Transportation Planning Casebook/Parramatta Road

Summary edit

Parramatta Road connects the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and Parramatta, spanning 23 kilometers. As the oldest highway in Australia, its history dates back more than 200 years. In the pre-colonial era, the route was mapped over an ancient path tread by people of the Era and Drug Nations for countless generations.[1] Over the following decades, this route experienced various stages of development, decline, and resurgence.[2] However, the surrounding community has criticized the route for its continuing deterioration, including:[3]

  • Severe Congestion: Speeds are less than 20 km/h for more than 8 hours per day.
  • Noise and Environmental Concerns: Lack of green space, rundown buildings along the road, and noise pollution.
  • Management Issues: The route is managed by ten councils, which makes coordination difficult.

List of Actors edit

Stakeholder group Actor Interests, concerns and issues
State Government departments and agencies UrbanGrowth NSW

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Department of Education and Communities

Department of Premier and Cabinet

Transport for NSW

Roads and Maritime Services

NSW Health

NSW Environment Protection Authority

Greater Sydney Commission

NSW Treasury

  • Allocate funds to local councils to support the improvement strategy of Parramatta Road. [4]
  • Provide policy support to ensure that necessary regulations and conditions are met. [5]
  • Listen to the recommendations of other stakeholder groups and make final decisions. [5][6][7][8]
  • Minimize disruptions to the normal life of the public. [7][9]
  • Protect the surrounding environment and biodiversity. [10]
  • Handling of Aboriginal and colonial heritage.[9]
  • Conduct feasibility analysis of the Parramatta road reconstruction plan. [11]
Local Councils City of Parramatta Council

Cumberland Council

Strathfield Council

Burwood City Council

City of Canada Bay Council

Inner West Council

City of Sydney Council

  • Bidding for road reconstruction projects. [12]
  • Provides recommendations for transportation improvements to state agencies. [12]
  • Undertake community consultation work (traffic pollution, congestion, dilapidated buildings on the street, vacant stores, and other social issues). [12]
  • Minimize disruption to the local community during road construction and rehabilitation. [12]
  • Handling of Aboriginal and colonial heritage. [9]
Business groups Committee for Sydney

NSW Business Chamber

Sydney Business Chamber

Leichhardt & Annandale Business Chamber

Parramatta Chamber of Commerce

  • Impact on local businesses along the road.
  • The impact of road improvements on traffic and access.
  • Impact of construction on other projects.
  • Social sustainability and investment.
  • Employment opportunities. [13]
  • Community engagement and consultation.
Local business neighbours Around the road, there is a high density of businesses varying in size and covering a range of sectors such as commerce, business, education, retail and food and beverage.
  • Potential noise, dust and vibration disruptions and any impacts on traffic and parking due to road closures and construction vehicles.
  • Impacts on local business.
  • Visual and aesthetic impact.
  • Parking problems.
  • Accessibility to CBD during construction.
Local residential neighbours There are medium and high-density residential areas around the road, and a large number of residents live in the area around the road.
  • Handling of Aboriginal and colonial heritage.
  • Pedestrian safety issues.
  • Potential noise, dust and vibration disruptions and any impacts on traffic and parking due to road closures and construction vehicles.
  • Road commute time.
  • Visual and aesthetic impact.
Commuters Road Users



  • Traffic Safety.
  • Traffic accessibility.

Timeline edit

Time Events
Pre-colonial era This route was mapped over an ancient path thread by people of the Era and Drug Nations for countless generations [1]
1788 British Colonists adopted this route after their arrival in the Parramatta area [14]
1794 The road was widened to allow passage by wheeled vehicles [15]
1811 After Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived as the fifth Governor of the Colony of New South Wales, the route was improved to stone-paved by the convict chain gangs, and toll gates were installed, one was closed to the area now know as Broadway, and the other one was located in the suburb of Granville. [16]
1911 Sydney Municipal Council began widening the major routes into the city centre [17]
2012 A proposals was made, which would have widened and lowered the road below street level in a "slot" as part of the Roads and Maritime Services WestConnex motorway proposal. This proposal was abandoned later. [18]
2016 The NSW Government published the 'Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy' , with a 30-year plan for redeveloping the area through planning and infrastructure investment [19]
2021 The Inner West Council and City of Canada Bay, through which the road runs for much of its length, have proposed using an electric guided bus running on the centre of the road for public transport. [20]

