What is the Impact of Light Rail on Pedestrian Mobility and Safety in a CBD – Case Study George Street, Sydney

Brisby, Michael (2019) What is the Impact of Light Rail on Pedestrian Mobility and Safety in a CBD – Case Study George Street, Sydney. [USQ Project]

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1.1 Introduction The objective of this Research Project is to investigate and evaluate what impact the implementation of a light rail mass transit system and pedestrianisation has on the main street of a central business district. The question to be answered by the research undertaken is what the impact is of replacing motor vehicles with a light rail mass transit transport system on Pedestrian Mobility and Safety? A Case Study will be used to give specific answers to the question and whether the results align with the broader synthesis findings of the literature review on pedestrian mobility and safety.

1.2 Background George Street is the original main street of Sydney. It runs south to north connecting the Central railway station to Sydney Harbour. The George Street of 2010 was heavily dominated by motor vehicle traffic with low priority given to pedestrian needs. In 2013 the NSW State Government in conjunction with the City of Sydney Council entered into an agreement to deliver the George Street Light Rail project as part of the NSW Governments Long Term Transport Master Plan. A literature review undertaken as part of this research Project identified that there is a worldwide trend to remove motor vehicles from central business districts and replace them with a light rail system to address sustainable transport needs to support urban development. The literature review identified that there were several performance indicators for both pedestrian mobility and safety that were both physical and psychological. The review found that there is a lack of data to quantify the impact or extent of impact a light rail system has or may have on pedestrian mobility and safety. It is the aim of this project to collect and analyse data on a before and after scenario for the George Street light rail project. The results of the data collection will be used to make recommendations on what impact the introduction of light rail and pedestrianisation has on pedestrian mobility and safety in a central business district. This data can then be used to assist City Planners and Government decision makers in making better informed decisions.

1.3 Methodology A quantitative and qualitative bounded single case study methodology was used analysing the completed sections of the George Street light rail. This allowed for an investigative case study using a mixed method research approach of both qualitative and quantitative primary and secondary data. Primary data collected for physical determinants were pedestrian volumes, travel times and space allocation for the post light rail construction scenario. Secondary data was the pre light rail construction data published by the City of Sydney Council. Qualitative primary data was collected for a walkability audit of the completed sections of the light rail which allowed a valuation of the psychological determinants of pedestrian mobility and safety.

1.4 Key Outcomes The comparison of pre and post light rail construction data for the completed sections of the George Street light rail showed there was an increase in pedestrian volumes, a decrease in travel times, increase in space allocation for pedestrian use, an increase in pedestrian movement capacity, an increase in walkability rating and a decrease in pedestrian injury accidents. This resulted in a conclusion being made that the pedestrian mobility and safety along this section of the light rail route had a positive improvement of the order of 20-30%. The pre and post space allocation for pedestrians shows an increase in width available for pedestrian priority and reduction in pedestrian crowding for the completed sections. Initial data for pedestrian accidents indicate that the number of accidents has decreased, however further work is required to make definitative statements as the light rail is still not fully operational. There have been mendia reports on accidents occurring between pedestrian and light rail during testing and it is highly likely that there will be accidents, however the frequency is unknown at this stage. These outcomes indicate that for the completed sections of George Street there is a positive impact on pedestrian mobility and safety, however it is recommended that data collection be continued once the light rail becomes operational in December 2019.

1.5 Further Work The George Street selected Case Study is near completion which is anticipated to be opened for public use in December 2019. This will allow for more data collection to further verify the findings of this project.

1.6 Conclusions The findings of this project using the completed sections of the George Street, Sydney Light Rail Project are that the introduction of a light rail mass transit system to replace motor vehicles in a central business district has a positive impact on Pedestrian Mobility and Safety. These findings agree with the broader synthesis from a literature review that light rail transport systems support urban development and improve pedestrian mobility and safety.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Basson, Marita
Qualification: Bachelor of Spatial Science (Honours) (Surveying)
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 04:37
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 05:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: Light Rail, Pedestrianisation, Mobility
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/43102

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