed Broadbeach interchanges at Scarborough Street, Southport, Station. and Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach. Most bus services previously serving the coastal routes along the Gold Coast Highway between Southport and Broadbeach could be reallocated to areas on the Gold Coast that are currently less well serviced by public transport. Some longer distance bus services such as routes 1A, 2 and 10, would still travel along this section of the Gold Coast Highway. Following the introduction of integrated ticketing and associated Network Plans, TransLink could identify the detailed requirements of these interchanges and coordination of all bus services with the proposed light rail system. Real-time information It is recommended that real-time timetable, ticketing and passenger information systems be provided at all light rail stations. This would allow passengers to find out, in real time, when light rail vehicles will arrive at the station (see Figure 4.9 Real-time information at Strasbourg Figure 4.9). Light Rail (France) 16 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 5 5. What are the impacts of the proposed light rail? A review of environmental factors (REF) was carried out to determine the likely environmental, air, noise, visual, land use and construction impacts of the proposed light rail system. An environmental management plan (EMP) was recommended to guide the planning, design and construction phases. This review of environmental factors did not find any matters of significance that would prevent construction and operation of the proposed Gold Coast light rail system. The following presents a summary of environmental and transport impacts of the light rail proposal. Flora mangroves (Avicennia marina). Should disturbance of this species be required The proposed route is unlikely to support during construction, permits will be applied significant vegetation or threatened flora species for under the Fisheries Act 1994. due to the small size and highly disturbed and fragmented nature of the remaining habitat. • Cascade Gardens: These public gardens Vegetation within the proposed route currently include remnant vegetation which has been has minimal or no planning protection. substantially modified. There should be no direct impacts to this vegetation. Areas along the proposed route with remnant vegetation include: • Smith Street Motorway: Some necessary Fauna vegetation clearance will be required to A search of the Queensland Museum and accommodate the light rail infrastructure Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service fauna along the southern side of the motorway databases identified the possible presence of and Baratta Street. Most vegetation adjacent 29 threatened fauna species within the defined to the motorway is severely disturbed light rail study area. This included six species as a result of edge effects from existing listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Commonwealth development, and it is considered highly Environment Protection and Biodiversity unlikely that rare or threatened flora or Conservation Act 1999, and three species listed fauna species will be affected by light as ‘endangered’ and ten species listed as ‘rare’ rail. Clearing during construction will be under the Queensland Nature Conservation minimised where possible. (Wildlife) Regulation 1994. • Loders Creek: Remnant open forest along The level of disturbance, lack of connectivity, Loders Creek is already severely disturbed and ongoing encroachment from adjacent and weed-infested, although remaining development mean it is highly unlikely that vegetation suggests this area was once the threatened fauna species identified by the representative of remnant ecosystem (RE) database searches use the proposed route.. 12.3.51. Weed control measures will Habitat clearing would be minimised, with large ensure that the proposed light rail system hollow-bearing trees marked for preservation does not result in further weed spread. where possible. • Short Street: Some large, planted camphor laurels and native fig trees provide amenity Hydrology and hydraulics values and character to the street. Should The proposed route option incorporates five light rail construction require it, lopping is water crossings — two estuaries of Loders recommended rather than total removal of Creek, the Nerang River, and two crossings these trees. over Jarriparilla Cove. • Nerang River: Marine plants near the Detailed hydraulic modelling near Loders Creek proposed Nerang River light rail crossing during detailed design would fully assess the are minimal, and include occasional grey potential impact of the proposal on flooding, and the effectiveness of flood mitigation measures. 