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On track to a more active transport network in Perth

Perth’s transport network is under pressure from rapid economic and population growth. By around 2050, Perth’s population is expected to increase from 2 million to 3.5 million – making it Australia’s fastest growing city. Fundamental changes to the city’s transport network are required to drive resilience around existing infrastructure and minimise urban sprawl.

 

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Technical Executive for Integrated Transport Planning for Western Australia Peter Kartsidimas reviews Perth’s big plans for active transport.

Perth has a unique topography that stretches over 150 kilometres along the coast, and up to 50 kilometres inland. The city’s urban sprawl is already twice that of Munich and three times that of Barcelona’s city footprint. Maintaining high levels of accessibility to centres of activity as the population grows requires innovative solutions and designs that are modelled on mobility trends.

The Western Australian Government has developed a vision to keep Perth’s population moving. The Transport Plan, entitled ‘Transport @ 3.5 Million,’ lays the foundation for infrastructure needs over the next 35 years to ensure that Perth remains one of the most liveable cities in the world.

The Plan also highlights the continued shift towards ‘active transport’ (cycling and walking). Cycling currently represents about 2% of the more than six million trips taken in Perth each day. By extending and connecting the active transport network it is estimated that, by around 2050, cycling mode share could double to around 4% – or 500,000 trips per day.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff worked in partnership with the Department of Transport WA (DoT) to develop a plan for the bicycle network, which would ultimately inform the cycling component of Transport @ 3.5 Million. The initial stage involved a comprehensive literature review of the State Government’s strategic land use plans, local government bike plans, and structure plans for future redevelopment schemes. The team then used the GPS mapping tool Strava Labs to better understand which parts of the cycling network are most heavily utilised.

The bicycle network is the most ambitious cycling plan ever undertaken in an Australian city and sets out a blueprint for major investment in active transport infrastructure for the next four decades. A range of on-road and off-road cycling initiatives were identified for progressive rollout over the next 35 years, including ‘green bridges’ to improve connectivity across rivers and lakes. The most notable of these, the Three Points Bridge aims to connect Chidley Point, Point Walter, and Point Resolution in Perth’s western suburbs – reducing the average riding time from Perth to Fremantle to just 40 minutes.

We collaborated with the DoT to develop five alignment options and two concept designs for the Three Point Bridge – one cable stay, one suspension. The suspension option was selected as the preferred design as it comprises fewer spans, allowing for ease of navigation for sailing vessels in this stretch of the river. The bridge provides for the full separation of cyclists and pedestrians, while also linking in with the popular Point Water parkland to tap into the tourism potential.

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