Gold Coast Light Rail Feasibility Study - PDF

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					Gold Coast Light Rail
Feasibility Study
Summary report

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

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


   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

           GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                    SUMMARY REPORT

    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
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

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                              SUMMARY REPORT


 Figure 1.1 Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route

           • Parkwood
                                                      •     •       Street                Southport
                                                                     West               •
                                                                     •        •
                                                                              Coast           • Brighton Parade

                                                                                     Main Beach    •
                                                                                     Paradise Waters
                                                                                     Cypress Avenue      •
                                                                                        Surfers Paradise
                                                                                          Clifford Street

                                                                                     Cascade Gardens

                                                                                        Hooker Boulevard     •

         GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                                             SUMMARY REPORT

    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

                                                                  resident persons














                                                                                  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


                        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

                               Percentage growth over 16 years, 1995 – 2011

                                                                              80                                                          72%
                                                                              70                                 62%
                                                                              60       51%
                                                                                    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
    GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                    SUMMARY REPORT

              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
                  • 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.

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                                  SUMMARY REPORT


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
                   • 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

    GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                              SUMMARY REPORT


                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
                    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
                                                                   • 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
                                                                   • Traffic impact
                                                                   • Flexibility

                                                                   • Key stakeholder acceptance
                         Deliverability                            • Community support
                         25%                                       • Financial viability
                                                                   • Construction impacts

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                                SUMMARY REPORT


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



                               Ballasted track                    Ballasted track

               GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                   SUMMARY REPORT


     Figure 4.1a Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route and stations

                                                                                                    Segregated track

Creek                                   Queen
                                                                          • Southport
                                         West                  Hospital

                                           •                         •
                                                                                               • Brighton Parade

         Ballasted track               Segregated track                    Track shared with general traffic

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                    SUMMARY REPORT


 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

      GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                             SUMMARY REPORT


     Figure 4.1 Proposed Gold Coast Light Rail route and stations

                 Clifford Street     •
                                                                    Track shared with general traffic


             Cascade Gardens
                                                                    Segregated median track


                    Hooker Boulevard

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                            SUMMARY REPORT


                        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)

     GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                SUMMARY REPORT


                 Track                                                 or footpath surface, allowing pedestrians, cyclists
                                                                       and other users to cross the light rail tracks
                 Except for a single track section between
                 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

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                           SUMMARY REPORT


                        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.
                                                                             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.

     GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                  SUMMARY REPORT


                 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)

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                                        SUMMARY REPORT


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.
                    Melaleuca quinquenervia tall open forest near coastal alluvial plains                                                       17
     GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                SUMMARY REPORT


                 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
                 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

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                              SUMMARY REPORT


                        • 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
                        • 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.
         GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                  SUMMARY REPORT


     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
                                                                          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
                                                                          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
GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                                SUMMARY REPORT


                                                                               (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

                                                                               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)
                                                                               • 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)
                        Increased capacity — an urban arterial lane
                        carries 900 vehicles/1,170 people per hour
     GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                         SUMMARY REPORT


            • 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
            to attract car users from the Pacific Motorway to public

            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.

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                           SUMMARY REPORT


                        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

     GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                        SUMMARY REPORT

              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


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:
                            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

    bidding process

    of project



    system test and


         GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                       SUMMARY REPORT


     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

GOLD COAST LIGHT RAIL                                                                                               SUMMARY REPORT


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

                        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.