1 Melaleuca quinquenervia tall open forest near coastal alluvial plains 17 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT To ensure that flood levels are not increased absorptive materials, rail groove sealing, and adjacent to the Nerang River and its tributary pads and bearings. Jarriparilla Cove, the proposed light rail system would have the same level of flood immunity as Visual amenity the existing Gold Coast Highway. Overall, the visual impacts along most of the Drainage design should embrace water- proposed route are assessed as low, as the sensitive urban design (WSUD) principles and environment is generally highly urbanised. incorporate permanent water-quality control Urban design strategies would mitigate and, devices to reduce erosion, sedimentation and in many areas, enhance the properties and waste transport. Riparian vegetation would be localities through which the proposed route preserved or rehabilitated to reduce potential passes, creating a dynamic, effective urban riverbank erosion and sedimentation. transport system. The light rail catenary system, support poles Acid sulfate soils and contaminated land and wiring are the main potential visual amenity Areas of the proposed light rail route cross impacts of the proposal. However, technology land that may contain potential and/or actual now being used in Bordeaux, France, acid sulfate soils. Acid sulfate soils (ASS) occur incorporates a third rail line to provide ground- naturally, usually in low-lying coastal areas level power to light rail vehicles, eliminating and mainly below 5 metres Australian Height the need for a catenary system. Investigation Datum (AHD). Undisturbed ASS are benign, but of third-rail technology as part of the detailed disturbance by excavation or drainage exposes design is recommended. sulfidic compounds to the air, producing sulfuric acid. Careful site management is necessary to Would private properties be affected by reduce soil disturbance, and if soil disturbance is the proposal? unavoidable, to contain acid sulfate soils so no The proposed light rail system would have limited acid water discharges into waterways. impact on some freehold properties along the The proposed light rail depot site near Council’s route. No private homes would be resumed Baratta Street Tip may be contaminated and along the proposed alignment and only one require further investigation. commercial development requires full acquisition. The remainder of the proposed light rail route would use land currently controlled by the State Air quality Government or local government. Access to The proposal is expected to improve local air some private properties could be restricted to quality, as it will be powered by electricity. A ‘left-in, left-out’ driveways. net reduction of Gold Coast City’s greenhouse gas emissions is therefore expected, and the Construction full greenhouse gas benefits should be further investigated. The following impacts may be anticipated as a result of light rail construction: Noise and vibration • some vegetation removal Noise generated from light rail operation is • temporary water-quality impacts in the expected to comply with the relevant maximum vicinity of Loders Creek and Nerang River, and 24-hour average continuous criteria. Friction which can be managed through erosion- modifiers could be used on tight corners to control and sediment-control measures reduce ‘wheel squeal’. • acid sulfate soils, managed through an Acid The operational vibration impacts are expected Sulfate Soil Management Plan to be minimal since current light rail technology • air-quality impacts from dust generated by incorporates vibration-minimising components, construction equipment, vehicle movements such as anti-vibration suspension, axle springs, and material excavation 18 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT • temporary increase in ambient noise levels • upgrade of bus stop and interchange facilities near near the alignment the light rail route alignment to establish a new • vibration from pile driving, rock and/or benchmark for ongoing enhancements associated concrete breaking, heavy construction with the introduction of the light rail. equipment and vibrating steel-drummed rollers Traffic and parking • traffic management and restriction of access Will light rail block traffic? to local businesses. The light rail proposal is expected to contribute to An environmental management plan is improved traffic flow along the Gold Coast Highway, recommended to mitigate light rail construction by removing buses from traffic lanes and using a impacts. segregated public transport corridor. Signalisation of Will existing bus services be affected? six intersections along the proposed light rail route may also improve traffic circulation and reduce delay The proposed light rail system will affect some to through traffic; however, in some cases increased bus routes that currently travel from Broadbeach traffic circulation may occur as a result of restricting to Southport and further west to Parkwood. selected side streets to ‘left-in, left-out’ access. Introduction of a light rail system provides an opportunity to rationalise some trunk routes of Delays at side streets (to a maximum of 120 seconds, the existing bus network and the reallocation of every 6 minutes) may also occur as a result of: services to