The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that the cost of road congestion and public transport crowding in Australia could increase from $19 billion in 2016 to $39.6 billion in 2031 without continued infrastructure investment. Although its root causes vary, it is a widespread problem across multiple corridors in Australian cities.
Addressing this problem through a program approach would enable the consistent use of data to maximise the productivity of smaller investments and enable a consistent definition of service levels across jurisdictions.
This initiative would involve a program of works focused on addressing capacity constraints and improving service levels on urban and regional rail networks, just as the National Optimisation Program – Roads proposes to do for road networks. These works could use data and technology to improve network operations, including signalling, timetabling, level‑crossing upgrades, sectorisation of freight and passenger corridors, and segregation of express and local passenger services, where appropriate.
The initiative would identify and prioritise a program of works nationally to help maximise the existing productive capacity of the rail network, which could delay the need for some large-scale investments.
Appendix C provides a list of submissions received by Infrastructure Australia in relation to this program initiative.
This initiative was originally included on the Infrastructure Priority List under the combined Network Optimisation Program initiative and was subsequently separated in 2018.
Proponent(s) to be identified.