Conference paper

The influence of Melbourne-Sydney intercity high-speed rail on spatial accessibility: an analysis of current proposals

Suburban growth High-speed rail Transport integration Transport infrastructure Transport Sydney Melbourne Hume
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This paper explores the influence of high-speed rail development on spatial accessibility in southeastern Australia. The aim is to understand how current proposals for intercity high-speed rail would distribute accessibility improvements across regions between Sydney and Melbourne. Special attention is given to spatial effects in Hume, an administrative region in northeast Victoria, where improvements to social infrastructure and services are linked to the growth of existing regional cities.

The analysis draws on methods developed in Gutiérrez et al. (1996), Gutiérrez (2001) and López et al. (2008) to explore the influence of transport infrastructure investments on spatial equity and regional cohesion. Two scenarios for intercity high-speed rail are analysed to understand which scenario is more likely to support the strategic planning goals of Hume: a government-led proposal prepared by AECOM et al. (2013) and a market-led proposal by Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (2016).

The results suggest that the government-led proposal is more likely to promote the strategic planning goals of Hume because it treats existing regional cities between Sydney and Melbourne as gateways to the network. The market-led proposal, in contrast, targets accessibility improvements towards sparsely populated regions in southern New South Wales as part of an ambitious plan to rebalance population growth. This latter proposal could have negative consequences for existing communities in Hume if growth is diverted away from regional cities.

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