less well serviced routes. This would • introducing light rail signalling priority at existing need to be further investigated by TransLink with signalised intersections the contracted operator. • signalisation of six intersections The proposed light rail system’s impact on the • shared traffic and light rail operations in two wider bus network is expected to be positive. sections of the route, on Short Street and the Assuming bus route kilometres are reinvested Gold Coast Highway. across the network, there is expected to be a net gain of 20%–30% in increased bus Will light rail affect parking? patronage due to the introduction of light rail Although some on-street parking along the proposed on the Gold Coast. This change represents light rail route would be removed, the net amount of an increase of about 9,000–13,000 additional parking would increase. boardings per day over the ‘no light rail’ scenario About 600 ‘general’ and ‘time-limited’ car spaces for the Gold Coast public transport network in would be removed along the proposed light rail 2008 (opening year). corridor. However, up to 2,500 spaces are proposed Measures to best manage the potential changes at park-and-ride facilities at Parkwood station, Loders of light rail on bus routes include: Creek station and possibly near the Broadbeach station. • early advice of alterations to bus services so that passenger consultation can be effective Will light rail affect emergency services? and passengers are able to readjust their As light rail would use a dedicated corridor and travel schedules replace buses travelling in adjacent traffic lanes, there • design and installation of selected bus priority would be fewer public transport vehicles using the treatments along altered and unaltered Gold Coast Highway. Emergency services could bus routes to ‘balance’ the perception that benefit from the reduced traffic congestion adjacent network improvements are being provided to the light rail route and greater access in emergency for both light rail and bus modes. These situations. should be provided in accordance with the However, should overhead catenary systems and TransLink network planning program for the wiring be used, specific operating procedures will be 2004–2007 triennium required to overcome height clearance requirements • reallocation of kerbside car parking at key for emergency services if fire hoses and extension public transport network pinch points to equipment are required. Third-rail technology would ease the flow of buses through these sites overcome these problems. 19 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 6 6. What are the benefits of the proposed light rail system? While introduction of a light rail system would achieve the strategic objectives of providing a functional mass transit public transport service for the Gold Coast, the light rail mode presents a number of key opportunities, including shaping travel patterns, integrating transport and land uses, and catalysing economic development. Transport benefits Light rail routes are legible Certainty — passengers, especially those Light rail offers flexibility in design and access less familiar with the Gold Coast, have greater Versatility — it can be grade separated in certainty how to access the service and where it overpasses and tunnels, run on ballasted rail track, will take them. and run on tracks embedded in the road, either segregated from traffic or sharing existing streets Permanence — permanent structures and malls with traffic, pedestrians and cyclists (see provide a positive effect on patronage, urban Figure 6.1). development and city image. Light rail is more popular for tourist travel Attractive to tourists — light rail systems in other cities attract a large tourism market, with routes providing services through tourist areas. City signature — the light rail service could become part of the cityscape and the Gold Coast ‘holiday experience’. Light rail vehicles are comfortable and accessible Accessibility — vehicles have low floor access, flush with platform level and easily accessible Figure 6.1 On-street alignment, Orleans Light Rail for prams, wheelchairs and people with walking (France) disabilities (see Figure 6.2). Convenience — it can be brought to the door of Ambience and comfort — vehicles are facilities such as shopping centres and Universities. airconditioned, include forward and side-facing seats, have large vestibules at the door openings Flexibility — smaller size and weight permits light which can store luggage, and can accommodate rail use in narrower corridors, on steeper slopes and wheelchairs and bicycle racks. on sharper curves than heavy rail. Figure 6.2 Low floor light rail vehicle (Strasbourg, Light rail offers improved speed and reliability Mostly unaffected by traffic conditions — the system is largely segregated from traffic. Reliability — the services are reliable and able to keep closer to timetabling than existing bus services. Speed — wide doors allow faster passenger boarding times than buses. The use of