18 March 2014 — Rapid transit projects are being funded and developed without proper assessment according to a report released by the Bus Industry Confederation of Australia.

Rapid Transit: Investing in Australia’s Future outlines an approach for assessing light rail and bus rapid transit projects.

“The application of a rigorous assessment framework is something we believe in for all types of infrastructure, but what makes this report unique is an approach to assessing rapid transit projects in Australia,” said Michael Apps, executive director of the Bus Industry Confederation of Australia.

“This is clearly a role for Infrastructure Australia if they are allowed to assess public transport infrastructure proposals from States and Territories under the new Federal Government’s IA Amendment Bill.

“A rigorous assessment framework is also a tool that could be used by State, Territory and Local Governments to determine priority public transport projects and get value for money.”

Mr Apps said currently in major cities there was a rush to build rapid transport at any cost, with proper assessment of “how, where and what should be built”.

He said the report did not favour any mode of transport, instead finding that public transport systems should be improved and rapid transit built in areas where demand for public transport and land use change were an imperative.

“The solution is not always build build build, especially in a budget constrained environment,” Mr Apps said.

“We have to start thinking about public transport and rapid transit from a whole of network perspective, create a public transport culture first and then meet the growing demand with big projects like light rail and bus rapid transit.”