Publications / Construction

7 Jun 17
Connecting Brisbane - an integrated public transport strategy


  • Anyone involved in the delivery of public transport infrastructure.


  • The Honourable Jackie Trad and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk released a joint statement regarding Connecting Brisbane which outlines the joint vision for public transport development in South East Queensland.

On 6 June 2017, Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, the Honourable Jackie Trad released a joint statement with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk regarding the transformation of the public transport system in South East Queensland.  Connecting Brisbane looks at two fundamentals of this - how to provide the necessary infrastructure and how to improve the services.

Connecting Brisbane proposes a holistic approach to public transport, taking in to account all three levels of government and varied transport infrastructure including heavy rail, bus, metro and ferry as well as the public land uses associated with each.

Issues identified
In regards to rail, the statement identified specific congestion points that would need addressing, including Central Station and the Merivale Bridge and Victoria Bridge crossings, if rising demand is to be met.  General road congestion causes similar issues for bus routes.

Overall it has been estimated that the costs associated with road congestion will double to an estimated $4.1 – $5.9 billion in Brisbane alone by 2030.  This is the greatest estimated increase of any major capital city in Australia and includes increased costs of freight movements, tourism effects and developments.

Future projects
The strategy initially looks at investments in new rail projects, including Cross River Rail, a Brisbane Metro Rapid Transit system and a new generation of rolling stock, including the European Train Control System (ETCS). The total combined cost of these three initiatives alone is estimated to be close to $10 billion.

Additionally there are plans to better complement the rail network with the bus networks.  This would involve improvements or extra interchange points to improve the appeal of public transport over the use of private vehicles, but also to create a true ‘turn up and go’ network which moves people into, through or around the city rather than the traditional origin to city journey. 

The statement also outlines specific initiatives at different stages of development, including expansions or improvements to the extended networks in Ipswich, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

With these improvements to aid the long distance commute and the rail infrastructure projects intended to provide ‘trunk’ services which bypass Central Station and consist of new interchange points, both the State Government and Brisbane City Council hope to create other business clusters outside the CBD.  Possibly in much the same way that Parramatta has become another CBD of Sydney.

Although the joint statement does not provide definitive answers to all public transport issues, it confirms that the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council will continue the joint development of infrastructure plans.  From the private sector’s point of view, this is encouraging.

Additionally, the governments seek to identify targeted action which may include incorporating emerging technologies into a mass transit system such as autonomous vehicles and demand responsive transport.  The ETCS system will play an initial key role in this regard.

Overall the document is marketed as a guide to the development of the public transport system and gives an insight into the level of investment in transport infrastructure in the near future.  More will be expected by the private sector when the respective governments hand down their budgets in the coming weeks. 


Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way.  It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases.  Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice.  Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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