integrated ticketing ‘smart cards’ can be expected to reduce boarding times to about 0.4 seconds per light rail passenger. compared to 3.6 seconds per passenger for conventional bus passengers) (Parsons Brinckerhoff 2004). France) 20 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT (1.3 people /vehicle); a single light rail track can carry from 3,000 to 6,000 people per hour. A bus carries 60 to 90 passengers per vehicle (including standing passengers); a light rail vehicle can carry from 200 to 300 passengers, depending on length. Reduced congestion — an effective public transport system would contribute to encouraging some people to leave their cars at home. Light rail has minimal impact to traffic Fewer vehicles — fewer vehicles are in Figure 6.3 Integrated bus and light rail interchanges, Strasbourg (France) service (due to higher capacity vehicles), and they operate in a corridor generally segregated from traffic. Segregated track — light rail vehicles would Light rail routes can be extended to meet operate mainly on a dedicated right-of-way future needs alignment with no impact on traffic flow, except Potential to extend — the system can extend at some intersections where delay may occur as demand warrants, land uses intensify, and as a result of light rail signalling priority; only two traffic congestion increases; expansion requires sections of track are shared with traffic: in Short consideration of future corridor requirements, Street, Southport (190 metres) and on the Gold availability of capital funding, etc. Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise (1,330 metres). Future extension — as identified in the IRTP , and CTP possible future stages could extend light rail from Broadbeach station, Broadbeach Benefits to Gold Coast residents to Burleigh and even to Coolangatta in the long and visitors term. Accessibility to key services Light rail integrates with the existing Doorstep access — access would be public transport network provided to such key services as: Interchange with other public • education facilities (Griffith University, transport modes (e.g. heavy rail, buses Southport Primary School, Gold Coast and monorail) — the light rail vehicles TAFE) can interchange in separated and at-grade • medical facilities (Gold Coast Hospital and environments with heavy rail and buses (see surrounding medical precinct) Figure 6.3). The proposed system includes an integrated heavy rail – light rail station • major shopping facilities (Australia Fair and at Parkwood and integrated bus – light rail Pacific Fair shopping centres, Cavill Street interchanges at Southport and Broadbeach Mall) stations. • cafe and restaurant precincts (Tedder Integration with the regional transport Avenue, Main Beach; Surf Parade, network — a seamless public transport service Broadbeach) between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, a key • business and employment (Griffith origin of domestic visitor trips, would capture University, Gold Coast Hospital and medical this market. precinct, Southport CBD and Surfers Light rail meets capacity needs in the Paradise precincts) corridor Increased capacity — an urban arterial lane carries 900 vehicles/1,170 people per hour 21 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT • improved access to heavy rail and buses (proposed Benefits to the built and natural Parkwood transport interchange providing environment connection to Helensvale, Coomera and Brisbane; bus interchanges at Australia Fair and Pacific Fair Light rail enhances urban amenity providing connection throughout Gold Coast City; Community enhancement — light rail improves Surfers Paradise tourist coach interchange providing urban amenity, especially when associated with car connection to regional tourist areas) restraint policies, complementary streetscaping and • beaches and recreational facilities (Main Beach, pedestrian facilities. Figures 6.4 and 6.5 below show Surfers Paradise, Northcliffe, Broadbeach, Cascade how removing all non-essential vehicles in Kliber Gardens) Square, Strasbourg, and pedestrianising the area have dramatically improved the urban amenity of the • entertainment and tourist facilities (Gold Coast square. Convention Centre, Jupiters Casino, Cavill Street Mall and Broadbeach). Light rail meets and/or shapes travel patterns Local travellers — users would be attracted by high-frequency services, competitive travel times and proximity of light rail stations to major activity locations (e.g. Griffith University, Gold Coast Hospital, Australia Fair, Surfers Paradise and Pacific Fair). Intercity travellers — the light rail connection to the proposed heavy rail station at Parkwood and a seamless public transport service from Brisbane has the potential Figure 6.4 Kliber Square before light rail, Strasbourg (France) to attract car users from the Pacific Motorway to public transport. Light rail provides for planning certainty and influences urban form Long-term confidence — the permanence of light rail infrastructure provides planners, developers