Linking Perth through METRONET and Mid-Tier Public Transport

The State Government’s METRONET project is a much-needed transport project for Perth, expanding the reach of the passenger rail network throughout inner, middle and outer metropolitan suburbs currently not serviced by trains.

With population expected to increase to 3.5m by 2050, and with parking at train stations an ongoing issue and catching a bus on time not always possible, what if Perth’s public transport network was linked with more than just a choice of bus or train?

It’s an issue that councils and administration have been working to solve independently – until now. Rather than consider the transport corridors for one local government area, a consortium of 15 local governments have created an alliance to look at a broader transport offering that includes Mid-Tier Public Transport.

As a complement to Perth’s existing and pending fixed rail network and bus routes, the consortium has identified the need for a Mid-Tier Public Transport system given projected population increase forecasts. Mid-tier transport can consist of light rail, bus rapid transit or trackless tram technology options, connecting commuters within suburbs and activity hubs that METRONETS’s hard rail may not currently service. Connecting mid-tier transport to METRONET  further assists with the transport needs of a growing population, leading to significant traffic congestion relief and ease of mobility.
This represents more transport choices for how you get to where you need to go, connecting METRONET train stations with activity centres and employment hubs, such as  schools, university, TAFE, health care, shopping, hospitality venues, offices and supporting visiting family and friends.

A flyer that provides a snapshot of the project can be viewed here.

Trackless Tram examples

Planning for the future

The consortium is working towards identifying potential future transit corridors in the Perth metropolitan area, conducive to mid-tier public transport. By identifying the corridors earlier, local governments can forward plan and tailor their Local Planning Schemes to ensure key mid-tier transport routes – and land allocation – are factored into urban design and land use planning.
Councils want to plan their urban infrastructure and housing options collaboratively to ensure longer-term planning incorporates diverse transport options. Mid-tier transport will support the development of housing diversity to help deliver affordable housing for  an emerging workforce and community members. Mid-Tier transport will also have the benefit of reducing transport costs for households and reduce congestion on our roads by offering the community a viable alternative to the private automobile for travel. 
Local governments are committed to delivering the recommendations of the State Government’s Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million urban strategy which outlines urban growth and planning now for a future we know is coming.
The Perth and Peel population is projected to increase to 3.5 million by 2050, and people are most likely to want to live in urban centres close to work and amenities. The foresight to think ahead means the ability for urban planners to design community hubs, business precincts and integrated transport options that anticipate Perth’s future housing needs. By planning now, local governments could save future generations the expense of retrofitting a far more restricted urban environment.
The intent is for the consortium’s work to be integrated into a State Government-led Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for Perth that will identify Mid-Tier Public Transport corridors for Perth. This will be supported by concept planning that will lead to more detailed design and business case planning.  Once councils have that plan for Perth, local governments will have a clear path to keep residents, ratepayers, businesses and visitors up-to-date on local land usage and transport choices available in their communities.

Far-reaching benefits

 Mid-Tier Public Transport is not a new concept. It has been employed effectively in other states of Australia as well as overseas. An example is the Gold Coast Light Rail which links the centre of the Gold Coast with Griffith University and Gold Coast Hospital and carries 18,000 passengers per day. 

Linking Perth through Mid-Tier Public Transport options has the following benefits:
  • significantly increases the use of public transport, reducing car usage and congestion as a result;
  • complements Perth’s METRONET and help connect dense urban centres not directly serviced by a major rail route;
  • supports housing affordability by offering transport choices that mean people don’t have to live on a train line to save on petrol.More accessible transport allows for the development of diverse housing options that cater to a broader range of the community;
  • creates greater connectivity between Perth’s eastern and western suburbs;
  • creates direct links to employment hubs, learning centres, shopping precincts and tourist spots;
  • transform the way people live and travel across Perth and Peel, offering more options for access to healthcare, food and other essential services;
  • supports local businesses as a result of more passing traffic along mid-tier transport routes, resulting in greater exposure and patronage opportunities;
  • creates investment, employment and job opportunities – during both construction and operational stages – boosting the WA’s economy;
  • ensures the city can cater for a wide variety of community events across Perth and Peel for both residents and visitors; and
  • decreases Perth and Peel’s reliance on cars, creating an environmentally aware, transit-based destination, increasing sustainability and reducing environmental impact.
What the Consortium is seeking from State Government?
The Consortium is seeking the following from the State Government:
  • Announcement from the State Government that it will prepare a Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for Perth
  • Funding over two financial years (that is, 2023/24 and 2024/25) to develop the Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for the Perth and Peel region.
  • Complete the Strategy in the 2024/25 financial year. 
The consortium is keen to partner with the State Government to prepare this important plan. 

