AdeLINK tram network: Adelaide tram network expansion

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Adelaide public transport capacity
Priority Initiative
Adelaide, SA
Smaller cities and regional centres
Urban Congestion
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
SA Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that the performance of urban roads and urban public transport in Adelaide is a key challenge for South Australia.

The Audit estimated that the cost of delay on Adelaide’s urban transport network was $1.4 billion in 2016 and would grow to $2.6 billion in 2031 in the absence of investments or other changes beyond those already funded.

The major public transport destination in Adelaide is the CBD, with most public transport use being on buses. Public transport use in Adelaide is significantly lower than in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In Adelaide, the proportion of passengers using public transport for journeys to work is just under 9%, whereas it is 11.6% in Brisbane, 15.6% in Melbourne and 22.8% in Sydney.

Adelaide’s recent employment growth has been centred on the inner and middle suburbs, whereas population growth has been strongest in the middle and outer suburbs. Existing public transport services do not support urban density. A continuation of existing land use patterns will result in greater reliance on and use of private passenger vehicles, in turn leading to further road congestion and delays at the expense of economic efficiency.

Proposed initiative

The initiative is a major expansion of the tram network in Adelaide, creating a tram network around the CBD and inner suburbs. The proposed link to Port Adelaide would entail conversion of existing diesel heavy rail to a modern electric light rail service, which would integrate with land use changes and facilitate increased densification.

The completed initiative would constitute tram services across inner Adelaide and the CBD, including:

  • to Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide, Semaphore, Grange and West Lakes
  • to Adelaide Airport and Henley Beach
  • to Unley and the south
  • to Norwood and Magill Campus
  • to Prospect and the north
  • a tram loop around the CBD.

The South Australian Government has committed to establishing the South Australian Public Transport Authority to improve public transport services. It has also committed Infrastructure SA to analysing options for extensions to tram services, especially in the Adelaide CBD.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).