and buyers with confidence about the long-term future of an area. Desirable, sustainable development — light rail can shape urban development in a desirable and sustainable manner, encouraging transit-oriented Figure 6.5 Kliber Square after light rail and development that emphasises pedestrian movements complementary pedestrianisation, Strasbourg (France) and a sense of community. Light rail has lower noise and vibration Light rail provides increased social equity impacts Improved social equity — light rail provides safe, Lower noise — electrically powered light rail accessible public transport for those unable to drive or vehicles are quieter than heavy rail, buses and most without access to a car. other vehicular traffic (buses are estimated to be 5 to 15 dB(A) noisier than light rail (Sydney Light Rail Light rail can convert car trips to public Company, 1997)). transport trips Vibration minimisation — modern light rail Reduced car use — in cities with new light rail technology minimises vibration by using encapsulated systems many car users have switched to light rail (e.g. rails, rail track laid on floating slabs to isolate in Salt Lake City and in Denver, 45% and 39% of light vibration from surrounding structures, anti-vibration rail users, respectively, are former car users.). suspension, axle springs, absorptive materials, rail groove sealing, and pads and bearings. 22 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Light rail has low visual impacts relocated or removed to make room for light Visual impact reduction —visual impact rail alignments. Parking and kerbside allocation of overhead wiring and catenary systems may management strategies are recommended in be reduced by ‘third rail’ technology (see association with the proposal. Figures 6.6 and 6.7); streetscaping and urban revitalisations measures are also effective in Deliverability reducing the visual impacts of light rail. (see Figures 6.8 and 6.9) Light rail has community support Popular mode choice — of approximately Light rail has reduced emissions 600 survey respondents, 72% thought light Better air quality — light rail vehicles are rail was a big improvement to the existing bus electric and produce no local emissions. services; an additional 14% viewed light rail as a minor improvement to existing buses. Light rail has minimal business, commercial and parking impacts Light rail affordability Compared to other public transport modes, An affordable transport solution — light opportunities for increased business and rail provides a high-capacity line haul system commercial activities can be best supported by that has the potential to attract private sector the presence of a light rail system. funding, provides a catalyst for urban investment Parking reallocation — access driveways, along the corridor and initiates strong economic parking and loading zones may need to be development across the region. Figure 6.8 Before: Major city freeway has low Figure 6.6.Third rail (Bordeaux, France) visual appeal (Strasbourg, France) Figure 6.9 After: Light rail and associated Figure 6.7 Third rail light rail vehicles, complementary measures improve the visual (Bordeaux, France) quality of the street (Strasbourg, France 23 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT Strong benefit–cost ratio — although more • environmental benefits (reductions in local air expensive to construct and operate and less flexible pollution, noise, vibration, greenhouse gas than bus-based systems, overall it is considered that emissions, and water pollution from road run-off) light rail captures more benefits and is potentially that are tentatively valued at around $5m per more attractive to private sector investors year, and which if added to the travel and access benefits would increase the BCR to 1.9 and NPV to $310m Travel time savings • urban intensification and increased economic vitality along the light rail route Altered travel patterns — a shift in travel from private vehicles to light rail reduces time spent • reduced road damage valued at around $2m per travelling in private vehicles, partially compensated year and reduced need for investment to expand road capacity in the proposed light rail corridor by an increase in time travelling in public transport and surrounding areas (in 2011, this saving is estimated to be around 5,000 hours per day across the Gold Coast network). • the light rail system, in conjunction with other initiatives, can be a powerful contributor to the process of revitalising international tourism on the Public transport mode-share Gold Coast, with potential benefits in 2005 of over $100m per year in additional visitor spending improvements and around 1,000 permanent jobs Benefits result from: • around 3,500 person-years of employment • increased perceived attractiveness of light rail generated by the construction phase of the Gold over bus Coast light rail • increased local and inter-regional accessibility • 90 new permanent jobs and around $12m per afforded by having a light rail connection to the annum