Maps of Locations edit

Parramatta Road Map [19]
WestConnex Project [21]

Policy Issues & Strategies edit

Recent developments edit

Vehicles edit

Currently there are around 2.8 million trips on an average weekday to, from, and within the Parramatta Road corridor with speeds less than 20kmph in the peak direction for more than eight hours per day. [3] In March 2020 Transport for NSW updated the traffic lights on Parramatta Road for better sequencing to help the east/west traffic flow and to reduce the congestion caused by north/south movement. However, signaling priority for east/west movement causes vehicles to wait multiple cycles to cross Parramatta Road. Other updates include removing car parking, shortening bus lanes, and changing road space. Despite these changes the road cannot have free flowing movement because of the level of demand.

Cyclists and Pedestrians edit

Currently there aren’t any bike paths on the road, bicyclists are forced to share road space with automobiles, causing most cyclists use the footpath- obstructing pedestrian movement. Pedestrian movement is also limited by the lack of median strips and sparse pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians also have long wait times due to east/west priority and are forced to be near fast moving and noisy traffic.

Although the footpaths are well maintained there is little greenery and the surface which contributes to the urban heat island effect. The surfaces also repel water and when faced with heavy precipitation causing localized flooding and overflowing sewers.

These limitations on the sidewalk cause limited pedestrian usage causing limited activity for businesses on the road.

Public Transport edit

Narrow bus lanes do run between Petersham-Leichhardt and Broadway-Railway Square but they are usually blocked by turning traffic and parked cars. The average bus speed in the corridor is 14km/h (well below best practice of 25-30km/h) with the 10km journey into the Sydney CBD from North Burwood taking on average over 40 minutes. [22]

Urban Transformation Strategy edit

Released in November 2016, the Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy is the NSW Government’s 30-year plan to drive and inform land use planning and development decisions as well as long-term infrastructure delivery programs in the Parramatta Road Corridor.

The Strategy is supported by an Implementation Tool Kit – four documents used by a range of stakeholders including State and local government. The Strategy and Implementation Tool Kit is given statutory weight through a section 117 Ministerial Direction (Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979). It requires planning authorities, including local councils, to consider the Strategy and Implementation Tool Kit when assessing planning proposals, and ensures the renewal of the Corridor is aligned with infrastructure timing, staging, and funding.

The Guidelines is one of four documents that form the Parramatta Road Corridor Implementation Tool Kit. The Implementation Tool Kit comprises:

1. Implementation Plan 2016 – 2023

2. Planning and Design Guidelines

3. Infrastructure Schedule

4. Urban Amenity Improvement Plan

The Guidelines have been formed by supporting documents, including:

1.     Sydney CBD to Parramatta Strategic Transport Plan (Transport NSW, 2015)

2.     Parramatta Road Corridor Social Infrastructure Analysis Report Volumes 1 and 2 (September, 2015)

3.     Parramatta Road Corridor Precinct Transport Report (September, 2015)

4.     Parramatta Road Corridor Fine Grain Study (September, 2015)

5.     Parramatta Road Corridor Sustainability Implementation Plan and Report (September, 2015)

6.     Parramatta Road Corridor Economic Analysis Report (September, 2015)

The Guidelines provide future controls in local environmental planning and development principles for land within the corridor when rezoning proposal are being considered while not superseding current development controls until the Corridor is rezoned, and DCPs are updated. The Guidelines do not reproduce the requirements of other State policies. If there is any inconsistency between: the Guidelines and the Strategy, the Strategy will prevail.  