What’s in a Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy?
To provide confidence to local government and the development industry, the Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy will need to include as a minimum, the following components:
the identification of all Mid-Tier Public Transport route alignments within the Perth and Peel area;
  • all route alignments to be identified at a road level supported by a concept plan that identifies the adaptability of the route for all Mid-Tier Public Transport vehicle options;
  • the preparation of corridor width plans to identify if widening of existing roads are required;
  • identification of areas where vehicle maintenance and storage is to occur;
  • identification of priority routes for implementation and further investigation;
  • undertaking of traffic and patronage modelling to support route selection;
  • undertaking land intensity planning to support route selection; and
  • engagement with local governments in preparing the strategy.
Completion of the above work in the strategy will enable the Department for Planning, Lands and Heritage to initiate the necessary Metropolitan Region Scheme amendments to confirm the Mid-Tier Public Transport corridors and Local Planning Scheme amendments to confirm the routes and land use planning to support the Mid-Tier Public Transport network.  The above work will also enable further business case planning to support priority implementation and funding. 

PerthLink: Mid-tier transport FAQs

Please view the FAQs below or download them here.

The Local Government Consortium consists of the following Local Governments which have signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to the creation of a preliminary Mid-Tier Public Transport Network Plan for the Inner and Middle Councils within the Perth Metropolitan area. 
  1. City of Canning
  2. City of Stirling
  3. City of Bayswater
  4. Town of Nedlands
  5. Town of Victoria Park
  6. City of Melville
  7. Town of East Fremantle
  8. City of Fremantle
  9. City of Cockburn
  10. City of Kwinana
  11. City of Rockingham
The Inner City Councils of South Perth, Perth, Vincent and Subiaco have also agreed to support the project.  The consortium has also engaged with the Department for Transport, Public Transport Authority and Main Roads WA to prepare the preliminary Mid-Tier Public Transport Network Plan.
Mid-tier public transport is a term used to describe a range of transit technologies such as trackless trams, light rail and bus rapid transit that support the broader passenger transport network, such as fixed rail trains and established bus routes.

The consortium of 15 local governments is currently working together to map out some prospective routes in each council that would be suitable for mid-tier transport development. Decisions about the types of mid-tier technologies used will be decided by relevant State Transport Authorities.
The mid-tier public transport mapping has the potential to detail and progress a number of ‘preferred’ routes. The consortium will consider early route identification, with a focus on the main mid-tier public transit corridors to enable further detailed planning, ideally leading to the preparation of a State Government-driven Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for Perth. 
A critical housing shortage in Perth, coupled with projected population increases, means a need to look at greater diversity in housing and transport choices to support population mobility and growth.

Agile and flexible mid-tier transport options encourage and support greater housing diversity in Perth’s inner, middle and outer suburbs because people are given more travel options to journey to work, day care, shopping or access essential services such as health care.

Coupled with the benefits of reduced environmental impact from emissions, mid-tier transport complements local and state government objectives for more a sustainable urban housing approach and the State Government’s Perth and Peel @ 3.5m policy agenda.

The Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for Perth will give certainty to local governments across the Metropolitan area to undertake detailed planning through Local Planning Strategies and Local Planning Schemes to utilise the benefits of knowing the Mid-Tier Public Transport corridors for Perth. The strategy will also give much needed certainty to the housing industry.
A key focus of local governments and the consortium is to create connected communities with access to a range of amenities and a safe, clean environment for current and future generations.
We recognise that any infrastructure development means some construction and inconvenience so we are working closely with urban planners, environmental experts and state government agencies, such as the Department for Transport, Public Transport Authority and Main Roads WA, to minimise impacts to local communities and the natural environment.
Network plans for the mid-tier public transport project will focus on the main transit corridors linking Perth’s east and west and connecting new and existing stations through key activity centres such as major shopping centres, employment hubs, learning centres and tourism destinations.
The cost of each transport option will be determined once the most appropriate choice for each suburb has been identified.
Jointly funded by the Australian and WA State Governments, METRONET is one of WA’s largest transport projects, focusing on connecting Perth’s expanding suburbs with approximately 72 kilometres of new fixed rail line and 22 new train stations.

Mid-tier public transport seeks to build on that vision by encouraging local government and state government collaboration to fill the gaps between METRONET’s rail service and the needs of the communities not on the rail lines or bus routes.

By the time of METRONET’s likely completion around 2030, we would already be sure to see the effects of population growth on transport congestion. Having the mid-tier roll-out in place by then would be key to ensuring the success of METRONET and the sustainable growth of our communities.
Represented by the City of Canning, the Consortium is seeking a commitment from the State Government in the next financial year to fund and prepare a Mid-Tier Transport Strategy for the Perth and Peel regions. It is envisaged the Strategy would be completed in the 24/25 Financial year.
We all realise that investment in public transport infrastructure is costly but has enormous benefits. A state-led strategy will help determine the cost of linking Perth’s METRONET with a mid-tier passenger network that offers a truly integrated transport solution for Perth’s growing suburbs.

The cost will be offset by the long-term benefits of early planning to ensure more efficient designs and a transport network that anticipates Perth and Peel’s projected growth which is expected to reach 3.5m by 2050. An investment in the expansion of Perth’s mid-tier public transport network is an investment in the future.

It is important to act now with a coordinated approach to alleviate cost of living pressures, decrease traffic congestion and related pollutants, improve travel options for those without cars, and ensure we don’t leave a more expensive bill for the next generation to face.

The consortium is seeking WA State Government support to fund the appropriate state government agencies to promote and finalise a Mid-Tier Public Transport Strategy for Perth and Peel between 2023 and 2025.
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