injected into the Gold Coast economy heavy rail network at Parkwood station (i.e. a in wages and payments for goods and services relatively seamless connection between Brisbane during the operating phase of the light rail and the Gold Coast, and to destinations further • international experience suggests land values within afield as well as locally) walking distance of the light rail route are likely to • as the proposed route is through one of the increase in excess of 10% within walking distance highest density regions of Australia, light rail will of the light rail route, with higher residential and achieve a high mode share commercial rents and higher capital gains. • the light rail route’s proximity to residential, retail, tourism, government (e.g. hospitals) and Transit-oriented development educational facilities (e.g. Griffith University) Transit-oriented development (TOD) can include • high-frequency operations (every 6 minutes during peak periods), expected high level of relatively compact, mixed-use commercial and reliability (on-time running) and comfort for residential development oriented around centrally riders due to the low floor and modern vehicle located light rail, heavy rail or bus stations. Benefits characteristics. include increased retail and business activity at light rail stations, which contribute to additional public The implementation of light rail is predicted to increase transport ridership. public transport mode share by between 33% and 54%. Consequently, the public transport mode share Strategies identified for the proposed Gold Coast light on the Gold Coast could increase from an existing level rail system include: of about 3.2% to nearly 5.0% by 2011. • locating stations in areas with development/ The increase in mode share due to light rail is redevelopment potential a positive outcome for the Gold Coast region, • encouraging higher intensity development around particularly in view of the region’s aim of achieving station sites to increase the number of activities a 7% public transport mode share by 2011 (Gold within the walking catchment of each station Coast City Council 1998). The light rail proposal • providing direct pedestrian connections from the is expected to achieve about 60%–70% of the stations to adjacent communities required target at the opening year of 2008. • maintaining a balance between commercial and residential uses around each station • adapting land use designations around each station Economic benefits to designations which are more transit-supportive, Expected economic benefits include: without significant changes in land use density and land use type • travel and access benefits that produce a project benefit–cost ratio (BCR) of 1.7 and net present • encouraging and supporting partnerships with the 24 value (NPV) of $230m development community. GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 7 7. How could the light rail be constructed? Construction of the Gold Coast light rail system could follow the completion of an assessment of the proposal under the State Government’s Value for Money Framework and assessment of the potential for private sector involvement. Following completion of the Gold Coast light rail feasibility study, and subsequent to achieving government approval, the project could move into the development of a business case. An implementation schedule for the business case and subsequent stages is illustrated in Figure 7.1. A project delivery mechanism has not yet been State Government’s output specifications and decided, although consideration should be given to contract documents. structures that allow for private sector investment Notwithstanding the delivery method chosen, and return. An example structure may be a design- experience worldwide has clearly demonstrated build-operate-maintain contract, which allows for the need for a unity of purpose from government competitive tendering for the delivery of most aspects stakeholders in successful project delivery. of the light rail system. The successful tenderer(s) and Therefore it is essential that the Queensland their contractors would determine the actual means Government and Gold Coast City Council develop of construction, including detailed design, scheduling a cooperative approach to deliver this project. of works and overall timing, in accordance with the Figure 7.1 Implementation schedule Implementation Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Month: Month: Month: Month: activity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 development of business case expressions of interest bidding process management of project agreements construction fleet procurement system test and commission operation 25 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 8 8. Conclusions What are the conclusions of the feasibility study? The proposed Gold Coast Light Rail would provide a range of immediate and long-term benefits for the Gold Coast region. The Gold Coast is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia with travel demands