Transport Planning Principles for Transformation edit

These are the identified issues for the corridor that are needed to facilitate future development and aim to create a liveable urban environment:

1.     Improve north-south connectivity across Parramatta Road for all road users

2.     Improve street network permeability across the Corridor, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.

3.     Improve the quality of public transport, walking and cycling networks, access and connectivity to and within Precincts and Frame Areas

4.     Support an improved urban environment with areas designated for greater levels of street activity.

5.     Facilitate local access needs for new development to support the needs of residents and businesses.

6.     Encourage travel behaviour change to discourage car use and support more sustainable travel choices.

Public Transport edit

Integrated and coordinated planning of the transport network is complex but necessary for the Corridor’s long-term sustainability. A connected Parramatta Road Corridor public transport network – comprising of train, light rail, bus and ferry links in a single system, accessed by walking or by bicycle – provides options to travel to many destinations easily. Easy interchange between modes and services is critical, requiring attractive service frequencies, a supportive ticketing system and simple transfer arrangements.

Future Developments edit

The Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Program (PRUTP) is the integrated, cross-agency project established by the NSW Government in 2013 to explore, capture and deliver on opportunities for urban transformation along the Corridor, resulting in part from the WestConnex Motorway, and in line with A Plan for Growing Sydney. The PRUTP incorporates:

  • An Urban Transformation Strategy for the future growth and development of the Parramatta Road Corridor.

The approach to public transport planning for the Precincts assumes the implementation of public transport infrastructure that does not currently exist. The Parramatta Light Rail will be over 20 kilometres long, providing reliable public transport to link residential, employment, cultural and education precincts. High frequency services, seven days a week from early in the morning to late night will connect to the wider rail network, bus, ferry, walking and cycling links. The preferred network will include:

    • a core spine linking Precincts within Greater Parramatta including Westmead health precinct, Parramatta CBD and Camellia
    • the replacement of the existing heavy rail service between Camellia and Carlingford with a more frequent light rail service
    • a light rail service through the Camellia renewal area, Sydney Olympic Park and connecting to Strathfield.
  • The Parramatta Road Corridor Fine Grain Study (September 2016) provides a detailed analysis into the heritage items and conservation areas located within the Precincts and the Frame Areas along the Corridor. It identifies the key elements of the existing built form which are significant from a heritage perspective, including consideration of character and fine grain, and innovative ways to celebrate heritage along the Corridor through adaptive re-use opportunities and integration with adjacent new development. The Fine Grain Study is intended to be read closely in conjunction with Planning and Design Guidelines
  • Sydney’s Bus Future includes Parramatta Road as one of Sydney’s key growth corridors to investigate for rapid bus or light rail. The Government has reinforced this position with a condition of consent for the WestConnex M4 East project requiring ‘at least two lanes of Parramatta Road, from Burwood Road to Haberfield, to be solely dedicated for the use of public transport unless an alternative public transport route that provides an improved public transport outcome is approved.’ Transport for NSW is committed to delivering an on-street rapid transit system to support the shared vision for the growth of the Parramatta Road Corridor and cater for future demand in the eastern section of the Corridor, and to reinforce higher-order north-south bus routes between major centres such as Macquarie Park, Burwood and Hurstville. TfNSW is investigating a rapid transit solution that has the capacity, integrated with the heavy rail network and Inner West Light Rail services, to accommodate additional demand over the short to medium term.[12]

The PRUTP incorporates three key deliverables:

  1.      an Urban Transformation Strategy for the future growth and development of the Parramatta Road Corridor - set out in the document known as the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy
  2.      a transport infrastructure program for the Corridor – set out in the document known as the Sydney CBD to Parramatta Strategic Transport Plan
  3.     a $198 million program of local urban amenity improvement works to deliver tangible public domain improvements to the Corridor aligned with its staged redevelopment – set out in the document known as the Parramatta Road Urban Amenity Improvement Plan.[23]

