Real World Futures

Buses, trains and wired brains.

Date: 02 August 2018

THE two big city-shaping transport projects currently underway shared the stage with a prominent social planner and one of the world’s leading thinkers on urban planning in the latest QUT Real World Futures event.

The Real World Conversation, Buses, Trains and Wired Brains, heard how the projects would increase frequency of public transport, reduce journey times from outer urban areas to the city and reduce clutter in crowded areas.  They will also reshape some near-city precincts and change the way people live in and move around Brisbane.

The conversation featured four speakers and an audience in QUT’s Room ThreeSixty of 150 people from major accounting and engineering firms and government instrumentalities interested in the future of the city.

The speakers were:

  • Mr Graeme Newton, CEO of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority;
  • Deputy Mayor and Brisbane City Council transport chair Cr Adrian Schrinner;
  • Urban and social planner Ms Stephanie Wyeth, and;
  • QUT professor of urban informatics, Professor Marcus Foth.

Each discussed the different challenges of the projects (which have a combined value of more than $10 billion) and the city they serve.  And they connected them to both the growth in technology changing all our lives and the connections that will be created by better links between the city’s major research campuses.


Cross River Rail will create a new north-south rail link from Buranda (near the P.A. Hospital) to Bowen Hills (near the Royal Brisbane Hospital) with stations at Woolloongabba, Albert Street in the heart of the city, Roma Street on its northern fringe and the Exhibition Grounds. Each precinct is already seeing urban renewal which will be accelerated by the rail project.

Mr Newton explained that the line would do more than serve inner-city needs. It would also add efficiencies to the city rail system which would help serve the growing population areas in suburban and outer Brisbane.  This was designed to deal with the fact that population was growing on the edges of the city while jobs were in the inner city. Freeing constraints on the network would also allow more frequent trains that did not need to adhere to strict timetables.

Brisbane Metro is two new busways served by new-style buses that will link Eight Mile Plains on the southside with South Brisbane and the Royal Brisbane Hospital on the northside with University of Queensland at St Lucia.  It will involve moving Brisbane’s busiest above-ground bus station the Cultural Centre underground and will remove 340 buses an hour from the city’s street level in peak hours.

Cr Schrinner said the city’s busways had already served it well by moving multiple lanes of traffic from freeways to a dedicated system but it had been a victim of its own success.

Ms Wyeth urged that transport planning take note of important social megatrends, including urbanisation, ageing and technology change. She said it needed to give priority to people and their changed behaviours, including a desire to seek alternatives to roads and making cities more friendly for pedestrians by being innovative.

But focus was also needed to support outer-urban areas which were ill served by public transport and other social services.

Professor Foth discussed the impact of technologies such as ride sharing on road traffic and questioned whether its true impact could be to damage the economics of public transport, rather than reduce private vehicle ownership.

He discussed his research on smart infrastructure as well as the behaviour of cyclists and his bid to create a Future Cities Co-operative Research Centre.

The full videos of the presentations, the speakers’ slides and photographs of the event will be online next week.


David Fagan

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.


Real World Futures