exceeding population growth. In order to tackle congestion effectively, there is a need to squeeze much more capacity from existing corridors. It has become apparent that without investment into A successful public transport system needs dedicated the right type of transport system, the effects of traffic corridors for on-time running. A light rail system in such a congestion will result in a declining quality of life on the corridor could attract from 25,000 to 30,000 passengers Gold Coast, and potentially have a significant negative per day at opening. This daily patronage is expected to impact on tourism and economic development. then grow to between 74,000 and 125,000 passengers Previous reports suggest that the Surfers Paradise per day by 2038. region is already stagnating, due in part to the lack of efficient and reliable transport. Environmental effects A solution that increases public transport use, facilitates Based on the information examined during the sustainable land uses and revitalises economic development of the review of environmental factors, development is critical to the economic prosperity of a formal impact assessment study does not appear the city. necessary. In addition, no information to date is expected Based on the assessments undertaken within to trigger a referral under the Environment Protection and the scope of this study, the proposed light Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. rail system is a highly appropriate transport There is a low possibility that further detailed solution that best achieves these outcomes. investigations and/or stakeholder consultation may This study concluded that light rail is the preferred long- highlight significant environmental impacts from the term public transport system. However, recognising project that cannot be adequately mitigated and/or that the development of such a system could be some managed. years away, the pressures from growing demands and increasing congestion levels in the shorter term confirm that there is a need to act now. The findings Economic assessment of the Gold Coast Light Rail feasibility study should be The proposed light rail system is estimated to cost prepared for early government consideration to enable between $320m and $360m for the 17-kilometre a decision to be made about proceeding with any route. A detailed assessment of economic impacts of the infrastructure and service improvements. proposed system showed that travel and access benefits of the system produce a project benefit–cost ratio (BCR) of 1.7, with a net present value (NPV) of $230m. Patronage The assessment also showed that the environmental A detailed assessment of patronage benefits of the benefits of the proposal could translate into economic proposed Gold Coast light rail system found that a benefits of $5m per year which, if added to the travel direct benefit of the proposed system would be a shift and access benefits, would increase the BCR to 1.9 and in travel from private vehicles to light rail. On a typical NPV to $310m. Other indirect economic benefits of the weekday in 2011, it is estimated light rail would reduce system could include increased urban intensification, and total private vehicle travel time across the Gold Coast economic vitality; reduced road damage; a revitalised network by around 5,000 hours per day, and reduce tourist market; and increased employment. total kilometres driven by private vehicles by more than 300,000 kilometres per day. Reductions in private vehicle use also translate directly into savings in vehicle operating costs, and road accident and road damage costs. 26 GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL SUMMARY REPORT DRAFT 9 9. References KPMG (2002) Surfers Paradise Traffic Management Scheme: Economic Impact Assessment, report prepared for Gold Coast City Council. Gold Coast City Council (1998) Gold Coast City Transport Plan. Gold Coast City Council (2003) Our Community: A Social Profile of Gold Coast City, The Social Research Section, Gold Coast City Council. Mee, M (1998) ‘Light rail in Sydney: who uses it and does it reduce car use?’, presented at the 20th Conference of the Australian Institutes of Transport Research (CAITR ’98), University of Sydney, 14 – 15 December, 1998 (unpublished). Parsons Brinckerhoff (2004), Central Sydney Light Rail Transport Operations Alternatives, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Sydney. Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning (1998), South East Queensland Regional Framework for Growth Management (RFGM). Queensland Transport (1997), Integrated Regional Transport Plan for South East Queensland (IRTP). Queensland Transport (1999), Transport 2007 — An Action Plan for South East Queensland. Sinclair Knight Mertz (SKM) (1998), Line Haul Foundation and Feasibility Study, commissioned by Gold Coast City Council. Tourism Queensland (2003), Gold Coast Regional Summary. Sydney Light Rail Company (1997), Light Rail in Sydney, Issues and Perspectives, Sydney Light Rail Company, Sydney. 27 DRAFT DRAFT