The Urban Amenity Improvement Program (UAIP) is one of the key government funding initiatives to be delivered under the Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Program. The UAIP is a $198 million investment program for local amenity works along the Corridor, including streetscape and public domain improvements, walking and active transport infrastructure, and open space and urban plazas. The UAIP aims to accelerate urban renewal and development activity by delivering precinct-based improvements that have the potential to spur a higher level of new housing and commercial development. The UAIP could be rolled out from 2016/17 to 2022/23 and will be the first major component of the broader Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Program . Decisions on phasing should take into account heritage, low-density areas, environmental overlays, efficient infrastructure rollout and market considerations.[24]

WestConnex provides an opportunity to transform Parramatta Road. This new infrastructure will change traffic volumes in some areas and, in particular, provide an alternative route for trucks and heavy vehicles. This will free up road space for better public transport, improve amenity along Parramatta Road, and encourage walking and cycling. Planning for the transformation of the Parramatta Road Corridor must be done in consideration of the staged delivery of the WestConnex Motorway and respond to the changed conditions along the Corridor.[25] By 2031 a completed WestConnex is expected to remove 4,600 trucks and 20,000 cars per day from Parramatta Road between Concord and Camperdown. Parramatta Road will remain a toll free route for those who choose not to use WestConnex.[3]

Narrative edit

WestConnex Motorway Project edit

The proposed 33 km WestConnex Motorway project is to improve existing services on Paramatta Road corridor by widening existing roads and building new underground tunnels to ease congestion on the existing M4 motorway and result significant changes of traffic mode on parts of Parramatta Road. The WestConnex project is planned to remove about 4,600 trucks and 20,000 cars per day from Parramatta Road between Concord and Camperdown by 2031. WestConnex has three phases involved with Paramatta Road corridor: M4 Widening, M4 East and M4/M5 Link.[19]

Phases of WestConnex [19]
Phase Description Proposed Completion Time
M4 Widening 2 extra lanes is constructed on the existing M4 motorway between Parramatta and Homebush Bay Drive with improved access at Hill Road and Homebush Bay Drive. Early 2017
M4 East A new 6 lane tunnel between the M4 motorway at Homebush Bay Drive and Haberfield is constructed. 2019
M4/M5 Link The new 6 lane tunnel of M4 East in Haberfield will be extended to St Peters via Leichhardt to connect new improved M5 motorway. 2023

The WestConnex project also accompanies with urban renewal project alongside Paramatta Road corridor to redevelop and provide sustainable, affordable, good quality medium to high density new residential housing which integrates with good public transport infrastructure. The urban amenity improvement to improve and enhance living environment alongside Paramatta Road corridor is also an important component of WestConnex, which includes tree planting and improved landscaping, redesigning and improving street furniture and signage, new footpaths and cycle paths, reducing clutter by moving cabling to underground, as well as any kinds of road improvement works. [19][20]

Proposed Guide Electric Vehicle edit

The Inner West and City of Canada Bay Councils have entrusted consultants Bodhi Alliance Pty Ltd and EDAB Consulting Pty Ltd to release the Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study to investigate the potential benefits of centre running public transport on Parramatta Road. The study recommends building a Guided Electric Transit (GET) system on the centre of Parramatta Road after comparison of several possible options such as BRT, light rail and metrorail. Guided Electric Transit is a newly developed public transport technology which relies on the cameras of optically guided system to identify the pathway lane markings and steer the carriages. The similar technology is now already adopted in the lane keeping assist system of new cars. Similar to light rail system, GET system is zero-emission environmentally friendly public transport system and can provide far higher carriage capacity than BRT system. However, the construction cost of one GET system is only half of one light rail system, and operation cost is even only half of one BRT system. A GET system can be also quickly installed due to almost no requirement of extra infrastructures. Inner West and City of Canada Bay councils is now asking NSW State government to prepare a feasibility study in consultation with other councils along the Paramatta Road. [20][26]

