Melbourne middle and outer suburban transport connectivity

Infrastructure Australia | Infrastructure Priority List |

Melbourne middle and outer suburban transport connectivity

icon stage 1
icon stage 1 red
icon stage 2
icon stage 2 red
icon stage 3
icon stage 3 red
icon stage
icon stage red
icon stage 4
icon stage 4 red

Melbourne middle and outer suburban transport connectivity

A graphic of the Australian continent with Vic state shaded and small dot representing Melbourne.
Melbourne, VIC
Fast-growing cities
Efficient urban transport networks
Victorian Government
Near term (0-5 years)
24 June 2022
Map showing proposed are for middle and outer suburban transport in Melbourne

Melbourne’s monocentric urban form is constraining the economic potential of Melbourne’s suburbs and contributes to inefficient infrastructure and service provision. Greater Melbourne is expected to grow to a population of 9 million and support approximately 4.8 million jobs by 2056.  While Melbourne’s central city has the greatest economic density, approximately 66% of jobs are spread across Melbourne’s middle and outer rings.

Without improvements in transport connectivity, businesses in the middle and outer rings will continue to be highly dispersed and there will be continued concentration of Victoria’s economic activity in the central city. Without complementary land-use and planning changes, congestion and crowding on the existing transport networks will persist and compound poor and inequitable access to jobs, recreation, healthcare and employment, as residential development in Melbourne’s urban sprawl continues, supported by outer Melbourne’s relative housing affordability.

Early-stage proposal

Strategic Fit

The proposal aims to address a long-recognised challenge of Melbourne’s monocentric urban sprawl and radial transport system by supporting the distribution and growth of housing, employment and other land uses in Melbourne’s middle and outer suburbs.  It also aims to enhance access to health, education and other services for regional Victorians. The proposal aligns with the Victorian Government’s 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy and Plan Melbourne, Melbourne’s principal planning strategy.  There are several related proposals on the Infrastructure Priority List, indicating that an integrated response to action would be needed as the related proposals progress.

Societal Impact

Addressing the identified problem would improve transport connectivity, reduce congestion and provide more equitable transport, employment and housing opportunities.  The proposal intends to support changing the employment and housing distribution across Melbourne to provide easier access to more productive and higher paid jobs and affordable housing.


To fully address the identified problems and achieve the targeted benefits, the proponent will need to develop an integrated package of measures which includes appropriate planning and policy changes to achieve housing and employment distribution targets. The likely scale of investment and delivery over multiple decades and locations will require detailed consideration and planning.

The proponent has established the Suburban Rail Loop Authority to plan and deliver a mass transit orbital rail system, and associated land use planning changes, that is intended to improve transport connectivity and surrounding station precincts and deliver more equitable employment outcomes. Planning approvals and early works for the project’s first stage (SRL East - Cheltenham to Box Hill) are underway.

Next steps

The Australian Government announced $2.2 billion in funding for the Suburban Rail Loop East program in the October 2022 Budget. 

Proponent to identify and analyse potential investment options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).


Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.