Sydney Metro West Project edit

Sydney Metro West is a new 24 km metro line project with confirmed stations at Westmead, Parramatta, Silverwater, Sydney Olympic Park, North Strathfield, Burwood North, Five Dock, The Bays, Pyrmont and Hunter Street in the Sydney CBD. The major objective of Sydney Metro West is to provide a new underground railway system to connect Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD to fulfill and support employment growth and housing supply of this two CBDs and the new communities along the line. The line from Westmead to Five Dock station of Sydney Metro West is majorly parallel to Parramatta Road corridor. The construction of Sydney Metro West project started in 2020 and proposed to be completed in 2030. [27][28]

Discussion Questions edit

  1. Why WestConnex abandoned the initial proposal of developing the Parramatta road, but building a new pair of tunnels parallel to Parramatta Road instead.
  2. What measures can be taken to relieve the congestion on Parramatta Road?
  3. Do you think that having all these stakeholders involved is inhibiting Parramatta Roads development?
  4. Is simply expanding and widening existing road networks or building new networks the only effective approaches to universally deal with any traffic issues?
  5. How urban amenity affect the long-term development of a community?

Additional Readings edit

NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan. NSW Government (2012).

This document represents the NSW State Government’s overarching strategy for Sydney’s transport future and recognises the importance of the Parramatta Road corridor as the main connection between the Sydney CBD and Western Sydney.


Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study. Inner West & City of Canada Bay Councils (2017).[26]

This study report was undertaken for the Inner West Council and City of Canada Bay to identify the various constraints, benefits and opportunities of providing a new dedicated enhanced public transport system along Parramatta Road between Sydney CBD and Strathfield


References edit

  1. a b The Road to Parramatta. (August 1998). Heritage Council of NSW
  2. History focus for revived Parra Road. (18/04/2001). Parramatta Advertiser, p. 2
  3. a b c DRAFT PARRAMATTA ROAD URBAN RENEWAL STRATEGY (PDF). 2015. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  4. NSW Treasury, retrieved 5 May 2022
  5. a b Cabinet, P. and (2020), Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Government, retrieved 5 May 2022
  6. UrbanGrowth NSW : Transforming City Living, retrieved 5 May 2022
  7. a b NSW Dept of Planning and Environment, retrieved 5 May 2022
  8. Parramatta Road, retrieved 5 May 2022
  9. a b c author, NSW Department of Planning and Environment, retrieved 5 May 2022
  10. Environment Protection Authority (EPA), retrieved 5 May 2022
  11. Transport for NSW, retrieved 5 May 2022 {{citation}}: Text "Service NSW" ignored (help)
  12. a b c d e Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy 2016, 2020, retrieved 5 May 2022
  13. Committee for Sydney, retrieved 5 May 2022
  14. The Road to Parramatta. (August 1998). Heritage Council of NSW
  15. Goodall, J and Plate, C, Walking the Parramatta Road: 2000 and Beyond, 2000
  16. Jervis, J. The Cradle City of Australia: A History of Parramatta, 1788-1961. (1961) The Council of the City of Parramatta, p. 55
  17. Jervis, J. The Cradle City of Australia: A History of Parramatta, 1788-1961. (1961). The Council of the City of Parramatta, p. 54
  18. WestConnex. NSW Government. Retrieved 2022-05-08
  19. a b c d e Draft parramatta road urban renewal strategy Retrieved 2020-05-10
  20. a b c Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Retrieved 2022-05-08
  22. Reclaiming Parramatta Road (PDF). 2020. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  23. Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy Sustainability (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  24. Parramatta Road Implementation Plan 2016-2023 (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  25. Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy Precinct Transport Report (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  26. a b Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study, Inner West and City of Canada Bay Councils, 2017, retrieved 13 May 2022
  27. Have your say on Sydney Metro West project, Sydney Metro, 2021, retrieved 13 May 2022
  28. Inform - Sydney Olympic Park Metro Station, Sydney Olympic Park, retrieved 13 May 2022